Kinetic Design Competition

This is an ARCHIVE only of INTERPLAY23

108 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 3RA
11am - 5pm on 5th, 6th & 8th December,
and 10am - 1pm on Saturday 9th December 2023.

Future Designs for ‘Everyday Things’ could be more playful and delightful to experience & use.

The INTERPLAY Competition is brought to you by THE DESIGN EDUCATION TRUST. It is for creative students studying in the UK to propose engaging ‘avant-garde kinetic designs.

We invited students to challenge the normal with their disruptive design proposals for bringing elegant movement into the built environment like the natural world has that beautifully adapts itself for the benefit of the planet. Proposals could be from speculative consumer products that incorporate elegant motion in their forms, architecture with beautiful moving structures, fashion garments with changing features, to expressive and dynamic experimental sculptures.

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INTERPLAY aims to create delight with function through elegant motion.

The built environment is becoming more dynamic as new technologies, such as smart materials, robotics and AI, enable it to be more responsive and adaptable to people using everyday things. This will involve ‘motion’.  INTERPLAY is aimed at encouraging the design of ‘elegant motion’ in products, services, systems and experimental sculptures to add more value to the built environment and to make it more enjoyable for the wellbeing of people.

This has been referred to as ‘4D Design’. It has the ethos of ‘CREATECH’ and ‘STEAM’.

The Design Education Trust is keen to see how imaginations could influence future designs in the ‘everyday’ world to involve more graceful and playful ‘motion’ as well as functional movement, and even inspire scientists to create new materials and technologies for speculative kinetic designs.


For example, plain solar panels and noisy wind farms are unsightly with limited possibilities for their location. You may be inspired by the botanic world, where beautiful flowers elegantly open and close in response to their environments. Cities could look very different, with graceful  flexible moving energy facades on buildings, or magnificent urban power gardens with energy harvesting kinetic sculptures.


For example, product designs, such as home appliances, may work well and look pleasant in modern kitchens. Their use is however currently solely functional, and could be  made more playful, where products and people interact in engaging ways using movement and sound. How could a more kinetic toaster, washing machine, or an LED table lamp be designed? How  might autonomous cars politely ‘behave’ with you?


For example, avant- garde kinetic sculptures that explore new technologies could inspire designers, architects and engineers to create more elegant motion in things of the everyday world around us. Design research into new principles and methods could be done through kinetic sculpture, where the new knowledge gained is transferred to the professional design community.




DORA HOUSE, 108 Old Brompton Road, London. SW7 3RA
11am – 5pm on 5th, 6th, & 8th December 2023, and 10am – 1pm on 9th

(A LIST of EXHIBITS can be downloaded below.)


Awards are given for the most imaginative and elegant kinetic designs.



Eight Awards were given of £1,000 for developing short-listed design proposals further.



The final Award of £8000 went to “URBAN ELEGANCE” – a delightful traffic light system.

Further Information

INTERPLAY is a competition for creative students to propose playful, delightful and engaging avant-garde kinetic designs. 


The design of ‘elegant movement’ must be the key feature of any Design Proposal. Below are some additional characteristics that judges may look for:

  • ‘beautiful’ 3D forms.
  • ‘delightful’ sounds
  • ‘choreographed’ morphing of structures
  • ‘engaging’ interactive & adaptive system designs
  • ‘mesmerizing’ and ‘responsive’ visual physical surface effects.
  • graceful and/or ritual design of activity by people.

We would like you to have fun in exploring the topic of ‘kinetic aesthetics’ of movement and be part of a new community of like minded creatives from different disciplines. A few more details on what is being looked for in Competition Entries is listed below for your guidance. Your Proposals may for example involve the following:

  • physical models in an analogue world of action, where animation of components show time-based design.
  • 3D computer generated models of physical designs, where 3D animation of elements shows time-based design.
  • AR (augmented reality) in 3D space, where 3D animation shows a time-based design.
  • speculative bio-tech designs may be postulated with simulated responsive and dynamic aesthetic surface changes on objects.
  • choreographed movement of people in the use of a product or interaction with a kinetic sculpture.
  • techniques of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) that stimulate positive feelings and sensation.

Creative students preferably in an inter-disciplinary team

The ‘INTERPLAY’ Design Competition is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students on creative courses within the UK, and their recent graduates (*2022/23). For example, students are eligible from: design, architecture, design engineering, sculpture and ‘applied’ performing arts, or other creative disciplines.

A Final year project of a graduating student is eligible as a Design Proposal to INTERPLAY. 

However it is recommended that a proposal to INTERPLAY is a development of such a final year project and it fully encompasses the INTERPLAY theme, along with a small design team to help you implement it if it is successful.  A design team must be lead by a student and comprise mainly students but may have a technician as a member in a minority capacity.

(Please note; project work must take place within the United Kingdom, and that independent designers and artists are not eligible to Enter INTERPLAY)

ROUND 1: (Everyone) For one of eight £1000 Proposal Development Awards.

In ROUND 1; Entries from a wide variety of disciplines are encouraged. These should propose creative and imaginative projects that can translate into artwork/experiences and engage non-expert and wide ranging audiences.

This Competition can be used to support original ideas in response to the INTERPLAY theme, and in-progress works at the conceptual stage that encompass the theme. A Final Project of a student graduating in 2022/23 may be the basis of an Entry, however you are advised to ensure it satisfies the theme of INTERPLAY well, and you form a small team to help you propose development of it if it is successfully.

To Enter the Competition you are required to use an online Competition Entry Form, and answer all questions.

You need to submit via the ENTER BUTTON the following items for an ENTRY:

a. CREATORS STATEMENT – This should outline briefly your/your group’s previous work, and why you consider your Entry is special.  (300 words max].

b. DESIGN CONCEPT [Short summary of your Project Concept that describe how your Proposal addresses the Competition theme – (300 words max ) PLUS ONE VISUAL of the kinetic narrative that you would like to develop e.g. a storyboard (recommended), or a simple annotated/animated physical maquette model, or basic computer simulation.

c. A TWO MINUTE Mp4 VIDEO, This need only be a phone camera video, where you verbally explain in person the rationale concerning (b) above, highlighting the features within your design concept that you are proud of. You may point briefly to your visual material during this.

d. A DRAFT TALK PROPOSAL: This is a draft ABSTRACT only for an illustrated Presentation on the insights you have on your project topic. (Drawing from (a), (b), and (c) above. [100 -300 words max]

e. £10 ENTRY FEE.  This includes an invite to the Exhibition Private View and £10 discount for each member of the team for the INTERPLAY Symposium in December at the  Royal Society of Sculptors, London. (Details tbc)

Competition Schedule EXTENDED: ROUND 1

  1. Competition OPEN: 15th April 2023
  2. DEADLINE for an Entry EXTENDED :  12 noon Monday 3rd July 2023
  3. Eight £1K AWARDS for the best eight Proposals notified: 15th July  202

NOTEROUND 1 AWARDS are in process of confirmation. If you entered and have not received an email then you are on a reserve list. Award nominations will be confirmed by 7th August.  All entrants will be informed  by 15th August. (Your Entries are kept confidential to INTERPLAY Judges and DET. )


(An ENTRY to INTERPLAY is made for ROUND 1 only. It closes at 12 noon on Monday 3rd July 2023, and winners are announced privately on the 15th July 2023.) In ROUND 2, we are looking for creative people interested to collaborate with us in delivering the vision of INTERPLAY.. We will support development of ideas that bring new dimensions to design practice, and invite them to support us in exploring new concepts for ‘interplay’ of people and things.

ROUND 2: Is open to the the eight Award holders of ROUND 1.

THE AWARD WINNERS FROM ROUND 1 will each be invited to submit further items to compete for ONE £8K AWARD for use towards production of their kinetic design concepts.

NEW: Additional COMMENDATION AWARDS will be made to invited designers. These award holders will be offered a free space at the INTERPLAY Exhibition for their kinetic objects (T&Cs apply).


The items required for ROUND 2 are:

( An updated Creators Statement is required if there is a change in team members but it is not scored,)

a. AN UPDATED CONCEPT PROPOSAL  that demonstrates your designs originality with clear potential for further development and public presentation of an artwork/experience within a festival/venue/ presentation partner in December 2023.(1000 words max)

b. A PROFESSIONAL DESIGN SPECIFICATION that comprises a 4D time channel script, and a 2D/3D drawing along with a Production Statement to realise your kinetic object. (300 words + Project Plan + Budget).

c. AN UPDATED VISUAL: This may be a physical prototype, model, maquette, or a computer model or simulation of your physical Object.

d. AN A2 INFO-GRAPHIC POSTER suitable for an Exhibition. ( PDF file)

e. A DRAFT PRESENTATION that is illustrated. It will form the basis of a personally presented Talk at the Symposium on your Kinetic Object and the process of making it with critical context of the field it is placed e.g sculpture, product, design, architecture etc.  (30 Minutes max including introductions, and a Q & A session at the end.

Item (e) should comprise a summary 10 Minute MP4 Video as an overview of your Proposal that will be useful to inform the Judges and also for the Exhibition and can be part of the Symposium Talk. The draft presentation may also include PowerPoint slides, a written piece and an object demonstration if appropriate. .The draft presentation can be refined after submission date of 15th October up to 4th December 2023 but Judges will mainly use the draft to assess this Item of your Entry.

(The media requirements may vary slightly from the above and a DET Media Mentor will guide formats used to assist the INTERPLAY Exhibition.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Provided on 15th August to all Award Holders..

FUNDS: Made available from 15th and 30th August for Proposal Development Award holders.



Competition Schedule: ROUND 2

  • Full Proposal Deadline: 15th October 2023 (revised).
  • ONE Award of £8K:  Awarded at the INTERPLAY EXHIBITION  4-9th December

Competition Schedule: FINALE

EXPOSURE: All Award holders will be invited to exhibit their Entries at the ROYAL SOCIETY OF SCULPTORS, London in December 2023.

EXPERIENCE: All Entrants will be invited to the Private View and to apply for a ‘priority place’ at a Day Symposium. (T&Cs)

  • Symposium: 7th Dec 2023  at Royal Society of Sculptors, London.
  • Exhibition and Judging the £8K Award: 5–9th Dec 2023 at RSS, London.
  • Submission date of £8K Award Work negotiated within its Commission. (T&Cs Apply).


The Scope of the Competition is broad in terms of projects possible to enter but there are three main aspects to it.

1. Projects Types eligible for Entries

Your creative Project Proposals must have the design of ‘elegant movement’ at their centre but can be of a variety of project types, as below :

A. design of ‘elegant’ movement, delightful sound and even haptics within products,  architecture, services and systems , as well as creative kinetic sculptures.

B. design of ‘playful’ morphing of material structures within adaptive and interactive objects, from products like home appliances, for transportation, and for buildings to creative kinetic devices.

C. design of ‘dynamic surface effects’ with use of, or proposal of speculative new material technologies, such as for smart fabrics, other non-screen surfaces, and bio-tech membranes.

D. design of ‘good work’ using performative Arts practices, such as choreography for improving ‘enjoyment’, in the use of products and even services, especially for the mental and physical wellbeing of people in mundane jobs.

2.  For Guidance there are a few more details that might help you focus your project  ideas.

Designs may draw upon performing arts theories and practices such as choreography for movement; music composition for sonic design; drama and poetry for design of any narratives.

Designs should focus upon the physical analogue world of action. Digital control may be involved, such as the use of cyber-physical technology.

AR, VR and XR kinetic designs in 3D real space or in the Metaverse may qualify, but animated designs solely for 2D on-screen do not.

Designs should be human-centered, although all projects should be mindful of sustainability issues, environmental pollution, and be climate-change aware. For example, a project involving speculative new designs for responsive solar or wind energy collectors should focus upon any visually aesthetic kinetic movement or surface changes that add value to the experience of them by people.

Art works should be viewed as pure design research, where outcomes from experimentation with dynamics can be transferred to the design community. For example an artist creating an innovative kinetic sculpture should be mindful of the commercial possibility of its characteristics to influence product or architectural designs and add value to them.

Designs should be universal. They should be delightful for all kinds of people. As such a particular user group identity and its requirements should not be served above others in a design project. All projects are assumed to serve social inclusivity.

3. Some more miscellaneous points to note on Projects are:

Group interdisciplinary project work is preferred, but individual entries are possible.
All project work must take place within the United Kingdon.

You may be required to provide further clarification on the characteristics of your Project should the Design Education Trust request it.

The Design Education Trust will provide further clarification at its discretion on the scope of Projects for the ‘INTERPLAY’ Design Competition. A Trust representative can visit your Institution at the request  of students or staff for a collective Q&A session, or a video call may be possible by as an alternative.

1. An outline of the 4D DESIGN notion at:

2. For numerous examples of kinetic art:

3. An example of very simple elegant movement at:

4. Numerous examples of Cyber-Physical devices at:

5. For botanic inspired kinetic sculptures , see:

6. For an example of dynamic architectural structures using memory metals, see:        

An INTERPLAY POSTER  download with the new deadline of 30th JUNE 2023) at:

(More may be added in due course.)

For Guidance below are the Competition Terms & Conditions with its Rules of Entry. In the event of any doubt please contact The Design Education Trust for clarification.

Terms and Conditions.

a. All Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) within an Entry are retained by their authors, however by submission to the Competition the author(s) gives the Design Education Trust permission to use all items as it sees fit within publications with due acknowledgment of the author(s) and without compensation of any kind.

b. Failure of a ROUND 1 Winner to submit an ENTRY to ROUND 2 without prior consent in writing of the Design Education Trust may require the Development Award to be returned in full. If good reasons are provided for this non- submission, The Design Education Trust at its sole discretion will decide what expenditure may be valid.

c. The design concept that won a Development Award must be followed through and not changed without the express permission of the Competition organisers in writing.

d. A development team may change individual members at any time but the Award funds must remain with the original team undertaking the work for the ARTWORK they were Intended for.

e. Funds for the eight £1K Development Awards will be provided direct to the Project Leader for use as it is seen fit for assisting the development of the Proposal.

f. Funds for the one £8K FINAL AWARD may comprise up to £3k for assisting group participants to undertake work in their own time, and £5K for itemized costs to produce the concept as an ARTWORK.

g.  Funds will be transferred to a Bank Account as specified in the Budget submitted. The £3K part of the Award funds can be allocated by the Group Project Leader as it is seen fit. The £5K of Award to produce the concept as an ARTWORK funds will be made available for itemized costs in accordance to the budget provided in the Development Award submission.

h. Should there be any doubt as to expenditure of Award Funds the Project Group Leader must consult the Design Education Trust.

i. The Design Education Trust will not be liable for any costs not specified in the Budget approved. This includes any additional taxes, or on going costs related to items or processes used to produce the ARTWORK for its submission, or maintenance or storage of the ARTWORK after its submission.

j. Submission of the final ARTWORK will be to a venue specified by the Design Education Trust.

k.  Costs of submission, such as transportation, must be part of expenditure of the Award funds and not an extra. Assembly of the ARTWORK must also be included and disassembly with removal from the venue of submission or the Exhibition venue if different. Any insurance for the ARTWORK is also to be part of the Award Funds and not and extra.

l.  At its sole discretion, the Design Education Trust will consider exceptional costs to present the ARTWORK physically for an Exhibition.

m. Any public exhibition may be a virtual Online Exhibition or be a Physical Exhibition. This will be solely decided by the Design Education Trust depending upon the circumstances around the time of the Final submission of ROUND 2.

n.  Reasonable effort will be made by the Design Education Trust to consult Award holders on all matters.

o. Where opinions might differ as to the interpretation of Rules, or any action related to the Competition, its Awards and their Submissions, Entrants must consult the Design Education Trust for comment. A final decision rests with the Design Education Trust on all such matters.

p. The Design Education Trust reserves the right not to make one or more Awards as specified if in the opinion of the Judges the standard of Entries has not met that they consider appropriate to given an Award.

q. All data will be kept in accordance to legal requirements under UK law.

r. All project work must take place within the United Kingdom. 

s. Proof of student status may be required.

t. The Design Education Trust may amend the Terms & Conditions and any date of the Competition deadlines in circumstances it sees fit.

Competition Rules of Entry

By submitting an entry, the entrant confirms they have read and agree with the ‘Rules of Entry’ and understand these now apply.

  1. The INTERPLAY Awards are open to current students on creative courses, and recent graduates of such course (22/23), of UK Education Institutions only.
  2. Entries are open to interdisciplinary groups, which are preferred, but individuals may enter.
  3. To be eligible for the 2023 INTERPLAY Design Awards, entries must be within the Scope of the Competition and its schedule.
  4. All entrants must complete the online part of the entry process. Entries will not be accepted by any other means.
  5. All submitted entries must answer all questions fully in the ROUND 1 form, and failure to do so will mean the entry is void.
  6. Sponsors and their staff are not permitted to enter.
  7. Please ensure that the information submitted is accurate and the correct Institutions/individuals are credited as appropriate. The Design Education Trust accepts no responsibility for any incorrectly submitted information.
  8. All submissions must be made by the entry deadline stated on the website.
  9. Entries may be edited up until the point of submission.
  10. A donation Entry Fee must be paid for each submission entered.
  11. Entries will not be considered fully submitted until the entrant proceeds to the payment stage and selects a payment method. Payments must be cleared by the closing date of Entries.
  12. Any entry may be withdrawn for any reason up until midnight on the closing date of Entries upon written request to the organisers. If an ENTRY is withdrawn no refund will be given.
  13. Payments must be made using STRIPE via the Competition website. We are not able to invoice for entries.
  14. When making your entry you may upload digital supporting material – for images, please provide Jpeg, Tif or Bmp and for moving images as Mp4 files. Please ensure that the files and your explanatory brief together do not exceed the maximum upload limit of 100MB per entry. If your files are over 100MB you may contact the Design Education Trust about hosting them on an alternative accessible website at the discretion ot it.
  15. Where websites form part of an entry, please ensure any URLs, access details, usernames and passwords needed for judging are supplied, that they work, and that they will continue to work until December 2023. Sites that cannot be viewed will be eliminated from the judging process.
  16. When entering supporting material such as graphics or web-based simulations, these must be viewable without special software plug-ins or platforms.
  17. We will be running virtual judging so will not be able to accept any physical supporting material. Please ensure you submit digital files to represent your entry.
  18. The judges reserve the right to request further information from Entrants if felt necessary.
  19. The judges’ decisions are final, and no correspondence will be entered into regarding them.
  20. Winners will be announced via an online reveal as per the Competition Schedule, or at the Judges discretion in circumstances that prevail.
  21. By entering you agree to the Scope of INTERPLAY, the Rules of the Competition, and its Terms & Conditions. 
  22. The Design Education Trust reserves the right to change the Rules on reasonable grounds in light of circumstances.
  23. The Terms & Conditions for Grants of the Design Education Trust have to be accepted by the FINAL WINNER of the Major Award before embarking on work of their full ARTWORK.
  24. All winning teams are required to provide their kinetic object as a physical exhibit for a final Exhibition and present the project at a Symposium organised by the Design Education Trust. A team has responsibility to invigilate their exhibit but may present their work via online media at a Symposium.

Competition CLOSED at 12 noon Monday 3rd July 2023

Competition opened on the 15th April 2023

Collaborative Partners