Four Motors for Europe

Mirror, Mirror on the wall – Four Motors Design Contest

Next Design Innovation awards the best project idea for a mirror connected in the city

Self-awareness is often described as unique to mankind. Mirrors are omnipresent in our daily life. In shops, in restaurants and in the hairdressing salon, everywhere our reflections smiles back at us. The 2017 edition of a Four Motors Design Contest Next Design Innovation takes up the fascination of mankind by their reflection in the mirror choosing a “mirror connected in the city” as overall topic of this years’ contest.

The contestants’ task has been to create an innovative connected object used in the public sphere – a connected mirror. Like a “magic mirror” the mirror is connected to the internet and can thereby display other contents than just the observers’ reflection. The technology needed to launch the project has been provided by the French start-up Limonié from Grenoble. In particular, the societal and environmental value of the projects to the general public has been an important criterion of choice in the contest.

32 students from design schools in Saint-Étienne, Milan, Schwäbisch Gmünd and Barcelona followed the call. In cooperation with Limonié and other partners from the Four Motors for Europe the École supérieure d’art et design Saint-Étienne (ESADSE) organized this design contest from the 23rd of October to the 28th of October 2017 in Saint-Étienne. To speed up networking the students were grouped in international teams of four persons. Despite the competitive claim of the contest, it can thus be argued that it contributed to the interregional cooperation of the Four Motors for Europe. The winning team as well as the schools plan to interact beyond the scope of the contest.

A jury – composed of local politicians and representatives of the local creative industries -faced the difficult task of awarding the best project. All presented projects were inspired by the ambition to solve practical problems for example in the realm of health care, communication or life style.

A group of four students from Saint-Étienne, Schwäbisch Gmünd and Barcelona – Benoît Zenker, Branca Rabelo, Josh Cornau, Thomas Barbé – convinced the jury with their idea of a practice mirror. The practice mirror allows the practicing actor to see the lines on the screen, while at the same controlling his or her performance in the mirror. Moreover, the mirror has a recording function and offers the possibility to interact with another user by sound. The mirror could thus be of great use for artists in the preparation of a play. The mirror is not solely intended for artists, another field of application is presentations and talks. Any form of rhetorical training could be facilitated by this kind of mirror.

Winning Team

It cannot yet be said, if we will see practice mirrors in the shops in the nearby future. It is planned to present the project at the SIdO trade fair – a leading fair for the internet of things – in April 2018 in Lyon.

More information on this event can be found under