Conserv Design Competition, win $5000!

A design competition?  What’s that about?

Since its inception, Conserv has sought to place our customers at the center of everything we do.  Our job is to provide museums, libraries, archives, galleries and others charged with preserving our shared cultural heritage with the best tools for measuring their environments and using that data to protect their collections.  One common refrain from our customers and partners is the desire to minimize the visual disruption caused by things other than the art in a space. While sensors are necessary to ensure the integrity of a collection, they often look out of place, not in harmony with the carefully curated objects that people come to see.

How can we change that?  How can we push the art of sensor design further so it looks more like, well, art!  What does great look like in this space? How can we design a device that doesn’t look out of place in a gallery curated by the most discerning professionals while still retaining all of the features that fulfill demanding technical requirements?  Can we create an object that is unassuming and functional, designed to blend in, but at the same time elicits joy when it is noticed?

In addition to the unique aesthetic challenges of being a company in the art tech space, Conserv is also approaching product development from a circular design perspective.  Too many of the technology devices we use have a linear lifecycle. We buy them, we use them, and when they are no longer useful we drop them in the trash. We think that stinks and that we owe it to the world to do better.  To further that goal, we need to think about how we can design a product that minimizes its impact on the world.

What can we do to create a product that has a long life?  How can we build it so that it can be easily upgraded, refurbished, or remanufactured?  How do we ensure that when a product reaches the end of its useful life that its materials are easily returned to raw material input streams?

Finally, our sensor enclosure is the physical representation of our brand and will be a foundational piece of our overall design language.  We don’t think it’s appropriate to have a 3” circular version of our logo on a wall, but if we can find subtle ways to incorporate our branding into a design, we would love to.  Can we do that and meet our customer needs at the same time?

Design requirements:

  1. Designed for wall mounting
  2. Designed for injection molding or another high volume manufacturing process
  3. A place for a small (15mm x 10mm) window to allow light to pass through, parallel to the wall
  4. Vents to permit air flow through the device enclosure
  5. 60mm x 60mm x 20mm of internal free space to contain batteries, sensors and other electronic components
  6. Designed to blend into a museum environment

Extra points will be awarded for:

  1. Designs that are easily integrated into circular product flows, such as:
    1. Enclosures that are designed for disassembly, refurbishment, etc
    2. Designs that use pure materials that are easily returned to raw material streams for recycling
  2. Modular designs that accommodate individual parts that can be replaced or evolved over time
  3. Materials that combine manufacturability with a low environmental footprint
  4. Concepts that include low impact packaging options

In the spirit of putting our customers at the center of everything we do, we won’t be the only people judging the submissions!  One of the best parts of building a product in the arts space is that we spend our days working with an amazing group of people in the industry.  We know that they know what makes good design, and what kinds of things they would like to see in their spaces. Design submissions will first be evaluated for adherence to the minimum design criteria, and will then be narrowed down to a list of finalists.  The entries that are selected as finalists will be reviewed a selection of museum conservators, archivists, curators, collections managers, and others in the field.

Our winner will receive $5000, design credit for their work, and the opportunity to collaborate with Conserv on future projects.

How to enter:

Entrants need to provide the following:

  1. A design sketch (or render) and description, highlighting how the design addresses the requirements laid out above.
  2. A 3D model file, suitable for 3D printing of a prototype.  We will print prototypes of the finalists so our judges can get a better idea of the size and shape, and how the device will blend in with their space.
  3. A submission needs to be completed by May 17, 2019.

For full terms and conditions, answers to questions we haven’t thought of, please email


Submit your entry!