Posted by: APO | 29 January 2014

Togolese Designer Awarded Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise

Togolese Designer Awarded Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise

Mansour Ourasanah wins $35,000 award for notable immigrants in the United States

NEW YORK, January 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Vilcek Foundation ( is pleased to name Mansour Ourasanah as one of three winners of the 2014 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in the Arts, this year focusing on design.  The prizes are awarded annually to young immigrants who have had a significant impact on the American arts early in their career, and include a $35,000 prize.


(Mansour Ourasanah (Credit Andreas Nilsson)

“We are delighted to recognize such a forward-thinking designer as Mansour,” said Marica Vilcek, vice president of the Foundation.  “In his designs, he addresses complex social problems through elegant and thought-provoking solutions.”

Ourasanah was originally born in Togo and immigrated to the United States at the age of 16.  He is currently a senior designer for Whirlpool’s Advanced Studio in Chicago, where his role is to create innovative user-centric solutions for a new generation of global and hyper-connected consumers. His work focuses on the importance of storytelling in the design of products that address complex emotional and environmental challenges. His most recent project, LEPSIS: The Art of Growing Grasshoppers (–the-art-of-growing-grasshoppers.html) — a vessel that can be used to grow insects for food in efforts to promote sustainable meat production and consumption amongst urban populations — is one example of his achievements in the design arena.

A 2003 New York Times Scholar and a 2007 IDSA Midwest District Merit Award Winner, Ourasanah completed a Bachelors of Art in Design from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Advanced Product Design from the Umea Institute of Design in Sweden. Ourasanah’s work has been named a finalist for the renowned INDEX: Design to Improve Life Award; the winner of an EID Design Award; a winner of the Greener Gadget Design Award; and a winner of an IDEA Award, amongst others. His work has been featured on CNN and in publications such as Fast Company, Wired, Popular Science, and The Guardian.

In addition to Ourasanah, Israeli-born material designer Neri Oxman was awarded the $100,000 Vilcek Prize.  The other two Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise for Design were awarded to Iranian-born game designer Yasaman Hashemian and Colombian-born architect and designer Quilian Riano.  The prizewinners will receive their awards at a gala in New York City on April 2, 2014.

For more information about the Vilcek Prizes and the Vilcek Foundation, please visit

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Vilcek Foundation.

For questions, please contact Phuong Pham at or 212-472-2500.


The Vilcek Foundation


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