Design Australia Awards Success for Monash Design and Architecture

Photo: Narelle Portanier

Monash Design and Architecture projects have been commended at the 2022 Design Australia Awards.

In total Monash Design and Architecture projects received five Merit awards.

The Design Australia Awards bring together the Australian design community to celebrate and highlight innovative, ethical and impactful design.

Each award considers how the designer's work responds to authenticity, diversity, equality, inclusivity, community and the environment.

There are three entry categories, which reflect the cross-disciplinary practices of Australian designers.

  • Place - Spaces where we live, work and play.
  • Use - The objects we use.
  • Interact - What, who or how we interact with things.

Monash projects were represented across every category at the awards.

Recognising Design and Architecture Success:

Design Health Collab and Sensilab - The Blundstone Project:

Photo: Narelle Portanier

The Blundstone Project was nominated for the Use category.

Sensilab is made up of a team of storytellers, artists, makers, hackers, designers, developers, musicians, coders, scientists, theorists, luthiers and builders. Through their research they explore the innovative creative applications and undiscovered opportunities of technology.

Design Health Collab is an interdisciplinary research lab situated at the intersection of design and health. Their focus is on understanding and developing significant, high-impact healthcare services and products. The Design Health Collab explores the complex ecosystem of health services, patients, clinicians, nurses, device manufacturers, medical researchers, engineers, and healthcare management.

For this project the Design Health Collab and Sensilab partnered with Blundstone, a safety and leisure footwear brand, to deliver shoes that met the needs of health care workers. Through an advanced design and manufacturing process purpose-made boots were equipped with a complex sensor system.

Through the use of these sensors, the boots were used to capture data about the day-to-day challenges faced by the wearers, using machine-learning techniques to provide task classification and real-time feedback. By analysing the data the researchers could identify different postures, changes in walking gait and the lifting of heavy loads.

With future development and training of the machine learning systems, the shoes have the capacity to identify fatigue, injury risk and other safety concerns in real time.

XYX Lab: Your Ground & Keep Running. 

"This underpass is the most efficient way to get from the tram stop to the street, however it’s dark, has lots of menacing graffiti and is long and invisible to the street. If someone follows you in there there’s nothing you can do but keep running." - Female, LGBTIQ+, Walking, After Dark, Union Street, Armadale

XYX Lab is a team of design researchers exploring gender-sensitive design practices and theory. Their work operates at the intersection of identity, gender, urban space and advocacy. The Lab’s research and practice is grounded within feminist and queer theory, with an approach that is inclusive of all gender and sexual identities.

In 2021 Monash University XYX Lab were invited by the curators of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) to contribute to their upcoming exhibition, 'Who’s Afraid of Public Space?' (4 December 2021 – 20 March 2022).  'Keep Running', extends XYX Lab’s ongoing local and international applied research into gendered spatial inequality.

Keep Running’ makes visible the Lab’s data, gathered through crowd-sourcing of women and gender diverse people as they embark on outdoor activities in public spaces. The project consisted of a single A0 poster in the ACCA exhibition space and a series of poster and billboard interventions across Melbourne. These pieces contained thought provoking dialogue about women and gender-diverse people’s right to access public space, and the conditions that breed fear and risk.

"Local streets, parks, trails and recreational areas across Victoria need to accommodate diverse needs. YourGround is an innovative way to bring this about by drawing on the lived experiences of women and the gender diverse." - Associate Professor Nicole Kalms

For ‘YourGround: Mapping a safer Victoria for women and gender-diverse people’,  Monash XYX Lab teamed up with digital consultancy CrowdSpot. Crowdspot aims to reduce barriers to citizen engagement so more people can participate in planning processes. This model of participation helps to build trust, collect quality information and make informed decisions that reflect the views and needs of the community.

YourGround is an interactive map and communication platform designed to enable more inclusive public spaces for everyone to enjoy leisure, sport and play.

As part of the project XYX Lab and Crowdspot developed a web-based mapping tool where users could precisely document locations and how they felt within them.

XYX Lab and Crowdspot collaborated with 23 local Victorian councils to crowdsource perceptions of safety in public spaces.

YourGround encourages individuals to critically assess their locales in order to expose the hidden public safety experiences of women and gender diverse people, and to help shape safe community facilities.

Keep Running  and YourGround were both nominated for the Interact category.

Monash Urban Design Lab: RetroFit Kit 

Watch the team dicuss the Retrofit Kit work.

The Monash Urban Lab distinguishes itself through its integration of urban planning research and practice-based design. The Lab combines multi-scalar architectural design investigations with policy studies focussed on transitioning to sustainable and equitable urban environments and communities at city and regional scales.

RetroFit Kit tackles the design challenge of how to increase the supply of accessible and adaptable housing. The availability of inclusive housing poses a significant challenge, with the majority of existing homes failing to meet minimum accessibility.

Working in collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Commission Disability Discrimination Commissioner Dr Ben Gauntlett, the project advocates for better quality, inclusive and dignified homes though design enabled strategies.

RetroFit Kit demonstrates how housing can be systematically modified to achieve accessible home environments for people with disability, their families and carers through strategic design.

Working across a wide range of housing types, components and elements, RetroFit Kit compiled a kit of architectural strategies that could combine generic and scale reconfiguration with user input and choice. These strategies were communicated through associated publications and a public exhibition.

RetroFit Kit was nominated for the Place category.

Ian Wong and Monash University: Premier's Design Awards Showcase

View a snapshot of the exhibition.

Ian Wong is an award winning industrial designer, curator, collector, and senior lecturer at Monash University. He has been invited to curate exhibitions about his Australian Design research in; Milan, Hong Kong, Beijing, Suzhou, Tianjin, Sydney, Adelaide, Launceston, Melbourne and Shepparton.

Ian is currently Director of the Monash Art Design and Architecture Industrial Design Centre (Kunshan) and Program Director - Master of Industrial Design at Monash Art Design and Architecture, Monash University.

The Showcase highlights 25 years of the Premier’s Design Awards, serving not only as a celebration of this history but as the first time this data has been collated and archived. The exhibition is not a chronological or exclusive survey of major award winners. Instead, it is a broader celebration of the impact of the awards and the Victorian designers and architects who have entered their work.

The themes driving this showcase are: THEN | WHO | HOW | NOW | NEXT.

The curatorial process  involved sourcing, collating and digitising data from individual awards catalogues on the entries, organisers, judges and prizes for the awards program.

Ian collaborated with a team to assemble and deliver this exhibition.

The Premier’s Design Awards Showcase was nominated for the Interact category.

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