Designers Australia Awards shortlist success

Photo: Narelle Portanier

Monash Art, Design and Architecture (MADA) is well represented on the 2022 shortlist for the Designers Australia Awards, with six entries across its three categories.

The Designers Australia Awards, organised by the Design Institute of Australia, are a celebration of ethical, innovative and impactful design in Australia. They focus as much on the outcome as on how the designers’ work responds to authenticity, diversity, equality, inclusivity, community and the environment.

“This year’s shortlist is a reflection of the excellent multidisciplinary design work produced by the talented professionals in our Faculty. It speaks to our commitment of making a difference in our communities through meaningful and impactful creative practice,” said Professor Shane Murray, Dean of Monash Art, Design and Architecture.

The DAA shortlist success follows on from a very successful sweep for MADA experts at the 2021 Good Design Awards, where students and staff from our Faculty took home six awards and accolades.

2022 DAA shortlisted projects

In the category ‘PLACE’, representing the spaces we live, work, and play:

RetroFit Kit

RetroFit Kit is concerned with the design challenge of how to increase the supply of accessible and adaptable housing. It demonstrates how common housing types could be systematically modified to achieve accessible home environments for people with disability, their families, carers, and future residents through strategic design approaches. Led by the Monash Urban Lab, the multidisciplinary team includes researchers and educators from the Department of Design and the Future Buildings Initiatives Research Lab.

Watch the team dicuss the Retrofit Kit work.

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In the category ‘USE’, describing things we use:

Blundstone Intelligent Footwear

Photo: Narelle Portanier

A collaboration between the Monash Design Health Collab and SensiLab, the Blundstone Intelligent Footwear project was driven by a desire to meet the needs of healthcare workers, providing a next-generation solution to understanding the needs of footwear OH&S and comfort in these demanding environments. The shoes use a custom sensor system to capture a rich body of data about the day-to-day challenges faced by the wearer, using machine-learning techniques to provide real-time feedback and task classification.

The project was centred around combining advanced materials, manufacturing techniques, and emerging technologies together with the rich heritage of bootmaking and workplace safety the Blundstone is known for both locally and internationally. Overarching all of this were user-centred design processes bringing together ethnography with healthcare workers, and co-design workshops with key stakeholders.

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MiEye: Wearable Light Sensor

Photo: Narelle Portanier

Another Monash Design Health Collab and SensiLab collaboration, the MiEye Wearable Light Sensor provides constant monitoring of the types of light people are exposed to throughout their day. Through data analytics and mathematical models, the device produces an understanding of your personal circadian rhythms. These models help to guide you towards healthy light exposures. It makes the unconscious and confusing effects of light conscious. While making long term, real-world participant data accessible to circadian and sleep scientists. Medical research shows that “unhealthy light behaviour” can result in chronic conditions such as liver disease, depression, hypertension and cardiovascular problems, impaired muscle function, poor sleep, and insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

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In the category ‘INTERACT’, depicting what or who we interact with:

Victorian Premier's Design Awards Showcase by Ian Wong

View a snapshot of the exhibition.

The Victorian Design Awards were established in 1996 as a partnership between the Victorian Government, industry, and the Design Institute of Australia.

The commission from Creative Victoria to showcase 25 years of the Premier’s Design Awards is not only a celebration and presentation of this history, but also the first time this data has been collated and recorded. Until now, no historical archive documenting these awards was in existence.

The curatorial research involved sourcing, collating and digitising data from individual awards catalogues on the entries, organisers, judges and prizes for the awards program. Sourcing this original material proved to be a unique challenge during COVID 19 lockdowns, with no access to publicly held records.

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

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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 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). Leveraging the success of 'HyperSext City' in early 2021— and intersecting our design approach with recent research completed in the 'YourGround' project — the team knew that it could deliver a unique, highly topical and recently researched contribution to the exhibition. In particular the ACCA curatorial team were keen that our contribution would externalise the exhibition, linking the carefully curated spaces inside the show, to the more dynamic, unstructured dialogue of the exterior sites of the city.

Our contribution, 'Keep Running', extends XYX Lab’s ongoing local and international applied research into gendered spatial inequality, but in unique and publicly accessible ways. It draws attention to the experiences of women and gender-diverse communities by presenting crowd-sourced data and intersectional narratives of gender that affect how public spaces are accessed and occupied.

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"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

‘YourGround: Mapping a safer Victoria for women and gender-diverse people’, is an interactive map and communication platform designed to enable more inclusive public spaces for everyone to enjoy leisure, sport and play. As the impact of gendered violence reverberates across our communities, Monash University’s XYX Lab, and digital consultancy, CrowdSpot, teamed up with 23 local Victorian councils to crowdsource perceptions of safety in public space. YourGround empowered individuals to critically assess their local streets, parks, trails and recreational spaces in order to expose the often hidden public safety experiences of women and gender diverse people.

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