Monash Design staff and students excel at the Good Design Awards

Monash University’s Department of Design has received a host of  awards and accolades at the prestigious 2022 Good Design Awards, announced on Friday, 16 September.

Monash Art, Design and Architecture students and staff won a total of 10 awards, including Associate Professor Leah Heiss who received the 2022 Australian Women in Design Award.

3 Monash projects were presented with gold awards including Sensilab and Design Health Collab’s Blundstone Intelligent Footwear for Healthcare, PhD candidate Samantha Donnelly and Ms Sophie Dyring’s Design Guide for Older Women’s Housing and Professor Lisa Grocott’s Designing Transformative Learning.

The Australian Good Design Awards Showcases the very best in design and innovation to a global audience. Entries represent projects across broad sectors and industries and cover everything from the design of the everyday products we use, the practices that underpin our way of life and the services, places and spaces we occupy.

All projects are evaluated based on three overarching design criteria including Good Design, Design Innovation and Design Impact.

From developing a wearable light sensor, digital mapping tools, public transportation safety tool kits and a hi-tech boot designed for healthcare professionals, Monash Art, Design and Architecture staff and students have demonstrated their ability to innovate and design for impact across a wide range of applications.

Professor Shane Murray, Dean of Monash Art, Design and Architecture, said the awards highlighted the University’s role as an innovative hub of design to face global challenges.

"I am immensely proud of the contributions and ongoing positive impact our designers continue to achieve,” he said.

“These awards are great recognition of our faculty's research and learning that is transformative, and responds to the challenges of our time and fosters thriving communities.

It is especially worth noting that our experts have received recognition across a broad range of disciplines - which is a testament to the breadth of experience, knowledge and innovation our faculty has become known for”.

The Good Design Awards are the among the highest honours for design and innovation in the country.

Recognising our faculty winners:

Good Design Award (Gold)

Design Health Collab and Sensilab - The Blundstone Project (Design Research)

Photo: Narelle Portanier

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.

The Good Design Awards Jury commented: “This is exceptional design work. It is rare coming across a product in which the design is so well informed by research. The project not only brings together excellent design research, appropriate co-design practices, new and emerging technologies, and advanced materials, but it also showcases a beautiful and considered product at the end. This is how all new products in the 21st century should be designed.”

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.

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.

Samantha Donnelly and Sophie Dyring -  A Design Guide for Older Women’s Housing (Category: Design Research)

Illustrations: Samantha Donnelly

A Design Guide for Older Women’s Housing addresses a gap in research that considers older women’s housing needs through an architectural perspective and is focused on the importance of placing women at the centre of the design process by involving them in conversations about housing types and spatial arrangements.

The guide reveals design strategies that address older women’s health and wellbeing, a sense of belonging and social connection, and the importance of being provided with the choice about whether to participate. It also looks at spaces for pets and connections to outdoor areas.

The guide recognises that older women’s situations continually change; they do not stagnate. Design that addresses the needs of older women can have long-term benefits on their health, well-being, and outlook, which dramatically increases the investment's social value.

Lisa Grocott - Designing for Transformative Learning (Category: Design Research) 

The creative strategies in Designing for Transformative Learning offer a playful and practical approach to learning from and adapting to a changing world. Seeing continuous learning as more than the periodic acquisition of new skills, this book presents a design-led approach to revising the stories we tell ourselves, unlearning old habits and embracing new practices.

This book maps learning opportunities across the contemporary landscape, narrating global case studies from K12, higher education, design consultancies and researchers.

The companion website for the book is a practical resource that connects to many of the projects, activities, methods, designers and stories introduced in the book.

Good Design Award Winner

Ian Wong - EVERYDAY Australian Design (Category:Architectural Design Installation Design) and Victorian Premier's Design Awards Showcase (Category: Design Research)

View a snapshot of the exhibition.

EVERYDAY Australian Design is an exhibition of objects from the Ian Wong Collection that celebrate Australian daily life and our culture. This colourful display provides a story or two for all by prompting nostalgic memories or casting light on a familiar object’s trajectory through the world of design

The Good Design Awards Jury commented: “This is intriguing and an unusual exhibition of everyday objects that also celebrates Australian daily life and culture. The categorisation in colour blocks is at first dramatic, demanding closer inspection. Then, this apparently ad hoc, almost storage shed presentation and rare juxtapositions holds our attention, rewarding us with discoveries. It presents noteworthy and intriguing lenses through which we revisit these old friends, leaving a lasting smile on our dials. Congratulations.”

Victorian Premier's Design Awards 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.

XYX Lab Gender + Place - YourGround  (Category Social Impact) and TramLab Toolkits (Category Design Research)

"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
TramLab Toolkits

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.

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.

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.

The Good Design Awards Jury commented: “YourGround is an innovative example of how to effectively draw on the lived experiences of women and the gender diverse people to create inclusive spaces. The digital mapping tool builds a valuable user-generated spatial dataset. Additionally, it aids in forming a range of location-based insights for improving recreational experiences in public spaces.”

TramLab brings together pioneering research expertise from La Trobe University, Monash University XYX Lab and RMIT, in violence against women; gender, space and design; and technology-facilitated sexual violence and harassment, to investigate the issues and factors impacting on safety and perceptions of safety for women and girls on Victorian public transport.

The aim of these TramLab Toolkits is to provide a framework and practical steps to help make public transport safer for women and girls, providing stakeholders with direction about how to reduce their fear and risk.

Toolkit 1 lays out the steps for developing gender-sensitive communication campaigns.

Toolkit 2 details the process for engaging gender-sensitive placemaking to enhance safety for women.

Toolkit 3 details the steps for gathering gender-sensitive data for transport spaces.

Toolkit 4 outlines the implementation of gender-sensitive training for public transport service providers and aligned security staff.

The Good Design Awards Jury commented: “The wicked problem of female safety in the public realm was tackled by this design research, featuring a co-design approach to capture the lived experiences of women and the knowledge of other experts. This led to the development of a series of toolkits, that help define stakeholder engagement, processes, services, that specifically address gendered violence and safety. The project team should be commended on how their work demonstrates the value of design in research, particularly when focused on actioning change in problematic social contexts. Terrific work.”

Design Health Collab and Sensilab - miEye: Wearable Light Sensor (Category: Design Research) 

Photo: Narelle Portanier

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 users 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

These devices have been designed by putting the needs of the user front and centre. Typically research devices prioritise the functionality of the device. But, through a user-centred design process, Design Health Collab and Sensilab have developed a device that was thoughtful, usable, expressive and also highly durable, functional, and repeatable. A cutting edge all-digital development process allowed researchers to develop custom electronics alongside industrial design.Products can be produced on-demand in small batches and rapidly iterate design solutions using advanced digital fabrication tools directly in our studio.

The Good Design Awards Jury commented: “The design research team should be congratulated on this outcome, a device which addresses the effect of light on sleep and health. By way of deep cross disciplinary stakeholder input, a user centred approach, prototyping, testing, and design for scaling and manufacture, the result is a credible product that makes the ‘unconscious conscious’ to monitor the sleep-light nexus. It has led to a spin off company, IP, and publications. This is industry-led and user facing design research in action, so kudos to the researchers here.”

Lisa Fu - Getting on board: designing the user experience of bicycles on Melbourne’s future metro trains (Category: Next Gen Student)

Getting on board: designing the user experience of bicycles on Melbourne’s future metro trains investigates how design can improve the experience of passengers bringing their bicycles on board metropolitan trains in Melbourne.

Design practice was used to apply the research findings to a local Melbourne context by designing a dedicated bicycle zone for metropolitan trains in Melbourne.

The design research project has resulted in an expanded understanding of passengers travelling with bicycles, as well as a number of design outcomes. The outcomes from this work have important implications for rail operators, designers and planners, positioning rail in a sustainable future and encouraging more bicycle use by improving the experience for bicycles on board.

The Good Design Awards Jury commented: “Getting on board demonstrates the value of using design to solve social challenges, especially in regards to the public sector. The concept intelligently presents the combination of bicycles and rail providing an alternative option for car-dependent mobility. Nice work.”

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