Last month Backyard Opera went behind the scenes to explore some of the most exciting innovations entered in the Good Design Awards, and now, the Good Design Awards have revealed their winners. Blamey Saunder’s Facett Modular Hearing Aid, and Meld Studio’s Growing Human-Centred Design Across Queensland Government design, were jointly awarded the coveted Good Design Award of the Year at last night’s ceremony. The ceremony pulled out all the stocks for its 60th anniversary, with the Sydney Opera house designer’s son, Jan Ultzon, very fittingly presenting the winning trophies at the Sydney Opera house venue. The ceremony acknowledged Saunder and Meld Studio’s victory as no small feat against this year’s record-breaking 536 design entries.
As the world’s first modular hearing aid, Saunder’s design is revolutionary by empowering people with hearing and visual impairments. Co-designed by hearing aid users, Saunder’s approach reflects a design for the people, by the people philosophy, making it cater to the needs of those it serves. Saunder simplifies typically tedious daily maintenance for hearing aid users, through his revolutionary use of magnetic modules that click easily into place.
The judges nots that, “This product has incredible potential to make a very positive impact on people’s lives who suffer from hearing loss. The use of rechargeable batteries and magnetic coupling is highly innovative.”
The judges were particularly impressed by the thoughtfulness expressed in every detail of Saunder’s product, “right down to the magnetic charging case, colour coded units for each ear, and carefully considered design aesthetic”. In fact, Saunder’s design boldly challenges the common aesthetic rejection of hearing aids. Its classy jewel-like design, offers a stylish alternative to ordinary hearing aids, and helps challenge the stigma surrounding hearing impairment, by “drawing parallels to jewellery and wearable art”, according to the Good Design Awards judges.
Whilst Facett offers an exciting revolution in product design, Meld Studio’s Growing Human-Centred Design Across Queensland Government, is equally impactful in service design. Meld Studio’s project guides the Queensland community in their contribution to the Government’s human-centred services approach. This design provides government workers the opportunity to have a direct design influence over Queensland Government policy. The judges applauded this design as “absolutely inspirational in scope, scale, process and outcome”.
CEO of the Good Design Awards, Dr. Brandon Gien, recognised how both designs offer something invaluable to society, and perceived the judge’s choice for these two distinct but equally innovative designs, as an “ideal outcome”, for valuing design’s revolution in a diversity of areas.
However, while Saunder and Meld Studio made the ultimate impression, there were a number of stand-outs in this year’s awards. One favourite included Next Gen Award winner, Ikki the Companion Therapy Robot for Sick Children, which provides an information link between the home and hospital for sick children, aiming to encourage more suitable treatment through clearer data. Another stand-out was the MAAS Design Award winner, Fashion Revolution Australia, which is responsible for mobilising for improved worker’s rights in the fashion industry, during its annual Fashion Revolution Week.
While clearly diverse in their contribution, all the designs share an exciting optimism for the future of innovation and problem-solving. Dr. Gien said, “The Australian Good Design Awards has one of the most diverse design categories in the world, and the winners this year are an amazing representation of the value of professional design and the potential it has to make a positive impact on our quality of life”.
Sydney Vivid’s Good Design Awards showcase will allow you to revel in some of the world’s greatest innovations. From the 25th to 27th of May, Circular Quay’s Overseas Passenger Terminal will display the winners of the 2018 Good Design Awards, and selected winning designs from across the Awards’ 60 year history.