FORM IMPACT CONTEXT = Design to Improve Life
Photo: Courtesy Hella Jongerius
The Copenhagen based organization INDEX: focuses on Design to Improve Life. INDEX: is dedicated to changing global mindsets by: exploring and showing how design can improve life for people all over the world; taking part in solving global challenges; and enhancing quality of life as it is lived in very different circumstances around the world.
INDEX: raises global understanding and awareness of the human and commercial potential of design knowledge sharing, publications and major events. The events include: the biannual INDEX: Award; the INDEX: Award Exhibition, a world touring exhibition presenting the finalists of INDEX: Award; and a series of professional and educational events for business, industry and students in Denmark and abroad.
The INDEX: Award is the largestdesign award in the world and is presented every two years in Copenhagen. The Award does not categorize design according to traditional labels - visual design, apparel and industrial design - since these categories do not fully reflect the interdisciplinary approach employed in most interesting modern design. INDEX: asks the nomination bodiesto think horizontally, across design categories and industries, when selecting their nominees for the five categories vital to human life: BODY, HOME, WORK, PLAY and COMMUNITY.
The focus on Design to Improve Life also differentiates the INDEX: Award other design awards, as design is evaluated in a much broader sense than traditionally, focusing not only on form, but also on the context of the design, e.g. ethical and cultural considerations, and impact, including the number of people affected, sustainability and level of innovation.
Here is a random list of some of the nominations for the 2009 award.
Closthetics: Clothing as Prosthetics (Nigeria)
Diabetes Jewelry and NanoMAP Patches: A neck-piece and rings to deliver insulin through the skin via NanoMAP patches (Australia).
Childbirth assistance: A system that improves the life of women that cannot go to a hospital to have their babies (Mexico).
X-System: The first functional finger assembly for finger amputees (USA).
Karmameter: A system conceptualization in the area of ‘voluntary consequence accepting behavior.’ This system is designed to influence the self-conscientious consumer to purchase, use and dispose products in responsible manner (India).
Wizard Rapid Evacuation Equipment: With high rise tower block evacuation growing in importance on the political agenda, the Wizard offers single and multiple emergency evacuation products to the professional and general public (UK).
Intelligent Mobility Wheelchair: An all-terrain wheelchair for the disabled in developing countries made from bicycles (USA).
Touch Sight Camera: A camera for the visually impaired (China).
BEE's: Diagnosis tools which use bees to detect general health and fertility cycles, through breath (Portugal).
The Bionic Hand: A bionic hand that acts and looks like a human hand (UK).
Alzheimer100: A project that aims to come up with creative solutions to the challenges presented by dementia (UK).
Bionic Eye: A medical device to restore vision to blind patients (Australia).
Angel Wing: Acoustic informer for blind pedestrians (Italy).
See the full list of 2009 nominations here.
INDEX: Pauses are seminars for professional designers that focus on different aspects of Design to Improve Life.
Design and the Elastic Mind (Pause, 17 April 2009)
In the past few decades, individuals have experienced dramatic changes in some of the most established dimensions of human life: time, space, matter, and individuality. Working across several time zones, traveling with relative ease between satellite maps and nanoscale images, gleefully drowning in information, acting fast in order to preserve some slow downtime, people cope daily with dozens of changes in scale. Minds adapt and acquire enough elasticity to be able to synthesize such abundance. One of design's most fundamental tasks is to stand between revolutions and life, and to help people deal with change. Designers have coped with these displacements by contributing thoughtful concepts that can provide guidance and ease as science and technology evolve. Several of them - the Mosaic graphic user's interface for the Internet, for instance - have truly changed the world. "Design and the Elastic Mind" is a survey of the latest developments in the field. It focuses on designers' ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and social mores, changes that will demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior, and convert them into objects and systems that people understand and use.
Photo: © designboom
Paola Antonelli is on a mission to introduce - and explain - design to the world. With her shows at New York's Museum of Modern Art, she celebrates design's presence in every part of life.
Since she stepped back from practicing architecture in order to focus on writing about design, teaching and curating gallery exhibitions, Italian native Paola Antonelli has become a force to be reckoned with in the design world. Working at the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1994, she now heads the gallery's Architecture and Design department and has worked on shows such as "Humble Masterpieces", which celebrated traditionally unheralded design icons such as the paperclip; "Safe", considering issues of protection, and "Workspheres", a look at contemporary workplace design.