In Denmark, they take design seriously. Where North Americans go gaga over the Academy Awards, in Denmark it's the INDEX: Design for Life awards. And it's not just about pretty design; as head of communications Adam von Haffner Paulsen of INDEX notes, "the world doesn't need another pretty white teacup; it needs designs that make a difference". Over 1200 people dressed to the nines came to what is supposed to be Hamlet's castle in Elsinore for the event, but alas, Benedict Cumberbatch was in London.
This year there were 46 finalists chosen from 1,123 entries, and five winners, judged on three main criteria:
1) Form- the functionality, usability and desirability;
2) Impact- and effectiveness
3) Context- scale and reach. No short term fixes but new ways of solving problems.
Here's a list of the winners, only one of which was even covered by TreeHugger earlier as ones to watch, which proves that I should not ever be called for jury duty. Information provided here is from the embargoed press releases; I will be following up with more detailed posts and interviews with the winners next week.
Play and Learning: DUOLINGO: APP TEACHES YOU A NEW LANGUAGE IN 34 HOURS
Luis von Ahn receives the €100,000 first prize for the app Duolingo that enables its users to learn a new language super fast.
Duolingo receives INDEX: Award 2015 partly because “the program will allow societies to build new connections and aid smoother integration across the globe”, as the international INDEX: Award Jury puts it. Duolingo, which now is the world’s most popular language platform with 70 million registered users, is one of five winners of INDEX: Award 2015.
“The jury found winners that illustrates how design can be a decisive factor when addressing the world's most pressing challenges like globalization, climate change, overpopulation, poverty, food waste, and other important issues. Duolingo is a perfect example and promotes exactly the purpose of INDEX: Award,” says Kigge Hvid, CEO of the INDEX: Design to Improve Life® organization, who founded the prize 10 years ago.
Body: PEEK RETINA: SMARTPHONE EYE EXAMS COULD REDUCE BLINDNESS BY 80%
Peek Vision gets the €100,000 first prize for a low-cost smartphone adaptor enabling professional eye examinations anywhere in the world.
“Peek Retina wins INDEX: Award 2015 partly because the portable, user-friendly, low-cost design solution is one significant step towards achieving the 66th World Health Assembly Action Plan, which aims to achieve a global reduction of avoidable visual impairments of 25 percent by 2019”, said the international INDEX: Award Jury.
“The jury found five winners who all brilliantly illustrate how design can be a decisive factor when addressing the world's most pressing challenges like pollution, health issues, climate change, over population, poverty, food waste, and many more equally important. Peek Retina is a perfect example of this and promotes exactly the purpose of INDEX: Award,” says Kigge Hvid, CEO of the INDEX: Design to Improve Life® organization, who founded the prize 10 years ago.
Energy, Home: TESLA POWERWALL: ENERGY PIGGY BANK MAKES HOMEOWNERS SELF-SUFFICIENT
Elon Musk and Tesla Motors receives the €100.000 first price for the Tesla Powerwall allowing future owners of the home battery to store self-produced green energy.
"It is an absolute game-changer. Energy self-sufficiency - what could be bigger than that?" says Arnold Wasserman, vice chairman of the international INDEX: Award Jury.
Tesla Powerwall is one of five winners of INDEX: Award, who take home a combined prize sum of €500,000 – the biggest cash prize in design.
“The jury found five winners who all brilliantly illustrate how design can be a decisive factor when addressing the world's most pressing challenges like pollution, health issues, climate change, over population, poverty, food waste, and many more equally important. Tesla Powerwall is a perfect example of this and promotes exactly the purpose of INDEX: Award,” says Kigge Hvid, CEO of the INDEX: Design to Improve Life® organization, who founded the prize 10 years ago.
THE OCEAN CLEANUP ARRAY: FLOATING STRUCTURES USE CURRENTS TO CLEAN UP THE WORLD’S OCEANS
Boyan Slat gets the €100.000 first prize for the Ocean Cleanup Array that aims to clean all plastic waste from the world’s oceans over the next decade.
“The Ocean Cleanup Array won INDEX: Award 2015 due its momentous potential to address one of the largest global challenges: our polluted oceans. The incredibly ingenious and well-researched idea will greatly improve the condition of the Earth's greatest natural resource, as well as the lives of millions,” said the international INDEX: Award Jury in their motivation.
The innovative design is a collection of huge floating structures intended to go into the center of so-called gyres (giant ocean currents) to gather floating plastic debris. First, rows of floating barriers – safe for marine life – will work like a giant funnel, sucking in and concentrating the debris. Platforms attached to the barriers will then efficiently extract the plastic from the sea. The debris – some in big and some in very small pieces – will then be filtered and brought on to land, where it will be stored in containers before being recycled. Designed to be almost entirely self-sufficient, the Ocean Cleanup Array will run on energy harnessed from the sun and waves.
Community: SKY URBAN VERTICAL FARMING SYSTEM: HYDRO-POWERED GREENHOUSES BRING FARMLAND TO THE CITY
Jack Ng and Sky green wins the €100,000 first prize for their low-carbon, water-driven vegetable farm, the Sky Urban Vertical Garden System. The world’s first of its kind.
Sky Greens wins INDEX: Award 2015 partly because “it is a powerful example that represents the next generation of sustainable urban agriculture, and has proven that vertical farming can compete with, and produce better results than traditional farming”, as the international INDEX: Award Jury states in its motivation. Sky Greens is one of five winners of INDEX: Award 2015.
More to come.