Awards by design

FAMILIARITY may not quite breed contempt for the everyday tools and devices we use, but our attitude towards many objects that are commonplace in our lives is such that most of us pay little attention to the creativity behind their design.

Despite the frequency of their usage, every manufactured item we use is the product of a designer’s inspiration, yet in the public mind this essential contribution by the design industries is often overlooked.

One group working hard to raise the profile of the design industries and its importance to both the economy and quality of life is the Design Institute of Australia (WA chapter), which recently launched its DIA WA Design Awards and Forum program, scheduled for October 2003.

This is the second year the institute has run the awards program, which brings together the many different design schools, including industrial design, interior design, interior architecture, graphic design, visual communication and furniture design.

WA chapter president Julie Roberts said the aim of the awards was to promote the value of design and designers to industry, business, government and the community.

Ms Roberts said the design industry was all about using brain-power to create revenue, rather than having to build large manufacturing factories, which countries such as China had already mastered.

“It is about using intellectual knowledge to create income for the country.”

A designer is basically defined as a professional who develops solutions to commercial needs that require the balancing of aesthetic and technical requirements.

More than 500,000 people are involved in the design industries in Australia and this number is expected to increase as the creative industries become more of a force in the global economy.

Ms Roberts said that in Australia, unlike other countries, the importance of design was often overlooked and many people did not understanding its true value.

She said people in regions such as Scandinavia spent longer periods of time housebound and were more aware of their internal environments, whereas Australians tended to be more externally focused.

Despite this the DIA awards event is gaining momentum, with the number of pre-registrations doubling this year.

The institute has also secured some of the world’s eminent designers to address the design forum on Saturday October 25. 

Speakers include Holden design director Michael Simcoe, international award winning architect Ian Moore and Western Australian-born graphic designer Alvin Chan, who currently heads up the design at the Dutch agency Koeweiden Postma.

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