Winners of Designers Australia 2021 Awards Announced

Edward-Linacre-with-Sun-and-Moon-photo-by-Francesco-VincenziThe Design Institute of Australia (DIA), Australia’s peak national design body, has announced the inaugural recipients for its Designers Australia 2021 Awards.

The final winners out of a shortlist of seventy-four across the country, reflect the designer’s ability to make a strong contribution to a better world and include three national winners, a President’s Award and thirty-one awards of Merit.

The awards, a first for the industry, identify Australia’s preeminent designers and studios, calling attention to the individual/s and their distinguished design processes as much as the outcome.

Bates Smart for Gandel Wing, Cabrini was awarded the ‘PLACE’ category winner, while DesignByThem for DL Range by Gibson Karlo and Dion Lee received the winning ‘USE’ award.

Monash University Department of Design XYX Lab for HyperSext City won ‘INTERACT’, and product designer, artist and mentor Edward Linacre received the President’s Award.

DIA’s Designers Australia 2021 Awards are the culmination of months of evaluation, development and revisions. They are different in their categories and criteria to most of the design awards currently offered in Australia.

The three ground-breaking cross-disciplinary design categories would have previously been categorised by traditional design disciplines such as industrial, interior, graphic, digital, product, environmental, textile, fashion, and many more.

“Since 1948, the Design Institute of Australia has been committed to nurturing and empowering designers,” said DIA President Gavin Campbell FDIA. “It is pleasing to see the culmination of these awards, responses in design shifts while also creating a platform for our collective future.

“The winning recipients and awards of Merit have all in their way embraced ethical, diverse and sustainable processes through collaborative and professional practice.”

“Their projects are a testament to their values and entrepreneurship. It’s our responsibility to identify and support them as design leaders and to demonstrate the value of design to the broader community,” said Campbell.

Awards jurors, and internationally renowned Dutch trend forecasters and design educators Lidewij Edelkoort & Philip Fimmano also commented: “The Cabrini Malvern Hospital extension by Mark Healy the studio director of Bates Smart truly encapsulates our times; from the importance the medical sector plays in our lives to designing social spaces with well-being in mind,” they siad.

“The new Gandel Wing’s natural finishes, rounded edges and neutral palette illustrate the power of buildings that can heal us. Considered lighting and attention to detail therefore become critical to care.”

“The comforting interiors have been so thoughtfully reimagined that we thought it was a sustainable hotel concept — now that’s somewhere one should check-in! It’s time that hospital and hospitality go hand in hand.”

Tuba Kocaturk, awards juror, and professor of integral design said: “The DL Range by DesignByThem presents a timeless process of experimentation with form and materials which brings together functional and purposeful production techniques from fashion and industrial design, translated into an innovative marriage of comfort and inspirational design.

“The Monash University’s design, the HyperSext City, presents a series of interaction platforms where the design transcends being merely a product, but rather becomes a research and a communication platform, which informs, raise awareness and continually involves its users/audience in the evolution of the displayed content.”

“Both projects are a testament to the changing role and position of design, moving from the traditional concept of a tangible product through to orchestration of new interactions and experiences. “

PLACE winner – Bates Smart for Gandel Wing, Cabrini identified for their exemplary approach to design by focusing on wellness and human-centred healthcare. Gandel Wing was praised as a place in partnership with nature and technology, encouraging healing rather than simply treating disease. The architects were honoured for responding to the hospital’s evolving needs by comforting the lives of many.

USE winner – DesignByThem for DL Range by Gibson Karlo collaborates between founders and industrial designers Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis and Australian fashion designer Dion Lee. The key objective of this project was to promote cross-disciplinary design by creating a unique body of work merging fashion and industrial design principles.

INTERACT winner – Monash University Department of Design for HyperSext City use design as an intersecting mediator, educational and collaborative tool giving voice to community members. The University’s XYX Lab was commended for its investigative exhibition encouraging and empowering people to comprehend and imagine complex issues together.

President’s Award – Multidisciplinary designer, artist, student mentor and former DIA Graduate of the Year recipient Edward Linacre applauded for his contribution to the profession, and commitment to diversity and equality across cultures, gender and race. He is a partner at Copper Design, which resides within Mycelium Studios, a co-working hub and place where designers coexist and learn from each other.

Industry leading jurors include Alessandra Baldereschil, Susanna Bilardo, Lisa Cahill, Gavin Campbell, Lidewij Edelkoort, Philip Fimmano, Marcus Fairs, John Gertsakis, Dr Rafael Gomez, Peta Heffernan, Fenella Kernebone, Tuba Kocaturk, Dr Scott Mayson, Nicole Monks, Lorenzo Palmeri, and Quan Payne.

For more information about the winning recipients and the Awards of Merit, visit: for details.

Image: Edward Linacre with Sun and Moon – photo by Francesco Vincenzi