Each year since 1992 the Powerhouse Museum has displayed a selection of finalists and award-wining designs from the annual Australian Design Awards. The display demonstrates how innovation and design work to make our everyday lives easier, safer or more sustainable ‘ and often more stylish too. We may not be aware of it but we’re surrounded by objects that are the result of clever design, objects that we probably take for granted but would struggle to do without.
This year’s selection is no exception featuring such everyday items as a urinal and a peg ‘ but with a difference. The Clever Peg clasps at both ends meaning that clothes can be hung one below the other, just the thing for inner city living where clothesline space is often limited. The Caroma H2Zero is a waterless urinal containing a unique one-way air-tight valve to seal the urinal from the drainage system and a deodorising block to counteract bad smells. The urinal received an Australian Design Award and the Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design.
Other award winners in the exhibition include the Gator bicycle lamp, which received the Australian Design Award of the Year. This LED bike lamp is powered by a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery and controlled from a handlebar-mounted keypad. It is the latest in a range of bicycle accessories designed by Melbourne-based Catalyst Design Group and Knog.
The SolarScan device for detecting melanoma received the inaugural Powerhouse Museum Design Award. The device uses a high-resolution digital camera mounted in the hand piece to capture images of suspect lesions. Solarscan was developed over more than ten years by Sydney-based company Polartechnics in collaboration with the Sydney Melanoma Centre, the CSIRO and a number of design firms.
The latest in household products on display include the Quicksmart folding stroller, the Sunbeam Ceramic kettle and Breville Ikon blender. The stroller, designed by Ideation Design in Melbourne, is lightweight and compact and can be unfolded in seconds. The Sunbeam Ceramic kettle has a retro look, recalling the traditional ‘Speedie’ or ‘Hecla’ kettles, while using modern kettle technology. The Breville Ikon blender uses electronic controls and a backlit timer display for repeatable results.
Among the products addressing environmental concerns is the Frogmouth rainwater filter. This device, made to use with urban rainwater tanks, is designed to filter out debris and divert clean water into the tank. The Frogmouth filter provides a low maintenance, visually appealing alternative to existing products.
Six of the finalists and winners from the student award category are also displayed. Two students have addressed methods for firefighting ‘ the ‘FireEye’ unmanned aerial vehicle for monitoring bushfires and the ‘Sentinel’ hose clamp device for holding a firehose. The Gold Prize winner, the ‘Powercleat’ by Paul Owen, is a new device for securing ropes on sailboats. It reduces the potential for lines to tangle and improves safety on board the vessel.
This article was first published in the Spring 07 issue of Powerline, the magazine of the Powerhouse Museum.