What is good design? Award winning film maker James Cameron says: “it’s an elegant solution to a design problem”. Cameron was recently honoured with Australia’s most prestigious design accolade for his work on the Deep Sea Explorer, a single occupant research submersible able to traverse the murky depths of our oceans to an astounding depth of 11 kilometres. This is deeper by half than any other submersible built for any purpose anywhere else in the world! Even when faced with critical deadlines, Cameron pressed upon his team of engineers that it’s not enough to work – it also needs to look good. The end result is a decidedly elegant 12 tonne submarine that can withstand the physics of deep water pressure. Engineered and built in Australia by Cameron and Ron Allum from Acheron Project.
A design solution was also needed for the more gruesome job of collecting bodies from the open sea. Sea Scoopa to the rescue – a patented device designed to rescue a man overboard (MOB), the cause of 80% of all deaths at sea. After extensive testing, this device has been endorsed by the Royal Australian Navy and is deemed safe for international use.
Design solutions are everywhere and the annual Australian International Design Awards is another reminder of the work that goes into finding solutions to both the profound and the mundane. Certainly, the Bung Plug designed in Australia by Bestxxx and Vert Design fits both worlds beautifully (excuse the pun). You will just need to follow the link to find out more about this one!
It might be as simple as a chair that is both functional and sculptural and yet crafted without a single screw. It might be about finding an acoustic wall solution which is both cost effective and kinder to the environment. And it’s always amazing to see the number of smaller innovations on domestic appliances which build on past successes. The ice cream maker that knows when your ice cream, gelato or sorbet is the right texture and consistency or the oven which can be raised or lowered into a benchtop for greater accessibility by the elderly or disabled – small but significant design solutions which take into account users’ needs.
Its not just products that need design solutions. Family by Family is a new network that enables families to achieve goals with the support of other families that have ‘been there and done that’. The service locates and trains families and children who have made it through tough times and matches them with families in need of support. What better way for design to come to the rescue.
However, the one I will be sure to try at home is the vacuum cleaner which promises, due to an improved steering system and lower centre of gravity, to easily circumnavigate sofas and other obstacles. Now I just need someone to do the vacuuming!
All the best for August