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Because, You’re Worth It: The Shaw Contract Design Awards

You are a visionary. You strive to help, improve and redefine a smarter, better and healthier world. Shaw Contract simply wants to say thanks.

  • Wyndham Vale Primary School, designed by Haskell Architects, the 2016 Global Winner of the Shaw Contract Design Awards. The educational purpose of the project was to focus on building a sense of community within the school, support the development of skills for lifelong learning, and instil a sense of belonging, identity and engagement among students.

It’s all too easy to write off award programmes as an exercise in vanity, self-congratulation, or ego inflation. It’s easy, that is, to focus solely on the end-result: trophies.

The reality, however, is far more nuanced and meaningful than most are willing to credit. Honour. Distinction. Tribute. Appreciation. An award demarcates an especial quality of achievement – they act equally as milestones and gold standards. They are, quite simply, the indicators of our own drive as an industry determined on progression – striving to improve the way we live, work, think and create.

And so, it’s really quite simple. Those visionary problem-solvers – the A+D community … you – who improve our world for the better, deserve our recognition and admiration. This is where the Shaw Contract Design Awards begins and ends: celebrating the story of our community (rookies and stalwarts, alike) in a continuous narrative of merit, advancement and bravery.

Since 2006 the Shaw Contract Design Awards has served our industry as a vehicle to leading-edge achievements, to game- changers, to clever products and considerate processes, to the complex and the streamlined, to kindness and intelligence, and to ‘good design’ – whatever it can be and wherever it is.

As an extension of Shaw Contract’s already distinguished design values, the Shaw Contract Design Awards follows the brand’s wholehearted embrace of viewing the work of A+D as a process of discovery. Now that entries for 2017’s Shaw Contract Design Awards are closed and in the hands of their international jury, the sheer array of key market segments is astounding. From commercial projects to hospitality, education to public spaces, each entry is judged on a detailed design story that encompasses sustainability and ecological goals, innovative design solutions and Shaw Contract’s flooring contribution to design objectives. As a united whole, this year’s line-up of entries are exemplars of considerate design for future impact.

Reflecting Shaw Contract’s driving force for environmental thought-leadership and social responsibility, 2017’s pool of entries perfectly aligns with the company’s industry reputation as the largest carpet recycler worldwide and the very first flooring manufacturer to create a cradle-to-cradle certified portfolio. Through a mixture of People’s Choice voting for winners in key market sectors, and jury-decided winners for the global stage, those who are lucky enough to take home the coveted award will enjoy an enviable degree of media coverage – with Global Winners also receiving an international design journey.

Joining an impressive list of A+D heavyweights on the global stage are two jurors from Australian shores: Melanie Mackenzie of Tanner Kibble Denton Architects (on the Market Award judging panel), and Andrew Schunke of Architectus (representing Australia on the o cal Global Award jury).

In fact, the Australian presence at the Shaw Contract Design Awards has been consistently astounding. Taking home the 2016 Global Award Winner (pictured) was Haskell Architects for Wyndham Vale Primary School. A year earlier, the same award was taken out by yet another Australian team at Jackson Clements Burrows Architects for the Monash College International School of Business. And, capping o the hat-trick in 2014 was FJMT’s Melton Library and Learning Hub. Many industry movers-and-shakers are keeping their eye peeled to see if yet another Australian project can take out a four-year streak for 2017 to join a truly international network of global designers, thought-leaders and innovators – the very core of Shaw Contract’s position in this space.

Perhaps, however, this awards programme’s most impressive feat is Shaw Contract’s goal for design to leave a lasting legacy. Each year, the company makes a $2,000USD charitable contribution awarded for the each of the winning firms in their respective names to an organisation of its choice in an effort to continue fostering design education across the world. To date, over $100,000USD has been donated as a result of this forward-thinking initiative.

In Shaw Contract’s own words, “we journey the globe, seeking cultural shifts, awakening our senses, and finding beauty in the unpredictable. Inspiration meets innovation resulting in award- winning products year after year”. Let’s see what this year will bring.

Photography: Rhiannon Slatter.

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