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Enter now! Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator and Holdmark Innovation Award

The application deadline for the industrial design program is now June 28th, while the $10,000 Holdmark Innovation Award entries close July 1st.

Enter now! Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator and Holdmark Innovation Award

Camada Day Bed, image by Daniel Goode.

Powerhouse has opened applications for the second annual Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator program, inviting early to mid-career Australian industrial designers to apply to take part in a tailored, eight-month industry program to develop or promote a project that demonstrates outstanding design in sustainability. Meanwhile, the Holdmark Innovation Award is also now inviting applications.

Supported by a generous bequest from the celebrated Australian industrial designer and his wife, Judy Nielsen, the annual Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator program recognises achievement by Australian industrial designers working in sustainable design and aims to support and promote the work of designers who are less than 10 years post-graduation.

The Holdmark Innovation Award is an annual award recognising and celebrating excellence and innovation in engineering, architecture and the built environment – with the successful project receiving a $10,000 cash prize. Now in its second year, the award is delivered by Powerhouse and supported by Sydney Design Week Principal Partner Holdmark Property Group.

Practices are encouraged to submit projects designed in Australia and completed between January’s and December 31st, 2023 that demonstrate excellence in innovation and address industry challenges. This may include projects that utilise emerging technologies, adopt pioneering research, explore decarbonising the construction industry or embrace regenerative practice. A project may be defined as an entire building, built structure or a key element in a structure’s design or construction.

PHIVE Community, Cultural and Civic Hub, photograph by Brett Boardman.

Community, cultural and civic hub PHIVE in Parramatta Square was the inaugural recipient of the 2023 Holdmark Innovation Award. The architectural icon by DesignInc Sydney, Lacoste+Stevenson and Manuelle Gautrand Architecture was selected for its ingenious rooftop design and passive climate strategies.

Back over at the Carl Nielsen program, one project designed in Australia will be selected by a panel to receive specialised industry-level assistance in the areas of production, mentorship, research and outreach. Powerhouse may also seek to acquire the winning project into the Powerhouse Collection and recipients may participate in Sydney Design Week in 2025.

Ash Fischer and Orlando Hayes were the recipients of the 2023 Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator program for their Camada Daybed project. The pair undertook a program under the mentorship of Australian furniture designer, Adam Goodrum, to progress their design towards production and distribution. Their design collaboration celebrated aesthetics and sustainability, showing how design can change people’s understanding of what waste can become.

The 2024 selection panel will include Powerhouse Curator Angelique Hutchison, Nielsen Design Associates Director Adam Laws and Industrial Designer and Founder of IDX SYD Ed Ko. Sydney-based Ko will advise and work with the recipient to create a bespoke program tailored to the project. Ko is a multifaceted, award-winning industrial designer, lecturer, communicator, and community builder dedicated to nurturing creative expression and driving positive change through industrial design.

Related: The 2024 galang residency

Ed Ko at PH Late Industrial Design, image by Andy Roberts.

“Carl Nielsen had a major influence on establishing the industrial design profession in Australia during its early formative years,” says Nielsen Design Associates Director, Adam Laws. “He helped guide and mentor numerous designers who now have leading roles in the industry. The Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator has been developed to continue his legacy of supporting industrial designers to achieve their full potential.”

2023 Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator mentor Adam Goodrum adds: “It has been an honour to be a mentor for the Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator. This initiative holds immense value, recognising the challenges and costs involved in bringing a project to life, especially during the early stages of a career. The partnership with a prestigious institution like Powerhouse and what it brings is invaluable.”

The Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator supports the ambitions of the Powerhouse Climate Action Plan to embed sustainability in programs, exhibitions and education. Industrial designers with a maximum of 10 years post-graduation are encouraged to apply. Applications are now open and will close 5pm on June 28th, 2024, with the successful recipient announced at Sydney Design Week in September 2024. For information on how to apply, click here.

Meanwhile, applications for 2024 Holdmark Innovation Award will be reviewed by a committee that includes Gerard Reinmuth (Professor of Practice in the School of Architecture at UTS and Director of TERROIR), Keinton Butler (Powerhouse Senior Curator, Design & Architecture) and Kevin Nassif (Chief Operating Officer, Holdmark Property Group). They will close at 5pm on July 1st, 2024. For information on how to apply, click here.


Hamish McIntosh unless credited separately

Sydney Design Week 2023 Q&A with Keinton Butler

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