“Human-centred” design takes out top prize at the 2010 Australian International Design Awards.
June 6th, 2010
The makers of an intensive-care hospital bed, designed with safety, comfort, ease-of-use and aesthetics in mind, were “privileged” to have taken the top prize at the 2010 Australian International Design Awards announced last night (04.06.10).
Designed and manufactured by New Zealand based company Howard Wright, what’s innovative about the M8 Intensive Care is that it allows for a wide range of procedures, such as x-rays, to be performed on the bed without the need to transfer the patient.
The judges were impressed by the attention to detail given to all aspects of the bed, from aesthetics, materials choice and functionality through to safety and comfort for all users.
“Superb functionality, soft-touch surfaces and inviting aesthetics are the culmination of a ground-up, human-centred approach to design. For a low production run product, the M8 Intensive Care bed represents the work of an exceptional company driven to lead by design,” said the judges.
Stephanie Pemberton, Program Director of the Australian International Design Awards, said that the judges were also impressed by Howard Wright’s commitment to design as integral to the company’s business growth strategy.
The company completed the Better by Design program a few years ago, Research and Development Manager Anthony Batley told indesignlive.com. As a result of the program, it brought industrial designers into its R&D team and switched the emphasis from manufacturing to design and user research.
“Design is now incredibly important to us,” Batley said. “For a while we were reactive; more like a customising engineering shop than a design firm.”
“We had a basic range of beds and we would customise them. Since Better by Design, we’re telling our customers what they need. It means that we’re leading the way, but also that we’ve cut down on variations. Now, we produce only a handful of strong designs, whereas before we had maybe a hundred.”
It is a much better way of doing business for the firm, which last year became the sole supplier of critical care beds to the Western Australian Public Health Unit and now gets around 60 per cent of its business from Australia.
However, not all medical equipment manufacturers are investing as much in design, Batley said. “We go to the big international trade fair in Dusseldorf each year and we’ve been disappointed.
“There hasn’t been anything new in years,” he said. But one thing that would certainly help would be more support from government.
“Government investment in healthcare is definitely going to boost innovation in patient-care related products,” he said.
A total of 42 winners walked away with awards from last night’s event, with winning products including the new generation Cochlear implant system, a sheep drench gun, lightweight wine bottles and hybrid surfboard combining a longboard and shortboard.
“To be named the Australian International Design Award of the Year a product needs to demonstrate outstanding performance across the six criteria of innovation, functionally, visual appeal, quality and manufacturing, human factors and environmental sustainability…
“This year, 42 products received a Design Award in recognition of design excellence and 69 were awarded a Design Mark for good design – a record number,” Pemberton said.
M8 Intensive Care beat off stiff competition from eight other shortlisted products to win the 2010 Design Award of the Year, including:
– ON task chair by Wilkhahn
– Baby Jogger City Mini Single stroller by Baby Jogger
– Dyson Air Multiplier bladeless fan designed by Dyson and
– The Lean+Green Lightweight Wine bottle designed by O-I Australia.
Australian International Design Awards
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