Lifestraw, iPod and Softwall take major design awards

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September 27, 2005 The winners of the prestigious INDEX: awards for design that has most improved life during the last five years were announced last Friday evening in Copenhagen across five categories: body, home, work, play and community. Gizmag’s “invention of the century”, the LifeStraw won the body category for obvious reasons, and Apple’s iPod/iTunes won the “play” category for changing the way people experience their music. Softwall, a lightweight, transportable, collapsible wall for partitioning buildings won the “home” category and a network/website focused on improving competitiveness and awareness of 40 million craftsmen in Latin America, won the work category. The “community” category prize went to “Architecture for Humanity”, a nonprofit organization and network designed in 1999 to promote architectural and design solutions to global or humanitarian crises.

The INDEX: awards conclude with the world’s largest design and innovation award ceremony, where the 118 top designs are narrowed to the five category winners and the global kudos is already overwhelming for the winners. The top designs are all viewable at the INDEX: awards web site, so if you’re a fan of Gizmag, you’ll find countless ideas and inspirations at the awards web site.

Our congratulations to the winners – all particularly deserving but beyond that, acknowledging design that really does make a difference. We are firm believers that the LifeStraw will help to achieve one of the most pressing problems facing humanity – the Millennium Development Goal of ‘reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water’ by the year 2015. The LifeStraw can achieve this goal if it gains support from community groups around the world and there is no doubt that the LifeStraw came to prominence through the Index Awards site – we named it “invention of the century” and we weren’t aware of it until we saw it on the index awards site. Visit the newly opened LIFESTRAW WEBSITE HERE. Similarly, each of the winners has achieved significant benefits for humanity’s health, home, work, play and community.

If you’re in Northern Europe over the next six weeks, you can also see the top 96 nominated designs, including the award winners on display in the centre of Copenhagen until November 13th, and if you think that one of the nominations deserved a win and didn’t get it, there’s a People's Choice Award which you can vote for on the Index web site.

LifeStraw (winner of Body category) Designers: Torben Vestergaard Frandsen (Denmark), Rob Fleuren (Holland) and Moshe Frommer (Israel).

LifeStraw brings clean water to people in the third world on an individual level and making people less dependent on others for safe drinking water. With LifeStraw everyone from school kids to farmers will find it convenient to sip water from any source. It is a safe and user friendly tool which eliminates disease causing bacteria, viruses and parasites. LifeStraw can prevent waterborne diseases like diphtheria, cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea – diseases that kill millions each year. Visit the newly opened LIFESTRAW WEBSITE HERE.

Softwall (winner of Home category) Designers: Stephanie Forsythe, Todd MacAllen, Canada

The paper (or textile) softwall dynamically partitions large open rooms and spaces into more intimate and personal surroundings of any shape. Unlike fixed walls or conventional partitioning systems, softwall is ever-changing and can form space in a spontaneous, flexible and ephemeral way. The compressed softwall is small, lightweight, and highly transportable, and when needed can be easily and instantly expanded up to 300 times its size. softwall dampens sound and can both absorb and transmit light. Paper softwall is made from recycled material and is 100% recyclable. More info on the Softwall can be found on the Index Site, and at it can be purchased here.

Observatorio Iberoamericano para la Artesanía (winner of Work category) Designers: Fundación Española para la Innovación de la Artesanía, Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Commerce, Spain

The Foundation designed a strategy, a network and a website focused on improving life for 40 mil. craftsmen in Latin America, threatned by the globalisation. The main activities improve the networking among craftsmen and teach them new tendencies with tailor made activities. The Foundation works with craftsmen on research of new design methods, information transfer, networks, technological development, design, product development and access to new markets. The Foundation has trained thousands of craftsmen, promoted their craft, and defined development programs following up their implementation to improve people’s lives. More information can be found here.

Apple iTunes, iPod (winner of Play Category) Designers: Apple Design Team, USA

iPod together with Apple’s iTunes software is truly changing the way people experience their music. iPod allows a music fan to have their entire music collection with them anytime, anywhere. The iTunes software provides unparalleled ease of use for organization and sharing of music as well as recorded literature and images. Playlists can be shared with other computers across a network via Apple’s Bonjour technology. iTunes secures that music users pay for their music.

Architecture for Humanity (winner of Community category) Designers: Cameron Sinclair, USA

Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit organization and network designed in 1999 to promote architectural and design solutions to global or humanitarian crises. Examples of the impressive work the network does are the quick reactions to help people in deep need after the Tsunami and the hurricane, Katrina. Through competitions, workshops, educational forums, etc. Architecture for Humanity creates opportunities for architects and designers to help communities in need. Where resources and expertise are scarce this network makes amazing differences. Visit the official web site here.

The five winners received €100.000 each. The winning designs are exhibited in Copenhagen outdoor and free of charge.

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