“Most design is still evaluated only due to its form, colour, surface and beauty. At INDEX: we add impact and context to that,” said INDEX: CEO Kigge Hvid when announcing the 2009 winners. Boasting the largest purse of any design competition INDEX: shares 500 000 euros between five category winners for innovations in the spheres of body, work, home, community and play.
South African John Hutchinson and team won the Body category for the Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor. Safeguarding childbirth for mothers and infants in remote areas of the developing world where expert care and electrical power are in short supply, the Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor works off-grid, where there’s no electricity to support a delivery.
Winner of the Work category was the Kiva.org website, which brings lenders and small entrepreneurs together to aggregate loans into a major centre of person-to-person micro-finance. In turn, winner of the Home category, Philips Design’s Chulha is a stove designed to limit the dangerous health conditions caused by traditions of indoor cooking in many rural areas of the developing world.
Community category winner, the Better Place electrical car infrastructure is an ambitious holistic urban design solution focused on moving drivers, the automotive industry and energy-distribution beyond the internal-combustion engine.
All expressing the INDEX: tagline of “design to improve life”, even the Play category winner is not frivolous. Winner Christien Meindertsma’s innovative Pig 05049 book is aimed at helping people in a highly mechanised and “packaged” world understand how things are made and where they come from so that the resources involved can be cared for by informed people.
The 2009 INDEX: Award received more than 700 entries from six continents and 54 countries. A 10-member jury led by Nille Juul-Sørensen, associate director of Arup, decided on the finalists and ultimate winners. Other jury members included Hella Jongerius, Milton Tan, John Heskett, Paola Antonelli and Design Indaba’s own Ravi Naidoo.