Winners of the Helen Hamlyn ‘Inclusive Spaces’ Design Award announced

20.07.18

In recognising that design which enhances lives must always be part of the culture of our industry, the winners of this year’s Helen Hamlyn ‘Inclusive Spaces’ Design Award, sponsored by Scott Brownrigg have been announced.

Project Director, Laurence Orsini who judged the award said: “Supporting the Helen Hamlyn Awards is not just an honour but a responsibility. How else can we hope to create sustainable, accessible products and places?”

The award focuses upon ideas that can make our future cities, public spaces and private spaces more inclusive of the needs and aspirations of people of all ages and abilities.

The two winning projects illustrated real social issues and excelled in design innovation in providing solutions to better people’s lives.

The winners were:  Joel Cunningham for his project Agriact which is an architecturally based business focusing on critical issues within agricultural labour in southern Europe, and address the Mediterranean migrant crisis. The business provides commercial strategies that improve the domestic conditions of seasonal agricultural workers, encouraging them to return year-on-year by using innovative accommodation solutions and services such as pay-as-you-go WIFI, international phone booths and other services.

 “Agriact improve the grim living conditions of migrant workers and could work on many levels: with the development of shelters, the introduction of essential amenities and even a sense of community” comments Laurence Orsini (competition judge).

The second winner was Andriana Faidra Nassou with her project Symbiont.  Symbiont is a living structure that eliminates the CO2 levels in indoor working spaces by fostering the growth of microalgae.

People spend at least 8hrs/day in working spaces where their performance is closely linked to their wellbeing. In an office environment, respiration and outside air quality are the primary sources of CO2. High CO2 content in inhaled air has been directly correlated with negative mental and physical wellbeing. Symbiont is a living object that fosters the growth of micro algae to purify the air of indoor spaces based on symbiosis. Using sunlight as the energy, micro algae Chlorella Vulgaris consume carbon dioxide, and release oxygen into the air as a by-product.

Symbiont is a hybrid project that stands between science and design. Based on Biophilic Design Principles, the form enhances the natural function of the system, recreating the experience of being in nature. In a future where 90% of the population is going to live in urban centres, Symbiont offers a sustainable solution that paves the way towards an era of bioinspired systems.

“The possibility of replacing mechanical air conditioning with the beautifully conceived living algae installation is an exciting prospect that points towards a bio-inspired future. This idea cannot be ignored’.” comments Laurence Orsini (competition judge)

Each winner will receive £1,000 prize money to support further development of their project. The Helen Hamlyn awards is an open competition that rewards creativity in people-centred design across all disciplines. Nominated projects are on display at the annual RCA Graduation Shows.

“For me it is one of the high points of the year to come to the Royal College of Art and join the judging panel to assess the ‘best of the best’ at the Helen Hamlyn Awards. This year our selected students are addressing very different and often overlooked issues; the plight of migrant worker living conditions and poor air quality. Both Joel and Andriana have brought imagination and individual approach to tackle their chosen subjects and are worthy joint winners of our Scott Brownrigg Design Award for Inclusive Spaces." Project Director, Laurence Orsini