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Winners of the Helen Hamlyn Design Awards 2015 Announced

The Royal College of Art has announced the winners of the Helen Hamlyn Design Awards 2015. Now in its seventh year, the Awards celebrate the use of innovative design that makes real differences to peoples’ lives, with this year’s winning projects each receiving £2,000 in prize money.

Winner of the AgeUK Award for Inclusive Design, Tian-Jia Hsieh, Lucy Jung, Hwansoo Jeon and Daniel Walklin (Innovation Design Engineering) collaborated on ARC Pen. This therapeutic pen design responds to a very real need for people with Parkinson’s disease by ensuring larger, smoother writing. As Philip Rossall from AgeUK commented, this invention ‘identifies a problem, that if solved, will make a major difference to people’s quality of life.’

Laura Venables (Textiles) was awarded the MIE Design Award for Healthcare for her project Memory, which supports people with dementia through hands-on workshops devised to engage memory and boost communication between participants.

This year’s Innovate UK Innovation for Living award was awarded to two projects. Rubber on Concrete, by Adi Zaffran (Design Products), employed the everyday sound effects, such as footsteps and rustling, which are added to films in postproduction, and termed ‘Foley sounds’. Praised by Jackie Marshall-Balloch (Innovate UK) as ‘a game changing design concept’, the project explores how these sounds can be used as a therapeutic tool for people who have experienced a traumatic event.

Joint recipient, Vidhi Mehta (Innovation Design Engineering), created Post/Biotics, a toolkit to empower amateur – or ‘citizen’ – scientists in sourcing alternative antibiotics from those occurring in nature, thereby lessening reliance on multinational pharmaceutical companies.

This year’s GMW Design Award for Work and City went to Yu-Lin Chen (Design Products) for We Change, a universal outdoor electric scooter charging system that makes this more sustainable transport option widely and conveniently available. Laurence Orsini from GMW Architects said, ‘This has the potential to have a huge effect in city life, importantly removing the fear factor of running out of juice.’

Joanna Hyland, Ralf Alwani and Matt Volsen (Architecture) received the Helen Hamlyn Design Award for Creativity for HELIX Pop-Up Design Studio. Their pop-up space is part of the pioneering initiative HELIX (Healthcare Innovation Exchange), a joint RCA-Imperial College London design team located in St Mary’s Hospital, where, in the words of Lady Helen Hamlyn, it plays a crucial role in ‘bringing designers and frontline NHS staff together’.

The 2015 Helen Hamlyn Design Award for Alumni was awarded to Katherine Gough (RCA Graduate 2001), who has carried inclusive design through a range of important roles in the private and public sectors, with clients spanning Nokia and the Ministry of Justice.

Bringing together leading names from a range of disciplinary and industry backgrounds, the judging panel drew on their diverse professional insights and expertise to choose this year’s winners. This saw external jurors, Philip Rossall (AgeUK), Brian Firth, (MIE Medical Research), Jackie Marshall-Balloch (InnovateUK), Laurence Orsini (GMW Architects) and Peter Gyllan (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts), work alongside Lady Helen Hamlyn, of the Helen Hamlyn Trust, and members of the RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Director Professor Jeremy Myerson, Deputy Director Rama Gheerawo and Senior Research Fellow Dr Katie Gaudion.

The jury applauded the winners’ commitment and the strength of their innovative designs, reflecting the inclusive and interdisciplinary approach of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and showcasing the breadth of creativity found at the RCA.


The winning designs are currently on display at Show 2015, open to the public daily from 12pm to 6pm until Sunday 5 July (closed Friday 3 July). See here for more information about Show 2015.