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Index design prize

June 09, 2005 ・ Blog

The “shortlist” for INDEX:, a new design prize based in Denmark, has been announced. The jury is proud to have selected 118 designs (from an original 538 submissions) to vie for the five prizes of DKK100,000. The focus seems to be on worthy “live-improving” stuff, all solar pasteurisation units to clean AIDS-infected breast milk and robot assistants for the elderly.

All very good, but thing that struck me while reading the press release is where the designs come from:

Europe and North America clearly dominate the field of top nominated designs. Europe is responsible for approx. 2/3 of all top nominated designs, and the USA is responsible for approx. 1/4. Asia represents 6% of the total designs while Africa and South America represent 4%.

I wonder what the skewing towards the West, and especially Europe, means. The jury is largely Danish/American, plus a couple of other Europeans, one person from Chile and an American now based in Hong Kong. It’s surely a snapshot of their ideals for design right now. But with a shortlist that seems so narrow in terms of its origin, does it really reflect what’s really important in design in the world right now?