Title: A second design centre for Australia
Pages: 36 - 37
Author: F. R. Harvey
Text: A second design centre for Australia
by F. R. Harvey
The Industrial Design Council of Australia opened a new design centre in Sydney earlier this year. It is the council's second centre -the first opened in Melbourne in 1964 where the IDCA has its headquarters. The new showroom is in Bridge Street in the heart of Sydney, and has already been well received by the public.
At the moment, approximately 40 manufacturers have a total of 118 products on exhibition in the centre's 2,303 sq ft of display space. These products range from water faucets to a Litebuoy marine light. There is a Design Index similar to the ColD's index, which is open to the submission of all Australian designed and manufactured products, excluding clothing, foodstuffs and handicrafts. Products accepted for the index receive a 'good design' seal which manufacturers can use in their advertising and sales promotion.
One of the most important facets of the centre's activities will be to encourage Australian executives concerned with product design to become 'design delegates'. For an annual fee of $12 60 (£6 6s), members may attend seminars and lectures, as well as having access to information made available through the centre and the chance to exchange ideas with other members on common design problems.
The Industrial Design Council is hoping to attract more young executives as design delegates. "It is quite often the younger man in a company who will benefit from the study and experience available to delegates," Mr Goninon maintains. His point is underlined by a passage from the council's seventh annual report, which neatly sums up the current state of design in Australia. "Although it is generally conceded," the report states, "that a national programme must be a long-term process, it is nevertheless encouraging and significant that in the last three years more has been written and spoken about design in Australia than ever before - the need now and for the future is not only to make in Australia, but also to design in Australia." Industrial support for this aim is evident in a number of new design competitions, with awards by Australian manufacturers. Current examples include the $1,000 Sebel award for chair design and a $3,000 prize by a plastics company.
The centre itself has been financed by a federal government grant to the council of $20,000 (£10,000), but the New South Wales government will provide a further $7,000 (£3,500) a year for the next five years. The council receives a basic federal grant of $40,000 (£20,000) yearly and a further grant of up to $30,000 (£15,000) to match donations from industry and other sources on a pound for pound basis.
The front of the Sydney design centre, facing on to Bridge Street.
A display of products designed and made in Australia. The panels in the background show some of the disciplines and sources of inspiration in design.
Examples of the Good Design label. The one on the right shows the label translated into Spanish for use by exhibitors at last year's Pacific International Trade Fair in Peru.
The Essington Lewis Award, designed by Stuart Devlin, is given in recognition of those responsible for raising design standards in Australia. It will remain the highest award given by the council.