The INDEX: Award 2009 Exhibition opened last week at architect Toyo Ito's VivoCity in Singapore, following its three-week display in Seoul, Korea, where it was seen by more than 2.9 million people at Jamsil Stadium. The exhibition shows 69 finalist-designs for INDEX:Award 2009, including the five winners of the 500,000-euro award and extensive documentation. INDEX: Design to Improve Life, is Denmark’s humanitarian outreach, a program established by the Danish government in 2002 to take the traditions of humanism framed in Danish design into new, global arenas where world challenges can be addressed by “design thinking,” as the process is called. Singapore, through the offices of its Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts (MICA) has become the founding Partner City of INDEX:, a world-leading distinction that heralds Singapore’s commitment to applying the humane and life-building principles of Design to Improve Life. INDEX: CEO Ms. Kigge Hvid, who will be at the special Singapore opening of the exhibition said, ”We are thrilled by the co-operation between Singapore and INDEX: as we very much admire the design development in Singapore. The collaboration has proved to be of mutual benefit, and I believe it has moved both DesignSingapore and INDEX: forward toward meeting our objectives.” The exhibition is the division of design initiatives into the five categories of daily life for most people: body, home, work, play and community. Among specific designs on display in the exhibition in Singapore are the winners of the coveted INDEX:Award 2009. • In the body category, the INDEX:Award 2009 has been given to the Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor created by Freeplay Energy of Cape Town, South Africa. The monitor is a life-saving device made to function “off-grid,” where there’s no electricity, to support child deliveries in rural settings far from sophisticated medical care for mother and child. • In the home category, the Award is held by the Chulha, a team-generated response of Philips Design of Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to the indoor pollution crisis brought about by rural cultures’ traditions of cooking inside. The Chulha is a stove designed to limit the dangerous health conditions caused by those traditions – and its manufacturing specifications are made available by Philips to local entrepreneurs in order to generate not only higher health standards but also local economic boosts. • In the work category, the INDEX:Award honor has gone to Kiva.org of San Francisco, California, USA, the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website. It empowers people to lend directly to unique, small entrepreneurs in many parts of the world. Kiva. org has recently passed a new landmark, generating more than $100 million in loans to developing-world entrepreneurs -- micro-finance loans made by some 500,000 online participants, most of whom make loans of $25 at a time. • In the play category, the INDEX: Jury has given its first nod to a communications award, commending designer Christien Meindertsma for PIG 05049, which tracks the 185 products made from a single pig. Christien Meindertsma’s design – three years in the making – was chosen by the INDEX: Jury because it establishes a new awareness, particularly useful for young audiences, of what contributes to our world and lives. The design includes a book, PIG 05049, which charts and pictures each of the products produced from (parts of) the animal, from predictable foodstuffs – pork chops and bacon – to surprising product areas including ammunition, train brakes, automobile paint, washing powder, fine bone china and cigarettes. • And in the Communication category, the INDEX:Award 2009 goes to the Better Place electrical car infrastructure program, an ambitious large-scale systemic design focused on the effort to move motorists, the automotive industry and energy-distribution past the internal-combustion engine. Elements of the Better Place system include hundreds of thousands of plug-in charge-spots; switching stations for mechanized exchange of batteries; an advanced computing platform; energy-demand management capabilities for utility companies; and support of automakers that accommodate the battery-switch mechanism.
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