IAUD International Design Award 2019 Presentation / Awards Ceremony was successfully held on December 18, 2019 (Wednesday). We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone.
Dr. Roger Coleman, Chair of the IAUD International Design Awards Jury Panel offered the message by sound-recording.
Minasama, konnichiwa. My name is Roger Coleman. I am an emeritus professor of the Royal College of Art in London and Chair of the IAUD International Design Awards Jury Panel.
The Awards program was initiated nine years ago to raise awareness of Universal or Inclusive Design, and to showcase best practice examples. Since then, I and the international jury have been both delighted and encouraged as each year award-winning entries have demonstrated the success of this project. The driving force behind this success is the belief that thoughtful design can lead to an inclusive and mutually supportive society. This was the vision and conviction of His Royal Highness Prince Tomohito, who alas is no longer with us, and it now falls to IAUD, the organization he created to spearhead that initiative, to continue that work.
Prince Tomohito was not alone in his vision for the future. It was echoed by other initiatives, in particular in Europe and the United States, that reflected local cultures and political realities, and has since grown into a world-wide network of shared values and goals. Over the years we have come to realize that to have global relevance Universal Design needs to look beyond those founding, local initiatives, which are represented by the members of the Design Awards Jury, without losing its diverse cultural origins, and act as a bridge between local and global action and relevance.
For that reason the Jury decided it was time to raise the bar by setting a series of challenges to all participants and asking them to push the boundaries of Design for All and Human-Centered Design in new and exciting directions and to think beyond and outside the seven principles of Universal Design. Inclusive design offers us a way to do just this because there are no boundaries to inclusive design. However careful we are to research, understand and consult with diverse users, there will always be people who are excluded or marginalized by whatever we design.
There is no truly ‘universal’ design solution, and there are good reasons for this, especially if we think beyond the conventional idea of ‘end users’ and broaden this to include all the potential stakeholders in any design solution. And by stakeholders I mean not simply all the people who it may include or exclude, but the other living beings with whom we share this small planet and on whose well-being we, and importantly, future generations depend. Seen in this light a highly accessible transport system that satisfies all the seven principals of UD may still contribute to global warming and destroy crucial habitats. Every design and innovation comes at a cost, and currently we have no way of accounting for the negative consequences of the innovations that feed the continually expanding production and consumption of the worlds ‘developed’ nations.
During the last 30 years, which have seen the successful advance of the ideas of universal and inclusive design for all, the global threats and challenges that we face have grown and multiplied, not least of which are the natural disasters driven by global warming and climate instability. As our younger generations are now and will continue to warn us, there is no planet ‘B’. And as Akiko Yamanaka-san eloquently pointed out in her keynote address to the 2019 IAUD international Conference in Bangkok earlier this year, in order to confront the challenges that we face in building safer societies we need to ensure social resilience, address common interests and establish an age of balance. Which takes us full circle to Prince Tomohito’s vision of a caring, considerate and mutually supportive society delivered through universal design solutions to the needs and aspirations of present and future generations. To ensure the wellbeing of future generations we must ensure the future wellbeing of the biosphere – the fragile surface layer of this world that we share with all living things – and its vulnerable ecosystems, which support life in all its diversity. Designing and creating a future world that respects, preserves and protects all those mutually dependent stakeholders presents us with a huge but exciting challenge that will require all our creativity and invention and all our capabilities in research and knowledge-building to confront.
This year, in our three Grand Award winners we have some pointers to that future: a highly accessible passenger ship that allows people of all ages and abilities access to the untouched nature of the Norwegian Fjords with minimal environmental impact; a consortium of companies working together to ensure seamless and universal access to safety information and public announcements for people from around the world visiting Japan for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics; and an inspiring new approach to corporate social responsibility with a major company deploying its unique expertise to develop a truly inclusive and shared sound experience, building bridges between diverse communities.
As someone involved in these developments since their early beginnings I am thrilled by the progress made in recent years, inspired by the IAUD International Design Awards, and privileged to see each year’s new crop of entries. This year there is no doubt that the bar has been raised, but I hope this is only the beginning of a new adventure in Universal Design. We have so much to do and so little time in which to do it.
Congratulations and best wishes to all this year’s contestants and award winners.