VIVID 2013, curator Scott Lewis on design talent in Australia

VIVID is Australia’s longest running design competition and innovation showcase for new and emerging designers. Vivid was born 11 years ago out of the desire to create a platform for emerging designers to showcase and support their vocation and talent. It has progressed to link in with the London Design festival and is gearing up to align manufacturers with the designers for the first time. It is the only forum that is trying to develop career strategies here and offshore.

Curator Scott Lewis tells us about the competition, its aims, what happens and the importance of sustainable design.

What are the Awards on offer at VIVID?

  1. Vivid Commercial Award – for the best new release designed for production by one or a team of professional furniture designers from Australia or overseas and in business less than 5 years
  2. Vivid Concept Award – for the best new prototype designed by one or a team of professional furniture designers from Australia or overseas and in business less than 5 years
  3. Vivid Student Award – for the best new product designed by a current or graduate student of a recognised tertiary design course
  4. Vivid Green Award – for the best new product across all selected entries employing the highest ecologically sustainable design, materials, manufacture and value principles

The Best Commercial, Concept and Student awards are self explanatory.

 Green Category – All of those categories can win the green award based on sustainable materials and measured methodologies used. Designers are increasingly aware of green Star points for any commercial project and are altering designs to reflect this. Innovative use of materials continue to impress and new technologies are increasingly bringing designers to realise green practice not greenwash.

It may be of particular interest to our readers, that sustainable design principles  apply across the entire competition – can you explain the criteria here and the goal of applying this to the competition?

As above. The most recent winner of the green award was introduced to his supplier via our platform and he was sent to ICFF – NYC recently. These connections are invaluable to assist young designers connect with suppliers and ultimately the market here and overseas. Green is not just for branding. It is about producing clear outcomes limiting the carbon footprint.  Sustainable product is about longevity and therefore must have a timelessness. Fads come and go. Function and form can either be enhanced or not, either through design and/or material and technological developments.

Do you think we will move to all or most new design within furniture and home interiors having a sustainable process? Or do you think this is tricky to achieve?

The Sustainable paradigm is constantly evolving. It is a concerted effort for each part of the supply chain to provide clear outcomes and guidelines maintaining “green process”. Business knows this and it is evolving as new skill-sets and sustainable values as “we” desire a moral benchmark.

Can you tell us about a couple of the designers who have registered for the competition who you are particularly excited about

Ash Allen – for his continuing design brilliance. He innate ability to design simply and timelessly and compliments it with such strong sustainable output. Adam Cruickshank has never shown in Melbourne and he is genuinely talented.  Jack Flanagan, Callum Campbell are two Central graduates who are also well on the way. Tate Anson is launching his latest signature light. There are plenty of emerging designers to view and each has their own story.

Sticks and Stones, Ash Allen

Sticks and Stones, Ash Allen


As a Designer yourself do you have any favourite styles or sources of inspiration and what do you do in your “day job”?

As a designer I favour minimalist works such as Jasper Morrison and John Pawson. I am also inspired by Scandinavian design from the 40’s and onwards. I have been painting 2d rather than 3d of recent times. Australian designers insipre me.  Charles Wilson, Ross Didier, Adam Goodrum, Ross Gardem and Helen Kontouris only ever produce beautiful work. I am lucky to know these guys and even luckier to mentor some of the emerging guys coming through. I know what it was like to live off $50 a week..and any help I can give, or make any connections to further a career, I will do it. Australia has enormous talent. There are disconnects in the sector from the media to the manufacturing sector however. It is my goal to build some bridges. The talent exists, it is about finding suitable pathways now.


VIVID 2013 Curator Scott Lewis

How are the winners going to be judged?

There is a criteria based on many variables with sustainable practice a central tenet.  5 Judges will be viewing and assessing from the 4 categories.

  • Commercial – market ready
  • Concept – strong idea that could easily be developed.
  • Student – Best Student prototype
  • Green – Overarching decision based on the above awards.

Innovation – innovation in design, manufacture, usage, overall value of product ______________________________ 10 points

 Materials – material choice of product considering application, origin, durability and life cycle __________________ 10 points

 Standard and finish – manufacturing standard and quality of finish_________________________________________ 10 points

 Commercial viability – market potential and commercial viability____________________________________________ 10 points

 THE EDGE – originality and wow factor______________________________________________ 10 points

Sustainability (Green Award) – application of ecologically sustainable design practices*_______________________ 10 points


VIVID is part of the wider Furnitex event alongside Design and Decoration, featuring Design, Made, Trade – there is a lot happening! What are you looking forward to the most about these four days?

Seeing Design Made Trade designers and Vivid designers enjoy the exploration of their products and also just to have fun with the process and each other. Design should not really be taken too seriously. There really is some exceptional talent this year and I am excited to see what the design community think of our talent.

Vivid 2012 2

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