Sustainable Design

Sustainable design is changing the world, through innovative new products and projects that protect our environment, reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, reduce waste, minimise energy and water consumption, and create healthy environments.

This category seeks to award one outstanding Australian sustainable design project, completed by either an individual, group or organisation. Any project which is exemplary of sustainable innovation is eligible, including, but not limited to, architectural projects, industrial design projects, functional products, furniture and lighting.


One winner in the Sustainable Design category will be awarded a $2000 cash prize. Up to two commendations will also be awarded.

The Sustainable Design category will accept submissions for products / structures that have been developed in the past three years. Ie projects created anytime between January 1st 2016 and April 14th 2019 are eligible in this category.

Applications will be shortlisted by The Design Files team. Shortlisted entries will be assessed by three expert judges, on the following criteria :

Fulfilment of the client brief / project objective

Originality – something we haven’t seen before, something invented from scratch.

Visual Appeal – beauty, boldness, aesthetic appeal.

Function – how well does the product / space identify and provide solutions for the desired functional outcomes?

Sustainability – how well does this project contribute to positive environmental outcomes, with specific consideration of the environmental impact of the manufacturing process, management and reduction of waste, water and energy consumption?

Visionary thinking – does this project push boundaries, does it achieve something bigger than the intended commercial outcomes?

Bonus points will be awarded to projects with pro bono or community focussed outcomes, and/or projects limited by an unusually tiny budget.

The Sustainable Design Award is sponsored by Mercedes me Store Melbourne
Trias, Three Peice House

Designed for a downsizing, retiring couple this modest two-bedroom home and studio balances its compact footprint with height, light, and volume. Since the site is exposed to coastal weather, the materiality of the home is robust and resilient.

Sustainable Design
Sophie Gandar, Milou Milou

An alternative to fast-fashion, this vibrant though minimalist bedlinen is fully custom (colours/sizes). It is created from durable 100% flax linen, much of which is ‘dead stock’ over-ordered by global corporate fashion brands.

Sustainable Design
Contain Design Studio & Swear Words, Milk In Glass

Bringing back the returnable 1L glass bottles of the past, this crowdfunded design encourages “drink, return, refill, repeat”. Ergonomic in form, it features an FSC recycled paper collar and incorporates brand glass mould of the dairy’s logo.

Sustainable Design
The Better Packaging Co., comPOST Packs

A sustainable yet fit-for-purpose courier satchel. Certified home-compostable as well as being partly made from renewable plants, the design, in seven sizes, is distinguishable in bold, opaque black.

Sustainable Design
NRN Architects, Walkerville POD House

Two existing prefab pod structures have been ‘stitched together via a new link’ to create a comfortable holiday home that maximises rainwater collection, solar energy generation, access to natural light and garden space.

Sustainable Design
Seljak Brand, Closed Loop Merino Blanket

A closed loop, recycled merino wool blanket made from off-cut materials bound for landfill, which is also recyclable at the end of its life. They are made at Australia’s oldest and last fully-integrated wool mill.

Sustainable Design
Champ Design, Puzzle Placemats

This interactive tableware is manufactured in Melbourne from recycled tyres and new durable rubber, using low-emission techniques. Practical yet playful, the designs protect and prolong the life of surfaces.

Sustainable Design
Beetbox, Glass Lunch Bowl

This reusable and 100% recyclable bold three-piece design features strong tempered glass yet is featherlight, and a unique membrane seal (air/liquid-tight). It fosters pack-a-lunch culture, minimising waste and improving user health.

Sustainable Design
Seed & Sprout Co., Fresh Food Storage Bundle

Everything you need to eliminate plastic from your fridge and freezer, all the while keeping food more fresh. This storage bundle of silicon solutions is toxic-free and air-tight.

Sustainable Design
Carter Williamson Architects, GRID Education

Created as part of a school STEM program, this prefabricated, modular, sustainable housing solution is highly adaptable, suitable for residential or commercial applications to disaster zone deployment.

Sustainable Design
Candice Choma, Eyre Cup

A utilitarian “eco-preneurial” response to throw-away culture, particularly at festivals, this collapsible cup is made from soft food-grade silicon and featured a handy D loop for attachment.

Sustainable Design
Jeremy McLeod

Jeremy McLeod is the founding director of Breathe Architecture, and is the visionary founder of Nightingale Housing, a not-for-profit organisation focussed on delivering sustainable, design-led, community-centred housing. Breathe Architecture’s Nightingale 1 took out the built environment category at the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards in 2017, and won the Sustainability, Multi Residential and prestigious Melbourne award at the 2018 Victorian Architecture Awards.

Abigail Forsyth

Abigail Forsyth is a leader in the global campaign to promote sustainability. As the co-founder and managing director of KeepCup, Abigail is passionate about improving the take-up of sustainable alternatives to disposable and single use items. Since June 2009 over eight million KeepCups have been sold and users have diverted billions of disposable cups from landfill.  In this time approximately 5 trillion disposable cups have been made and discarded to landfill.