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NEW YORK, September 4, 2009. The winner of the 2008–2009 INDEX: | AIGA Aspen Design Challenge, “Designing Water’s Future,” is Joanna Szczepanska from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, selected for her urban gardening design, VeggiePatch.
As the winner of the worldwide student design competition to address
the global water crisis, Szczepanska received the $10,000 prize, which
was presented to her last week at the CODE09 design fair in Copenhagen.
In May 2008, INDEX: and AIGA posed a challenge to students around the
world, asking them to address the world’s water crisis. More than 450
students from 28 countries answered the challenge, and in March 2009
seven finalists were chosen by an international jury.
In June 2009, the finalists met with experts
in design, branding, communications and business in Aspen, Colorado, to
refine their projects, strengthen the focus of their presentations and
develop business plans in preparation for Copenhagen.
On August 25–26, 2009, the finalists met again in Copenhagen for a
workshop with social investors, venture capitalists and business leaders
to seek sustainable economic and logistical support. And on August 28,
Joanna Szczepanska was awarded the INDEX: | AIGA Aspen Design Challenge Prize, a grant sponsored by the JL Foundation for implementation of her project.
VeggiePatch is an edible garden for urban landscapes, allowing
people living in the city to cultivate food in a restricted space. The
design addresses the issues of water waste, packaging and food miles—the
environmental impact of food traveling from source to table—and has
features that make it interesting to those concerned about the climate:
Joanna Szczepanska accepting the Aspen Design Challenge Prize
Joanna Szczepanska explained that her work was inspired by the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. The VeggiePatch
is simple to produce and can be produced by anyone in any part of the
world. “The plan is to start producing them in Melbourne. I am going to
do one more prototype and then we will start,” said Szczepanska, 25, who
is moving from Australia to Antwerp, Belgium, this fall to pursue a
master’s degree in Man and Humanity at the Design Academy. “I have
learned so much from participation in the Challenge. The design experts
and business people that have worked with us really helped me refine my
The Aspen Design Challenge is a joint project developed by AIGA and
INDEX: with the purpose of engaging the millennial generation in solving
an emerging set of global issues. The idea for “Designing Water’s
Future” grew out of discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, led by Brian Collins, chairman of Collins:, New York-based
communications and design firm, and journalist J. Carl Ganter,
co-founder of Circle of Blue, the international network of leading
journalists, scientists and communications designers that reports the
global fresh water crisis. www.aspendesignchallenge.org
INDEX: is a nonprofit organization based in Copenhagen that
focuses on design to improve life worldwide. INDEX: works through a
global network to ensure access to the best knowledge on design and the
cutting edge of contemporary thinking. The network consists of
designers, businesses, organizations and design institutions that
collaborate in disseminating and applying the latest knowledge in the
field of “Design to Improve Life.” www.indexaward.dk
Circle of Blue is the international network of leading
journalists, scientists and communications designers that reports and
presents the information necessary to respond to the global freshwater
crisis. Circle of Blue is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and
is a nonprofit affiliate of the internationally recognized water,
climate and policy think tank, the Pacific Institute. Circle of Blue
also publishes WaterNews, the daily go-to source for global water news
and data. www.circleofblue.org
COLLINS: is an innovation-led communication and design firm
dedicated to inventing branded experiences and digital interactions that
shape both companies and people for the better. www.COLLINS1.com
AIGA, the professional association for design, is the premier place
for design—to discover it, discuss it, understand it, appreciate it, be
inspired by it.
AIGA’s mission is to advance designing as a professional craft,
strategic tool and vital cultural force. AIGA stimulates thinking about
design through journals, conferences, competitions and exhibitions;
demonstrates the value of design to business, the public and government
officials; and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their
careers by providing invaluable educational and social resources.
Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional
membership organization for design. AIGA now represents more than 22,000
design professionals, educators and students through national
activities and local programs developed by 64 chapters and 240 student
groups. AIGA is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational institution.
For further information, please contact: Jennifer Bender
Manager, communications and marketing
AIGA | the professional association for design
Tel 212 807 1990 Fax 212 807 1799
AIGA’s chapters allow our members to form powerful social and
professional bonds through conferences, competitions, lectures and
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AIGA’s 15-member board is elected by the entire professional membership
and plays a crucial role in determining the mission of AIGA.
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