INDEX: Award 2013 Winners

We headed to Copenhagen to attend the INDEX: Award 2013 show where they focus on recognizing “Design to Improve Life”. INDEX received over 1,000 designs from 73 countries and the reputable jury of leading design thinkers from around the world had the task of narrowing the pool down to 59 finalists. From there, 5 deserving winners (see below!) were chosen and revealed during a really unique award show that was a cross between a live news program and a theater production. With Danish news anchor, Steffen Kretz, at the mic and 1,500 guests including HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark (and me!), the winners were unveiled amongst sound effects and a roomful of excitement.


The winners with the award presenters


Photo courtesy of INDEX

A Tesla, an INDEX: Award 2007 winner, was driven in right beside me (that’s me right behind the emcee!) proving that INDEX designs are viable and market-worthy.


The first of the five finalists (in no particular order) is Raspberry Pi, a PC that fits in the palm of your hand and gives people around the world access to computers. Computer scientists at the University of Cambridge, led by Eben Upton, noticed a decline in the number and skill level of students every year applying to study this field. At the cost of $25 per unit, Raspberry Pi is highly affordable and the hope is that it will encourage young people to rediscover Computer Science as a future career.



From Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde comes Smart Highway who believes that roads should communicate with drivers in hopes of becoming more safe and efficient as far as traffic goes. Over the last several decades, much research and money has gone into developing smarter cars but the same can’t be said for our roads, so Roosegaarde aims to change that with Smart Highway. The five-step plan involves modernizing European roads by embedding technology to visually communicate with the car and its driver by telling you when the road is slippery or charging your electric car while you drive.

“The goal is to make roads more sustainable and interactive by using light, energy and road signs that automatically adapt to the traffic situation.”




If you think about how much food goes to waste and how that food could have fed people in need, it’s mind-blowing. Kavita Shukla took an old family remedy and came up with FreshPaper, by Fenugreen, a simple sheet of paper infused with organic spices that keeps produce fresh for 2 – 4x longer. FreshPaper inhibits bacterial and fungal growth on fruits and vegetables which not only will help everyday people with spoilage, but in the hands of farmers, the product could extend the food supply for the globe.




The Danish capital of Denmark won for their Climate Adaptation Plan that offers solutions to the climate changes with one master plan. The city of Copenhagen will benefit from taking action now to become a climate-proof city with three key levels of adaptation that include: minimizing potential damage that comes up due to climate change, warning and response systems, and a preventative infrastructure to help cope with damage, loss, and traffic disruptions.




Last, but not least, The Natalie Collection won for their trio of solutions that’s designed to reduce child and maternal death. Developed by Norwegian company Laerdal Global Health, The Natalie Collection is a set of durable and affordable products that help train midwives and birth attendants with necessary life-saving skills.



Watch the 60-minute ceremony:

Photos courtesy of INDEX: Design to Improve Life, except for the first two.

Our trip to Copenhagen was generously provided by INDEX: Design to Improve Life.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.