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international organisation that wants to spark awareness and debate on the great importance and potential of design. INDEX: wants to inspire the creation of new designs that improve the lives of many people around the world.
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Examples of Designs to improve life

The definition of what improves life varies depending on geographical, cultural and economic background. INDEX: does not, therefore, stipulate any formal definition. Instead, we seek to encourage global debate on what improves life.

Many improvements are not only positive and often have drawbacks. Others may be perceived as beneficial in some parts of the world but as negative in others. For this reason, INDEX: asks that all nominations, in addition to describing the benefits of the design, also describe any known disadvantages.

The examples presented below are just a few of the solutions to improve life created by designers worldwide in collaboration with economists, private companies and other professionals. New kinds of housing, new workplaces, new means of transport and better communications are being developed. This is the kind of design that INDEX: embraces.


A 3,000-m2 public plaza is to be built on the roof of the Magasin department store in Copenhagen. The plaza is elegantly designed by Plot. But more importantly, it is an example of how major cities worldwide can provide public recreational spaces. Plot’s solution is simple: to create public spaces in disused areas at rooftop level.


In developing countries, women often have to walk long distances to fetch household water. With the Hippo Roller, up to 90 litres of water can effortlessly be transported over large distances. An added benefit is that the Hippo Roller has also brought social change to villages since fetching water has become more appealing to young men. The Hippo Roller is produced by Imvubu.


The designer Michael Rakowitz has designed a temporary shelter for the homeless in the form of an inflatable plastic igloo that utilizes surplus heat from the city’s air ventilation shafts to inflate the shelter and keep it warm.


A-POC is a new and unique kind of fabric made by a computerised knitting and weaving machine that produces tube-shaped fabrics with varied patterns. Consumers simply cut them to size to create customised garments to individual fit. Not only does this reduce wastage, it allows consumers to become a part of the design process. With A-POC, two apparently irreconcilable concepts – customised clothing and mass-produced clothing – are united for the first time ever.


The awesomely designed Ice Hotel is located just outside Kiruna in Sweden. It is erected every year when winter sets in and has succeeded in securing enough exciting workplaces in the region to discourage young people from migrating to bigger cities.


Ford’s latest concept car reacts with simulated signs of emotion to dangers in the traffic. If hazardous situations occur, panels all over the car will glow vibrantly to warn the driver as well as other motorists.


In Nepal, wireless Internet technology has been introduced allowing farmers to keep in contact with their families, to exchange advice on cattle diseases as well as trade their cattle while herding in remote locations that offer no access to telecommunications. The project is headed by Mahabir Pun.


The Arlington Institute has been commissioned by the US Defence Department to set up recommendations on how America could become less dependent on oil and subsequently not have to defend its global oil interests militarily. The recommendations are complex, yet one simply states that if every car in the US were to drive an additional 4 kilometres per US gallon, America would no longer be dependent on oil imports. Meeting this recommendation is, no doubt, far easier than resorting to armed conflict.


Every day, 6,000 people die worldwide as a result of contaminated water. Water can be purified by boiling or distilling it. Dean Kamen has developed a closed system that utilises any accessible energy source to boil the water. The energy released when steam turns to liquid water is recycled. The process of purifying water thus becomes a way of generating electricity, which once again can be used to boil contaminated water.

They supported INDEX: 2005


INDEX: 2005 partners were government institutions, private companies and foundations that support INDEX: 2005 financially and with services. Our partners were an integrated part of the development of INDEX: 2005
Without them, INDEX: 2005 would not have existed.

About INDEX: 2005 partners

Danish Design Year


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