Three cheers for great design!

UBC grads go on to do very cool things. That’s the thought that keeps coming to mind as I look through the finalist entries for the Index Awards People Choice Award, an award aimed at celebrating design that improves life.

Funded by Denmark, the Index Awards is the biggest design award in the world, with an award sum of 500,000 Euros divided between the categories of Body, Home, Work, Play and Community. You get a strong sense from the award website that this is a project not simply about the entries involved, but about creating a space to converse about the role of design in a broad sense, and as the CEO of Index puts it,  “to inspire, collect, advocate, communicate, evaluate, connect and discuss Design to Improve Life globally”.

Which is not to say that the designs themselves aren’t impressive. Prepare to be amazed when you visit the contest site here– the designs are bold and exciting, and an inspiring tribute to how wonderful designers have applied their talents to improving everyday life. So many of the entries are ingenious solutions to problems that I’ve never thought about before, and I’ve come away from the project with a new understanding of the possibilities that exist within the realm of great design.

Back to UBC grads doing awesome things: one of the finalists for the 2009 Awards Home Category is Eco Drain, a company of UBC alum David Velan.

To check out EcoDrain and the other fabulous finalists, visit the award site, and participate by voting for your favourite designs. Voting closes on August 27th 2009.

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Shagufta is a UBC Political Science graduate with a passion for interdisciplinary thinking, writing, travel, reading, tea, and interesting conversations. She hopes to combine all of these things in her life work someday. For now though, she studies social policy and planning at the University of Toronto and shares her adventures in and out of the classroom at