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Announcing IDEA’s new Sustainability Award Criteria for 2024

Announcing IDEA’s new Sustainability Award Criteria for 2024


Over the past two months, the Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) team has been working strategically behind the scenes to refine the criteria for some of the categories. The new criteria for the Sustainability Award represent a direct response to the fact that sustainable design is about far more than materials alone. 

IDEA is, as the name states, about excellence. What excellence means and how it’s defined is often a grey area. This is especially true within the context of the design industry, where aesthetic style, tastes and preferences are never absolute, and often intangible. 

As the champions of Australian design excellence, we at ADR and IDEA pride ourselves on ensuring that everything we do stands up to the rigours of this dynamic industry. For this reason, when reconsidering the Sustainability Award criteria, we knew we had to seek expert guidance to ensure that the criteria themselves stay up to date. 

Marie Reay Teaching Centre, ANU by BVN, winner of the Sustainability Award 2020. Photographer, John Gollings

We are honoured to have worked closely with Michael Alvisse, one of Australia’s leading voices of sustainable design, and IDEA 2024 Sustainability judge. Sydney-based Alvisse is a pioneer of sustainable design, an entrepreneur and educator. As co-founder of award winning design studio Schamburg+Alvisse, and within his role as Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney in the faculty of design, architecture, and building, Alvisse has contributed a tremendous amount to the evolution of sustainable design practice. 

With Alvisse’s guidance we have been able to distil the criteria into three three central pillars  — health and wellbeing, sustainable consumption and innovation. Embedded within the refined criteria is a greater degree of focus on holistic, human-centric design with measurable outcomes. 

Ultimately, the new criteria highlight the urgent need for designers to not only recognise and address the impact they have on the planet, but to design with rigiour and innovative intent free of prevarication. 

La Trobe University North and South Apartments, by Jackson Clements Burrows, winner of the Sustainability Award 2021. Photographers, Peter Clarke and John Gollings


The Sustainability Award will be presented to the submission deemed to demonstrate and possess the most holistic response to the challenges of designing sustainably and succeed, as completely as possible, in meeting the objectives of the following three goals:


The project:

• Promotes health and wellbeing for everyone impacted by the project 

• Emphasises whole-of-life performance: production, serviceable life and after-life, and

• Effectively uses materials and processes that are free from harmful nasties.


The project:

• Is built to last. Built for easy repair. Built for easy repurposing and recycling

• Effectively uses climate-positive materials and processes, and

• Supports a regenerative circular economy.


• The project delivers innovation in achieving goals 1 and 2.

The Sustainability Award is open to projects across multiple typologies, including but not limited to: interior design, public and community spaces, and product design.

In addition to these qualities, the judges will be looking carefully and critically at the submission to determine the degree to which it authentically centres both humans and the environment at its nexus. 

Submissions that include proven, measurable evidence of delivering on the intended sustainability objectives across the above qualities, will be well regarded. 

Wardle won the Sustainability Award in 2023 for their design of the Bendigo Law Courts in Victoria. Photographer, Tim Griffith

Lead image: Hütt 01: Passive House designed by Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) with styling by Belle Hemming, winner of the Sustainability Award in 2022. Photographer, Marnie Hawson.

Check out the winning project from 2023, Wardle’s design of the Bendigo Law Courts in Victoria 

Check out the full submission criteria and enter your project


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