• Sarah-Jane Kavanagh

What Makes a Design Influencer?

The Influencer category at the 2019 INDE.Awards highlights how progressive design can make the world a better place through a focus on people’s needs. Here we present three influential projects distinct in purpose and their concept, with demonstrable real outcomes as a result of their design.

Bima Microlibrary / SHAU Bandung , © Sanrok Studio


The concept of Microlibraries were initiated by architecture and urbanism practice SHAU in 2015 in Bandung, Indonesia. The INDE.Awards 2018 Jury described it as a project that “brings imagination and innovation to a crucial educational challenge.”

SHAU envisions the concept as a design laboratory for testing ideas around community, sustainability, typology, materiality, construction, and small-scale building. The scope of each project stretches beyond that of a typical design consultant, including conceptualisation and realisation, as well as securing project funding, sites, and other city administration requirements.

Century of Light

Conceived by FARM for the National Gallery of Singapore in 2017, the aim of Century of Light was to challenge the normal way we perceive art when in an art gallery. It asks us to appreciate the space itself, rather than just the artworks.

Consisting of a quasi-exhibition behind an exhibition, the project uses colour and geometry to make the gallery itself a center-point as worthy of attention as the contents themselves.

FARM said that exhibition design treads a fine line between designing for space and allowing space for the art itself to breathe. By employing arches to frame and re-frame key artworks and guide visitors’ orientation, they aim to add an additional layer of quality and ambience of the space.


Initiated by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, MPavilion is a temporary pavilion structure aiming to encourage design debate and cultural exchange. MPavilion by OMA Australia took up residence in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens during the summer of 2017-2018 as a design and cultural laboratory. During this time it played host to a series of talks, performances, workshops and installations.

The overall brief was to create an architectural space that incorporated the highest levels of design thinking, experimentation, innovation, and engagement for Melbourne and its citizens.

The installation acted as the centerpiece of a free public program of cultural activities and events, stimulating tourism in the Melbourne area. Following its success, it was gifted to the people of Melbourne as relocated to a permanent site.

The MPavilion commission was a thought-leadership initiative that demonstrated a capacity for risk-taking and experimental, innovative design and architecture.

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