11 RMIT projects nominated in the Victorian Premier's Design Award

11 RMIT projects nominated in the Victorian Premier's Design Award

A First Nations led Statement of Commitment, an app using sound to explore historical Fitzroy sites, and a board game raising awareness for human gut health are just some of the projects nominated for the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards this year.

We asked nominees about their projects, and what it would mean to win at this year’s prestigious award ceremony. 

Jacky Winter Statement of Commitment

By Emrhan Tjapanangka Sultan, Coree Thorpe and Nicola St John

In 2020, the Jacky Winter Group commissioned the development of a First Nations led Statement of Commitment, to confront ingrained racism and privilege within the commercial design landscape and develop a set of actionable, useful, and respectful steps towards creating meaningful opportunities for First Nations artists.

The Statement, which is the first of its kind for the design industry, was developed in the wake of Black Lives Matter. Having no First Nations representation, the Jacky Winter Group (JWG) committed to change how they do business.

The JWG collaborated with cultural consultant Emrhan Tjapanangka Sultan, from Western Arrarnta, Luritja and Kokatha nations, design researcher Nicola St John from RMIT, and First Nations community members in Melbourne and Victoria.

“It’s fundamental for businesses to put words into action and not just have a special document to ‘tick a box’, and the Jacky Winter Group have proven they have the ability to maintain their commitment by putting their words into actions,” Sultan said.

Read more.


Digestive Tumble and Gooey Gut Trail

By Dr Rohit Ashok Khot

Digestive Tumble is an innovative system that represents the functioning of the human digestive system. Through nine interlocking modules, the system provides information about digestion of different foods to help users in making make informed decisions about their dietary choices.

Read more

Gooey Gut Trail is a board game designed to raise awareness on factors that influence human gut health. The game introduces players to real-world scenarios and activities that influence gut bacteria through the design of the game components such as card decks, meeples, factor tokens and the game board. 

Read more.

Khot said it was a "great gesture" to be recognised for his "multidisciplinary work that brings the scientific elements of digestion and nutrition together with creative capacities of interactive design."

"It might also encourage more creative playful ideas for digital health topics in the future,” he said.


Locus Amoenus

By John Power

Locus Amoenus (Place of Delight) is a generative ambient audio-visual installation in a public lounge in the ground floor of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC). The installation fosters calm, focus, attention restoration, and public place making in a hospital lounge.

The large screen component depicts a naturalistic landscape that is sometimes roving, sometimes resting, and perpetually animated. 

Power said he is "thrilled to be included as a finalist in the awards, and to be in such excellent company among the innovative and imaginative designers in Victoria."

"I'm also pleased that the innovation in Locus Amoenus, which takes a different attentional approach to large public screens, has been recognised as having value. This is a real boost for me to continue to develop the research,” Power said.

Read more.



By Chris Barker, Kate Cawley and Max Piantoni

Yalinguth means ‘yesterday’ in Woi Wurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri People. It’s also an app that uses sound-based augmented reality to take you on a journey through historical sites in Fitzroy.

The app shows you where to find stories, songs and poems told by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. By focussing on sound, the app encourages you to connect with the places you see around you. 

“Yalinguth offers a unique way to imbed stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People into the land itself and opens doors to reconciliation that we can walk ourselves, in our own time, following our own paths,” Barker said.

Read more

The free Yalinguth app can be downloaded from the Apple store and Google Play and requires headphones.


64 Ways of Being

By Troy Innocent

64 Ways of Being is an urban adventure that brings Melbourne’s laneways, streets, parks and rivers to life via mixed reality – to create a conversation with the city about its past, present and future.

Drawing on Indigenous knowledge and Melbourne’s multicultural communities, the project embeds location-specific participatory artworks - ways of being - throughout the city, prompting players to reimagine the world through urban play.

Innocent said he would love to "take the project to other locations across Melbourne and beyond – remapping place collectively with diverse communities and knowledge systems."

Watch a short video explainer.

The free 64 Ways of Being app can be downloaded from the Apple store and Google Play and requires headphones and a full mobile phone battery.


Tactile Tools Co-design Method

By Dr Leah Heiss and Dr Marius Foley

The Tactile Tools is a co-design method that brings together diverse groups of people to solve complex problems, iteratively and collaboratively.

The method has been used by over 300 people and has enabled interdisciplinary teams to collaboratively evolve models of care for scenarios including: cancer care, voluntary assisted dying, acquired brain injury, low birth weight, end of life experience and eating disorders.

“Having the recognition of the Premier's Design Award, as well as the recent Gold Tick Award from Good Design Australia, validates the co-design method used to engage disparate participants to bring new ideas and existing knowledge together,” Dr Foley said.

Read more.

Tactile-banner copy 2.jpg

LUNA Modular AFO 

By Aaron Nyugen

Inspired by two relatives who suffer from Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, the 2021 James Dyson Award nominee, Aaron Nguyen, has been nominated for his invention, the LUNA AFO MODULAR.

An ankle-foot orthosis known as an AFO is used by sufferers of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, who have difficulty walking due to impairments in their lower limbs.

Nyugen challenged the traditional AFO with his creation of the LUNA Modular AFO, by designing it to be modular, which enables the users to grow with the AFO, rather than the user growing out of it like a traditional AFO. 

Read more.

The Luna Modular AFO Image credit: Aaron Nguyen

H2 Snow

By Tim Lutton

 What started as a high school project, developed into a university research challenge years later for RMIT graduate Tim Lutton. 

Whilst in high school, Lutton’s friend, injured himself on a mountain while completing a backcountry ski. This got Lutton thinking about how vital it is to have access to water in the snow. Lutton later created the H2 Snow, while studying at RMIT — a drink bottle that allows snow to melt using only human power instead of fossil fuels, as used previously. 

Skiers scoop the snow into the bottle, pop the lid on and turn the handle attached to the drink bottle. The handle is connected to a mechanism inside the bottle, and once the handle is turned friction is created — causing heat that melts the snow into water. Lutton said that his idea of creating friction to melt the snow came about through a bike pump. 

Although Lutton does not currently have plans to take H2 Snow to market, he is eager to share his research with his international peers and said winning the competition would provide “confidence to keep creating.”

Read more.

thumbnail_DSC_0719.jpg Image credit: Tim Lutton

Serene Vibe

By Luke Masters

A support worker for those with autism and a carer of his severely autistic, nonverbal brother, RMIT graduate Luke Masters has witnessed the  impact of sensory overloads on those living with autism. 

The Serene Vibe is a stimulated customisable set of headphones that can be worn by users when they feel a sensory meltdown coming on. When an individual places the headphones on their head, their scalp and ears receive a haptic stimulated massage, charged by haptic engines.

The stimulation works as a distractor from the outside world to the overwhelmed individual and shifts their focus to a calmer state, preventing a meltdown from escalating. The Serene Vibe is also able to block ambient noise, which further assists in calming the individual. 

Masters hopes that being a finalist in the design awards will help advance the project and "bring attention to the challenges encountered by those with ASD, improving community awareness and acceptance."

Read more.

Artboard 2@2x.png Image credit: Luke Masters


By Cara Jordan-Miller

In designing a visually pleasing and larger than typical external vibrator called Crema, Industrial Design Honours graduate Cara Jordan-Miller aimed to fill a gap in the market for a vibrator that celebrates shame-free sexuality.

Drawing inspiration from a swirl of cream served in a dish, Jordan-Miller designed the Crema to be aesthetically attractive, as she wanted to take the vibrator out of the draw and onto the bedside table, to be displayed without shame.

But it’s not all about looks. Jordan-Miller has considered the whole user experience, from the technical function and form, defined by the silicon’s softness and the motor strength, through to psychological considerations.

Read More

Image credit: Cara Jordan-Miller


By Shimroth John Thomas

With a desire to contribute to a more sustainable future and inspired by mentors working in the circular economy, Shimroth John Thomas challenged existing unsustainable construction materials available in the market by creating PhycoForms.

PhycoForms is a biocomposite material that has been created through repurposing seaweed and other waste resources to create biodegradable architectural materials.

Thomas said being selected as a finalist of the Victorian Premier's Design Awards has been an honour.

"As an international master's graduate, it has been a struggle to pursue my startup dreams, especially through these unprecedented times. This award could open the right doors and help me jumpstart my entrepreneurial journey

Read more

thumbnail_Phycoform_All products Thumbnail.jpg Image credit: Shimroth John Thomas


Winners will be announced on Thursday, March 24. 


Story: Taylah Borg and Thomas Odell



  • Design

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.