RMIT talent recognised at the 2023 Victorian Premier’s Design Awards

RMIT talent recognised at the 2023 Victorian Premier’s Design Awards

RMIT’s outstanding students, staff and alumni were part of seven winning and highly commended projects at this year’s Victorian Premier’s Design Awards. We spoke to some of the recipients about their designs.

Replica Project

By Mandy Nichols

Established in 2018, Replica Project is a micro fashion enterprise offering annual capsule wardrobes with each garment designed to be worn together, and each project worn with the previous.

Drawing on Founder Mandy Nichols’ experience in haute couture workrooms and film costume studios, the project uses subversive reproduction of archival forms to comment on mechanisms of contemporary fast and luxury fashion.

Replica Project won a Victorian Premier’s Design Award for Fashion Design. Nichols said it is “encouraging to be recognised for my fashion practice which doesn’t fall into most people’s idea of fashion.”

Looking to the future of Replica Project, Nichols added that she’s commencing a PhD with RMIT’s School of Fashion & Textiles and is “looking forward to the way this will transform and further strengthen my fashion practice. I’m also excited to continue making beautiful clothes and working collaboratively with creative practitioners that I’m compelled by.”

Learn more about Replica Project.

four images of the same person wearing the same dress from different angles


By Maireid Carrigg, Fergus Davidson and Maneet Singh

Winning in the Student Design category, Airlift is low-cost pneumatic device designed by RMIT Industrial Design students and developed in collaboration with WorkSafe. It assists in performing three key patient movements – rolling, sitting up and translations.

This is the third award for Airlift, following a coveted James Dyson Award and Australian Good Design Award in 2022. Speaking about the project and these accolades, Maneet Singh said the awards have given the team confidence to take the idea forward and bring it to life in the next stage of their design journey.

“We set out to make an impact and hopefully change lives, and it feels surreal to have received validation and recognition of our vision and efforts spent over the last many months,” he said.

Learn more about Airlift.

a diagram of a dummy on a stretcher in three different positions

Tram Toolkits

By Angela Taft, Leesa Hooker, Kirsty Forsdike, Jessica Ison (LaTrobe University); Nicole Kalms, Gene Bawden, Gill Matthewson, Isabella Webb (Monash University XYX Lab); and Nicola Henry (RMIT University)

The TramLab Toolkits won for Design Strategy. This project supports public transport service providers to improve women and girls’ access to public transport safe space using intersectional, gender-sensitive design.

The series of toolkits focus on four areas of gender-sensitive design: developing communication campaigns, placemaking, data-gathering and training for public transport service providers and aligned security staff.

Commissioned by the State Government, the Toolkits project brought together interdisciplinary researchers from LaTrobe University, Monash University and RMIT University in gendered violence and urban design. This research informed the creation of the toolkits.

RMIT’s Professor Nicola Henry was a Chief Investigator on the project, drawing on over two decades of her research on sexual violence and harassment.

“It was wonderful to work on such an interesting, complex and interdisciplinary project, the result of which will have ongoing benefits for creating safer communities,” she said.  

Learn more about the TramLab Toolkits.

a series of pages showing designs of public spaces

Solid Lines

By Emrhan Tjapanangka Sultan, Dr Nicola St John, The Jacky Winter Group

Solid Lines is Australia’s first illustration agency led by First Nations people and dedicated to representing First Nations talent. It was highly commended for Design Strategy in this year’s awards.

RMIT Communication Design Lecturer, Dr Nicola St John said it was wonderful to see the Victorian design industry recognise the importance of First Nations design and commercial art.

“It’s also amazing to see the support from those wanting to engage in respectful and meaning collaborations, learn about the diversity of First Nations expression and understand the importance of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property,” she said.

St John added that the team are “excited about the future growth of the agency, from representing more First Nations artists, to giving back to community and engaging in more skill sharing and capacity building with the next generations of creatives.”

Learn more about Solid Lines.

five people standing in front of an artwork smiling

Victorian Premier’s Design Awards Showcase

By Ian Wong, Tim Isaacson, Dr Indae Hwang, Remy Wong, Monash University and Creative Victoria

RMIT’s Design Hub played an integral role in the design and realisation of winning entrant for Communication Design – the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards Showcase.

A multi modal exhibition, the showcase included the creation of an enduring research archive celebrating 25 years of design excellence from Victoria.

The exhibition was a feature of Melbourne Design Week 2022, of which RMIT is the Design Partner.

Led by RMIT alumni Ian Wong, the exhibition included object display, commissioned documentary films, co-curated installations, award entries, a forty metre digital media projection and an augmented reality 'NEXT - Emerging designers AR Showcase' immersive digital experience.

Learn more about the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards Showcase.

a corridor with a series of designs on display

Alumni making an impact

Recent RMIT graduates were also represented in the categories for Service Design and Circular Design & Sustainability:

  • Industrial Design graduate Isabella Jorgensen and her team won best in category for Strong Care.
  • Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering graduate Ryan Tilley and his team were highly commended for the Rove wheelchair.

Congratulations to all recipients in this year’s awards. 

Story: Rosie Shepherdson-Cullen


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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.