Our thanks to WDO Member Tiller Design of Sydney, Australia for so graciously designing the medal that was presented to Hartmut Esslinger.
Established in 1997, Tiller Design is a creative, multi-award winning industrial design and product commercialization consultancy. Its professional team of Industrial Designers and Engineers has completed hundreds of in product design, manufacturing, and commercialization of medical devices, mining equipment, consumer goods, sporting equipment and business equipment.
We spoke to Robert Tiller who spoke to us about the inspiration behind the World Design Medal and about some of the challenges of being an industrial designer in today’s rapidly changing world.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the design of the World Design Medal? Tell us a bit about the materials you selected and how you felt when approached to design the medal.
A: Tiller Design has been a WDO member for two years; it was a pleasure to be asked to design the Medal. To contribute in a small way to the recognition awarded to Hartmut Esslinger was great fun. The Medal (created by our senior industrial designer Lisa Gyecsek) was designed to reflect a simple organic form. Inspiration was taken from a river pebble. Something that feels nice to hold. When discovered, picked up, a simple pebble can hold inherent value for the person who found it. It can become an object that represents time and memories. We hope the Medal feels like a found treasured object crafted over time, to reflect the ideas and career of Hartmut Esslinger. The materials were selected for their simplistic beauty and physical presence. Natural Teak for the box and the medal is polished 24K Gold plated brass. Nobel materials for a noble task – to represent the best in global design over a sustained period.
Q: Tell us a bit about your company’s vision and mission.
A: Being based in Australia makes us look to the world for opportunities. We have been fortunate in the past 20 years, running projects around the world in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA—not only enjoying interesting projects but also making great friends and enjoying cultural diversity. We are driven (in a complex world) to create meaning and connection to the work and projects we are involved in. Above all to find balance between the commercial goals, the possibilities within design and the impact the design will have on people, our clients and our collective environment.
Q: What are some of the challenges of being an industrial designer in today’s rapidly changing world? Have you noticed a shift towards more responsible consumption and production?
A: We are constantly challenged in our profession, by global issues, technology expansion, globalization of markets and services, the short product life cycles, the price of good Gin. After 20 years of running an Industrial Design business, I’m always amazed at how diverse and nimble we have to be. The simple truth is we’ve always been diverse and embraced challenging problems. It’s the nature of designers everywhere I think. An open mind and respect for challenges change brings is an essential ingredient for good designers. I work to help people reconnect to the world, to drive better understanding of our impacts both positive and negative. We do this in every part of our project work; we seek connection and meaning for the work and things we create. The changes in the world are inevitable and exciting; the challenges created give the substance for another meaningful day at the office.
Q: What are some of the benefits of belonging to an international organization that promotes design for a better world?
A: I recognize that in order to stay connected to the global design profession we must look out beyond our own country; this we do happily and have done for many decades. I hope joining the WDO under the new brand and direction represents opportunities to meet new friends and to collaborate with like-minded people across the world. Ultimately I’m hopeful Industrial Design can be a driving force in addressing problems and that we can all create a positive legacy.