Design Institute of Australia launches inaugural awards

Bates Smart scoops Best Place at inaugural Design Institute of Australia Awards with an acute medical services building, the Gandel Wing at Cabrini Malvern

Bates Smart for Gandel Wing in Australia
(Image credit: press)

The Design Institute of Australia (DIA) – Australia’s national design body, has recently announced the winners for its inaugural Designers Australia 2021 Awards. The three categories ‘Place,’ ‘Use’ and ‘Interact’ boast a wealth of forward-thinking projects across the country. ‘Place’ recognises the spaces we inhabit, live, and operate in; ‘Use’ celebrates the things we use; while ‘Interact’ showcases who and what we engage with. 

The ‘Place’ category was won by multidisciplinary design practice Bates Smart for its acute medical services building, the Gandel Wing, at the Cabrini hospital in Malvern, Australia. The jury was unanimous in selecting the new seven-storey wing for its exemplary approach to design, wellness, and healthcare architecture. Stretching 16,350 sq m, the scheme delivers state-of-the-art cancer, cardiac, and geriatric care facilities alongside a radiotherapy bunker. Gandel Wing was praised by the judges for its high levels of comfort, safety, and dignity.

Bates Smart approached every aspect of the project through the lens of the patient to ensure that each space functions from both a medical and aesthetic perspective. To do this, the award-winning practice worked closely with medical teams to create mock-ups of clinical medical work areas. Centring on wellness, healthcare, and technology, the building focuses on healing and creating a welcoming environment. ‘The Gandel Wing’s natural finishes, rounded edges and neutral palette illustrate the power of buildings that can heal,’ stated jurors and design educators Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano.

Interior at Bates Smart for Gandel Wing in Australia

(Image credit: press)

Other Design Institute of Australia Award winners

Sydney-based design studio DesignByThem won the ‘Use’ category for its seating series, DL Range by GibsonKarlo and Dion Lee. A collaboration between industrial designers and DesignByThem founders Nicholas Karlovasitis and Sarah Gibson, and Australian fashion designer Dion Lee, the project combines impressive Italian saddle leather with slick organic materials and sleek angular silhouettes. 

The ‘Interact’ category went to Monash University XYX Lab for HyperSext City – an online repository that collates data by crowdsourcing from communities, researchers, and individuals across the globe. While the President’s Prize was won by multidisciplinary designer Ed Linacre for his contribution to the design lexicon and commitment to diversity and equality. 

DIA president Gavin Campbell stated that ‘since 1948, the Design Institute of Australia has been committed to nurturing and empowering designers. It is pleasing to see the culmination of these awards, responses to design shifts while also being a part of our collective future.’

Timber cladding at Bates Smart for Gandel Wing in Australia

(Image credit: press)

Bedroom interior at Bates Smart for Gandel Wing in Australia

(Image credit: press)

Bathroom interior at Bates Smart for Gandel Wing in Australia

(Image credit: press)


Shawn Adams is an architect, writer, and lecturer who currently teaches at Central St Martins, UAL and the Architectural Association. Shawn trained as an architect at The Royal College of Art, Architectural Association and University of Portsmouth. He is also the co-founder of the socially-minded design practice Power Out of Restriction. In 2023, POoR won the London Design Festival’s Emerging Design Medal. Shawn writes for numerous international magazines about global architecture and design and aims to platform the voices of those living across the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa.