Organised by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, National Disability Authority (NDA), Dublin, Ireland
The third 24 hour Universal Design Challenge in Ireland, previously held in Dublin, took place in Tullamore, County Offaly, famous for its stately courthouse and Tullamore Dew whisky. The designer Noel Joyce, a participant in two previous Challenges, also organises the annual Dyson Innovation Week in Tullamore. These events were run together this year with the focus on design students and recent graduates from design schools in Ireland.
The five teams were mentored by professionals from Ireland's design community who also assisted the teams in developing a business strategy around their design concept.
The theme of the Challenge was 'Everyday Products' but was restricted to functional products that did not use technology yet had a focus on design qualities.
The design concepts from the five teams were presented to delegates at a 'Flash Conference on Universal Design for Irish Educators' on 4 November 2011. The conference theme was how can universal design be embedded into the school and college curricula for design, engineering, architecture and information and communication technology. The Challenge was an example of interactive design education.
While votes were being counted, Brian Stephens. the CEO of Design Partners gave a keynote speech on the realities of design practice.
Two awards were given - a Judges Choice Award went to Team E, led by J P Hartigan, for a new mechanism that would enable anyone to change a light bulb or ceiling fixture, and the People's Choice award, based on the audience vote, went to Team D, led by Edita Ripinskyte, for Vessel, for an elegant and simple tray.
An NDA stipend was offered for one member of each team to visit a leading design firm or a design programme at a leading university with the candidate chosen by the team mentor.