Next-gen innovation on show at Australia’s Good Design Awards 2021

From smart wheelchairs to solar-powered skylights which turn seawater into drinking water, Australia’s Good Design Awards 2021 recognise the very best in next-gen innovation.

The annual Australian Good Design Awards program celebrates the best in design and architecture across 12 main design disciplines, spanning more than 30 categories. The Good Design 2021 Awards involved more than 70 design experts from Australia and around the world, who evaluated a record 930 applications.

The Awards recognise design excellence across broad sectors and industries. They cover the design of products that people use every day, along with the services they interact with and the places and spaces they occupy. The Awards also recognise the design of the processes and systems that underpin business, industries and economies right through to projects in the social innovation space.

When it comes to next-gen innovation, this year’s standout winners included:

WHILL Model C2 Personal Mobility

Good Design Award of the Year winner, the WHILL Model C2 Personal Mobility reimagines the traditional electric wheelchair. Its evolutionary design challenges traditional passive positioning and increases manoeuvrability, fundamentally changing the user’s attitude and shaping their confidence, happiness and wellbeing.

With an 18 km range and speed of 8 km/hr, the ergonomic controller provides all-day comfort. With powerful motors and large front omni-wheels, it allows users to effortlessly climb over obstacles up to 5 cm in height.

The WHILL Model C2 Personal Mobility won not only for its sleek and thoughtful design, and its high-tech functionality, but more importantly its value to society and genuine ability to help create a better and brighter future for people with mobility challenges.


Developed for refugees and asylum seekers, Mufid (Arabic for ‘useful’) transforms plastic waste into 3D-printing filament to create shelter construction elements.

The Good Design Award Gold winner for Next-Gen Products with social impact, Best in Class, Mufid is a world-first technology and education toolkit. It empowers young migrants in refugee camps to improve their environment through the circular economy. Beneficiaries gain design and STEM skills for economic empowerment in their communities.

Solar Desalination Skylight

Designed by Danish architecture student Henry Glogau, this solar-powered skylight can turn seawater into drinking water – earning it the Good Design Award Gold for Next-Gen Products with social impact.  

During the day, seawater trickles through a pipe into the bowl-shaped skylight. Salt and pollutants are removed, so clean drinking water can be poured from a tap at the base. At night, the leftover salt brine creates ‘seawater batteries’ which power the light.

Glogau has passed on the design to local people in Chile, so they can build their own skylights using available materials such as old plastic bottles.

Trax – Autonomous Herbicide Robot

Good Design Award winner for Next-Gen Products, Trax is an autonomous vehicle designed to combat weeds on agricultural land, while minimising the use of herbicides. 

The New Zealand-designed robot carries three different herbicides. It locates weeds via cameras and sensors, and logs their position, so farmers can make informed decisions about managing their fields.

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