Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator

The annual Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator, supported by a generous bequest from Carl and Judy Nielsen, recognises achievement by Australian industrial designers working in sustainable design. Powerhouse will select one project designed in Australia in the previous 12 months that demonstrates outstanding design for sustainability.


3d printed recycled marine plastic

The accelerator program is open to industrial designers up to 10 years post-graduation. Each year the program will be tailored to the recipient and may include industry mentorship, production or research assistance or outreach support. Powerhouse may also seek to acquire the winning project into the Powerhouse CollectionExternal link icon. Recipients will be invited to participate in the following year’s Sydney Design Week.

Carl Nielsen had a major influence on establishing the Industrial Design profession in Australia during its early formative years. He helped guide and mentor numerous designers who now have leading roles in the industry. The Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator has been developed to continue his legacy of supporting industrial designers to achieve their full potential.
Adam Laws, managing director, Nielsen Design

White frame table with large orange cushion atop

2023 Recipients

Ash Fischer and Orlando Hayes are the recipients of the 2023 Carl Nielsen Design Accelerator program for their Camada Daybed project. This design collaboration celebrates aesthetics and sustainability and shows how design can change people’s understanding of what waste is capable of becoming. The entire frame of the daybed is made from 100% recycled plastic, with Australian foam upholstered in Australian wool. The design has considered sustainability across the materials, manufacturing and lifecycle of the product.

Fischer and Hayes are undertaking a six-month program of support, including mentorship from Australian furniture designer Adam Goodrum and financial support to progress their design towards production and distribution.

Ash Fischer is an emerging designer from Sydney Australia with a design incentive focused on sustainability. Since establishing Fisch Designs in 2020 he has built up a portfolio of six designs ranging from an ashtray to a day bed. With distinctive motifs of colour, materials and shapes, his designs have sold globally and one of his works, the Lucha Floor Lamp, was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria after it was presented at the 2022 Melbourne Design Fair. Ash Fischer’s style is a modern take on retro futurism, reviving the once giddy optimism of people’s predictions of the future through design.

Orlando Hayes works on expanding approaches to design in collaboration with local ecologies and global environmental systems. After completing a degree in Environmental Science at UNSW, he began his career working in sustainable design of urban infrastructure at Arup, followed by a stint with Australia’s first dedicated regenerative design team led by biophilic architect Amanda Sturgeon. Hayes is currently working with CH4 Global to lay the foundations of sustainability for the organisation as it develops solutions to reduce enteric methane emissions from cattle. As he continues to collaborate with designers, artists and organisations, Hayes looks to distil emerging environmental principles and ideologies into new design ideas and practices.

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