Surge 2020: Design For a Better Future

Calling all design firms! Collaborate, innovate, change the world. Join Surge’s Design Challenge 2020!


Submission deadline: 22 August 2020

Each year, during the searing summer months, we wait with excitement for the announcement of Surge’s next Design, Dine, Make a Difference challenge. And true to form, Surge comes up with better, more unique ways of engaging the region’s A+D community towards a singular purpose – to provide sustainable and safe water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to the world.

The Surge journey starts with a design challenge, where designers battle it out in a thrilling race to create the best, most unique piece of lighting or furniture, and it culminates in a glamorous and giving awards night gala event. 

This year too, starts with a challenge, but with a unique twist – it will be a team collaboration towards a creative, innovative solution. Read on for details…

The Design Challenge 2020

This year has been, let’s just say, different. A global pandemic continues to revolutionise the way we live, work and play. A rising demand to meet the needs of more than seven billion people has transformed land use and generated unprecedented levels of pollution, gravely affecting biodiversity, forests, wetlands, water bodies, soils and air quality.

As cities grow and become more crowded, we continue to be further separated from all the gifts that nature has to offer. Stress levels are increasing and lives keep getting busier and more hectic. And while technology is advancing at a rapid rate, there are more reports of disconnect and loneliness amongst people than ever before.

Furthermore, as the effects of COVID-19 continue to prevail in many parts of the world, governments, corporations, nonprofits and individuals are collaborating in ways that previously were unheard of. Now more than ever, we understand our connectedness as humanity and our deep connection with nature. We are all stronger together!

We have an opportunity to work together to redesign our future – to make our communities more resilient, healthier, beautiful and creative. As part of the A+D industry, we can ideate and advocate for a future where the world is happier and living in harmony with nature.

In that spirit, the theme for this year’s Design Challenge is ‘Design for a Better Future’.

For the first time, DDD will take on a collaborative team approach, where design firms can sign up individually. They will be assigned a partner (a manufacturer, a supplier, etc), but the firm will lead the process.

The Process

Each team (the design firm and their assigned partner) can select one of the issues that is facing our world right now, and create a design solution for it. The design could be of a piece of furniture or lighting, or even a space, and can incorporate any of the following concepts: Artificial Intelligence, Connection to the Outdoors, Biophilia, Anti-Microbial Surfaces, 3D- Printing, Touchless Technology, Accessibility, Multi-Functional Spaces, Home-Office Hybrids, Disruptive Technologies and more.

There really is no limit, so let your creativity and innovative soar!

Judging Criteria

The judging panel includes a select board of design professionals, media and key sponsors. Participants will complete a detailed Scorecard to help the judges assess compliance to the design brief including:

  • How effectively has the Problem Statement been solved
  • Functionality
  • The concept’s inspiration and emotional connection with Surge’s mission
  • Sustainability, including an analysis of the environmental impact
  • Innovation
  • Shared Value
  • Quality of specifications – is there sufficient information to bring the design to life
  • Style and impression
  • Teamwork


The various categories for the awards include:

  • Overall Competition Winner
  • Highly Commended
  • Most Sustainable
  • Most Innovative
  • People’s Choice



If you haven’t heard of it already, you will now.

.STUDIO is a workflow automation software that manages all your tasks within your design practice in real time, so your team can do what they love to… Design!

Crafted for the Design Industry | Keep track of Everything important | Collaborate with others | Dashboards that spark Insight! | Minimize Cost Overruns | Create Specifications and Packages


About Surge

Surge provides sustainable safe water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions, in an effort to change the world one drop at a time. In a world in which 2,300 people die every day because of inadequate drinking water and sanitation, Surge takes a multi faceted approach to reach as many people as possible. Since 2008, the organisation has impacted 1 million people in 11 countries. 100 percent of public donations received fund safe water, sanitation and associated education projects. 

Article info


Date added:

28 July, 2020

Related Articles