Surge’s Design, Dine, make a Difference 2021: GAIA

Calling all design firms! Create, innovate and change the world. Join Surge’s Design Challenge 2021!



Entry Form Submission Deadline: 14 April, 2021

Each year, 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, 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 creation, and it culminates in a glamorous and purposeful awards gala event. 

This year, you too, can create a GAIA inspired piece and join in the competition with some of the most revered design firms in the region in a friendly fight for the coveted top spot. 

Some of the companies that have already signed up include Al Tayer Stocks, BDP, Bluehaus Group, DZ Design, Energy & Space, HOK, Gensler, RAW and SAY Studio.

Download the Design Brief Here

The Design Challenge 2021: GAIA

The GAIA hypothesis suggests that we coevolve with our environment.

Designers are challenged to capture our changing planet and humanity’s role in this change by considering all four dimensions of sustainability – the social, ecological, economic and worldview.

Designs can be provocative and raise awareness of the ecocide that is occurring, or celebrate the beauty when working in synergy with nature. The pieces of furniture or lighting are meant to live outdoors in nature and inspire a lighter footprint on our planet, one that encourages humanity to respect, protect and celebrate our connection to Mother Earth!

Here are our Sponsors for 2021

This entire competition and gala dinner are only possible because of Surge’s sponsors. We are proud to have already partnered up with the following sponsors:

The Process & Judging Criteria

Design firms can put forward an individual designer or a team. Only one entry from each design firm can be submitted. Design firms are free to collaborate with a build partner of their choice. The judging panel includes a select board of design professionals and media. Participants will complete a detailed scorecard to help the judges assess:

  • Compliance to the design brief
  • Functionality
  • Positive social outcome that is generated
  • The concept’s inspiration and emotional connection with Surge’s mission
  • Sustainability, including an analysis of the environmental impact
  • Innovation
  • Quality of craftsmanship
  • Style and impression
  • Networked approach to raising awareness, making a contribution to our community and coming full circle to finding its final home.

The Awards

The various categories for the awards include:

  • Overall Competition Winner
  • Most Commended
  • Most Impactful
  • Most Sustainable
  • Innovation Award
  • Master Craftsman – awarded to Build Partner
  • People’s Choice

Download the Design Brief Here


About Surge

Founded in 2008, Surge has impacted over 1,000,000 people in 11 countries. 

Our work includes: construction of wells, springs, rainwater harvesting systems; installation of household and community water filters; construction of toilets; and the implementation of customized hygiene and menstrual health education programs. Surge is actively delivering its sustainable, holistic, community led programs in Haiti, the Philippines and Uganda. Through our work, entire communities have seen improvements in infrastructure, health, dignity, education, income, and many other advances in the overall well-being for generations to come.

Surge is headquartered in Chicago, USA with a branch office in Dubai.

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