Hot Fifty – Audi Design Foundation

Audi Design Foundation has become a regular in the Hot 50 listing, but that is because this tiny charity, set up in 1997, continues to develop new ventures for making a difference through design, engaging emerging and established designers in the process.

It is quick to stress that it is not a car company – though its instigator was an Audi director. Under development manager Rebecca Edge, the foundation has continued an adventurous programme that focuses on sustainability. Regular features include the Designs of Substance initiative that has, to date, introduced the ideas of UK design undergraduates to developing communities in the favelas of Brazil and townships of South Africa.

Last year’s initiative involved students from five colleges answering one of three set briefs, with input from the eventual ‘clients’. The winners, Maki Okawara and Max Frommeld from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, and Nirmal Menon, who was on exchange from Australia to Kingston University at the time of the contest, showed off their ideas to people in the township of Mdantsane near East London, South Africa.

Another ADF initiative is the Designs for Life programme, offering grant aid for emerging designers to prototype sustainable and inclusive designs. It aims to award some £80 000 in funds a year, with grants ranging from £10 000-£30 000.

The quality and consistency of ADF’s output is exemplary, and its team is to be applauded for its commitment to design.

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