News of the impending closure of the Audi Design Foundation came as a shock to many in the design community. The UK-based charitable trust set up by the car company in 1997 has granted more than £1m in its 12- year life to support design innovation, focusing particularly on schools and colleges on the one hand, and sustainability issues, notably in developing countries, on the other.
When it closes its doors on 31 March, though, it will leave a legacy of sustainable design through its £200 000 Sustain Our Nation initiative, conceived as its last project as Audi takes its corporate responsibility programme in-house. The comprehensive initiative focuses on social concerns in the UK where design can make a real difference.
Under the scheme, young designers from 26 universities across the country are tasked with creating social enterprises through design to address issues such as the ageing population, health, finance, crime, energy and climate change. The aim is to keep it local, but use it to change practices to achieve a more sustainable society.
We hope the work generated through Sustain Our Nation will live on, but we congratulate all who have worked with the ADF on its programmes. The difference it has made has been outstanding.