Special Awards - IDEA 2023

Special Awards

Overall Winner

Overall Winner is awarded to the submission that the jury believes to be the most outstanding design among the individual category winners for that year. The winner will be the project that is deemed to have best addressed the challenges common to its category/typology and its brief. Projects that demonstrate a significant degree of innovation within their typology (or that present as a potential new or hybrid typology) will also be highly regarded.

Designer of the Year

Any designer and/or design practice that has submitted work to this year’s IDEA competition may be considered for the Designer of the Year award. The emphasis in assessment will focus on work submitted to this year’s IDEA competition, with practices that demonstrate a consistently high calibre of output across a variety of typologies being highly regarded.

Emerging Designer

Only designers and/or design practices that have been in practice for less than five years are considered to be eligible for this category. Any practice that fits this criterion that has submitted work to this year’s IDEA competition can opt to be considered for the Emerging Designer award. Consideration will be paid to the practice’s/designer’s total output to date; however, the emphasis in assessment will be on work submitted to IDEA this year.


The award will be presented to the submission that demonstrates the most convincing and holistic address to the challenges of designing sustainably. Qualities that will be highly regarded include, but are not limited to: the usage of low VOC (volatile organic compound) materials, adaptive reuse/recycling, reductions in embodied energy, energy efficiency, improved supply chain efficiencies, reduction of waste (construction, packaging etc), social sustainability (improvements to quality of life, usage of local industry/artisans, contribution to community development or public space), innovation (a new product or typology that serves a genuine need, or an innovation within an existing product or typology that presents a substantive improvement to its functionality).

Gold Medal

The IDEA Gold Medal is the most prestigious award at the Interior Design Excellence Awards, and is given in recognition of those practitioners who have made an influential and enduring contribution to Australian design culture over the course of a career. Members of the IDEA jury individually nominate candidates for the Gold Medal.