Thanks to Mercedes-Benz it was fantastic to attend the announcement of the Mercedes-Benz 2018 Design Award winner at the very chic Cult Design store, with a focus on sustainability and a desire to create useful and beautiful furniture winner Zachary Hanna’s work has paid dividends.
Now in its fourth year, the Design Award each year focuses on a particular aspect
of the design process and calls for entries matching the criteria. This year, the
award focuses on sustainable materials and processes, in conjunction with
innovative designs primarily created for living spaces.
Sydney-based Hanna was one of three finalists with ‘Stacks’, a combined lamp, bookcase and side table structure. He was shortlisted alongside James Walsh
(Sydney) for ‘Blocks’ – a range of vases, bowls and water pitchers – and Tom
Hewitt (Melbourne) for his ‘OK-I Lounge Chair’.
Hanna’s Stacks design is created from certified sustainable timber such as ash or
walnut and incorporates a lamp above a side table and a bookcase in an attractive,
streamlined form. Judge Adele Winteridge commented: “A compact and beautiful
product and well-thought-out piece of design. Combining of several functions, this
product would also be brilliant for tight apartment-living spaces and in higher
density living situations.”
Winteridge, the founding director of Foolscap Studio, was among a panel of judges
that included Richard Munao (managing director, Cult), André Dutkowski (senior
product manager, Mercedes-Benz), Katya Wachtel (editorial director, Broadsheet)
and Tom Fereday (the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Design Award winner). Entries were
judged ‘blind’ and considered on how successfully they met the design brief.
Hanna studied engineering at University of Technology, Sydney, where he worked
closely with Berto Pandolfo, the course director of product design. He has since
worked at Adam Goodrum Studio, and for the past three years at Bang Design.
“Stack came from an image I had in my head of an old, dusty lamp sitting on a
tablecloth-clad side table, and I thought it would be interesting to take an
ostensibly ugly combination and elevate it to the level of fine furniture,” Hanna said.
André Dutkowski, Senior Manager Product Marketing, Strategy and CASE, said it
was incumbent upon designers to devise products that were not only beautiful, but
also sustainable across the entire production process.
“It starts with the selection of raw materials, which should ideally be renewable and
include more recyclates,” he said. “But also, considerations like eco-friendly
packaging, logistics processes, labour conditions in production, and ongoing R&D
investment in even more sustainable products and their production, are key.
“These are considerations that Mercedes-Benz has enshrined in its own processes.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is an excellent example – with significant use of
recycled and renewable materials, the environmental footprint of its production is
“We are always extremely impressed with the standard of entries in the Mercedes-
Benz Design Award and Zachary’s Stacks concept is an excellent example showing that a focus on beauty, functionality and sustainability can result in the creation of
something truly inspirational.”
As the winner of the Mercedes-Benz Design Award for 2018, Hanna will have his
Stacks design prototyped, produced and sold by Cult Design. He will also receive
mentorship from Australian design leaders and receive a Mercedes-Benz car to drive for the duration of 2019.
Style and Purpose whilst thinking sustainably, what a fantastic product congratulations to Zachary Hannah definitely big things ahead for him.
Words by Editor Arrnott Olssen