International Design Awards announces the world's most beautiful things

Melbourne's Kingdom Sneakers has picked up a coveted silver medal at the 9th annual International Design Awards (IDA) announced in New York.

The homegrown company founded by brothers Ross and Paul Meeuwsen were given the gong for their premium-luxe 3184 model, named after the bayside Melbourne suburb where the pair grew up, Elwood.

The exclusive sneakers are limited to just 990 pairs worldwide and hand sewn from ultra-fine grade leather. Packaged in a full-metal gold box, they feature a custom sole, innovative rare-earth magnetic strap, and individually numbered laser engraved D-rings. They retail for $680.

"We're pretty excited, it was quite a surprise, but pleasantly so," says Kingdom Sneakers co-founder Paul Meeuwsen. "The award is definitely a validation of what we've been working towards and recognition of our approach, which has always been zero compromise."

Meeuwsen says he still has a few pairs of the 3184 in stock, but 'once they're gone, they're gone'. "It's about to get real, now that this award has come along," he says.

Winning designs

Other major IDA winners include the 2016 Volvo XC90, which took out the prestigious Product Design of the Year Award. The world's first plug-in hybrid seven seater SUV is very elegant, but perhaps the Orrefors crystal gearshift may have been decisive in the judges' minds.  

The Volvo also won a gold for its twin-engine powertrain, and another for its interior, plus a silver for its clever Sensus infotainment interface.

Singapore's innovative National Stadium, by Arup Associates, took out the Architectural Design of the Year. Featuring the largest free spanning dome in the world at 310 metres, and capable of seating 55,000 people, the stadium is also the world's first that has been custom-designed to host athletics, football, rugby and cricket.

Shop to it

Shopping boutiques don't come any more beautiful than Fendi's flagship store, Palazzo Fendi, in Rome, a worthy winner of Interior Design of the Year for Japanese studio Curiosity. Dripping in marble and with silver leaves on the ceiling, the design was inspired by the Italian Renaissance, says Curiosity's Gwenael Nicolas.

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Australian entries were well represented at the IDA this year, particularly in the field of architecture, where Sydney-based CPlusC Architectural Workshop was awarded medals for projects in Castlecrag, Dulwich Hill and Canada Bay. McBride Charles Ryan won a Silver for their quirky Monument Park project in Melbourne's Docklands.

Notable mentions include the T2 Bike helmet by Torch Apparel, which picked up a silver in the product category. The helmet projects 10 LEDs onto shatter-proof polycarbonate lenses, diffusing the light and making the cyclist visible from 360 degrees.

The Movado Edge timepiece won a gold medal for its innovative form. Yves Behar, Qin Li, Erik Kreider, and Hardy Chambliss crafted the timepiece from aluminium to create a unique concave shape that is unlike any other watch on the market.