27 March 2023
Each year at the INDE.Awards we showcase the rising talent that abounds in our region. From Australia to New Zealand, China to Singapore and all countries in between, the Indesign Editors recommend those talents who are making a name for themselves and creating a design stir within their countries and across the Indo-Pacific. This year we will see practitioners of design that are creating extraordinary work, have weathered the pandemic and are rising to the top of their chosen field of design.
It goes without saying that these young architects and designers stand out from the crowd, but it isn’t easy to begin the journey and stay on the road to success when a career is new. That is where Milliken, the partner of The Prodigy category in 2023, is vital in helping to support emerging talent and providing encouragement when it is really needed.
Milliken is a global design and manufacturing leader of flooring solutions for the architecture and design community. It all began in 1865 in Minot, Maine in the US, with Seth M Milliken, an operator of a general store. With partner William Deering, the duo became woollen fabric distributors and sales agents for textile mills. In 1901, the business developed its first recycling policy, and thus the company’s commitment to sustainably-focused manufacturing began. Over the ensuing 158 years, Milliken has grown from a young prodigy to a mature company, but its regard for design, innovation, and sustainability initiatives has ever increased and is intrinsic to the ethos and ethics of the business.
Milliken’s achievements, accolades and awards are too numerous to list, as every year the company receives recognition for sustainable initiatives, business practice and innovative products. Recently, Ethisphere again has named Milliken as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the 17th consecutive year. Milliken is one of 135 honorees spanning 19 countries and 46 industries and one of only six honorees appearing on the World’s Most Ethical Companies list every year since the award was founded in 2007. This is certainly an achievement that few companies can boast.
In 2021, Milliken launched the M/PACT™ carbon neutral program to help in the fight against climate change, with all carpet, LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile), and entrance flooring tiles now carbon neutral everywhere in the world. The company is also investing in renewable energy credits in Milliken-owned energy projects, enabling circularity that uses fewer new raw materials and creates less waste, and is sourced locally whenever possible. At the end of 2022, Milliken announced their commitment to becoming net-zero by 2050, where their near and long-term targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Through all these meaningful and proactive actions, Milliken is definitely making a significant difference.
It’s plain to see the journey that Milliken has undertaken and it is clear that the environment is central to the business. However, supporting young talent is also important to the company and the ‘To the Floor – The Lifeforce’ themed competition in New Zealand is a wonderful example.
The ‘To the Floor’ competition supported by Milliken and The Designers Institute of New Zealand enables a designer the opportunity to work with Milliken’s creative director, James Mfula, and the design team to develop a carpet collection that would subsequently be manufactured and sold around the globe, earning the winner royalties on sales. Receiving the top accolade was Wellington-based, textile designer Ashley Rose Oswin who created an outstanding submission that caught the eye of well-respected judges in the architecture and interior industry.
Predicated on a whirlwind tour of New Zealand’s South Island in 2020, Oswin developed a design that was inspired by circular flow, the theme of the competition. The finished design is an expression of Van Gogh’s Starry Night combining textural brushstrokes with all with a distinct New Zealand undertone. For Oswin, this was just the beginning of the story. With zoom meetings and a trip to Milliken’s Head Office in Australia to work in the design studio, the ensuing Circular Relationships Collection was developed and became a reality. What an opportunity and a result. Brilliant!
As ‘The Prodigy’ category at the 2023 INDE.Awards supports young talent, so too does Milliken – all for the betterment of design. Together we celebrate the next generation of architects and designers and encourage those who dare to take the next step on the road to successful and fulfilling careers.
The Prodigy entrants are chosen by the Indesign Media Asia Pacific Editorial team, however, the 2023 INDE.Awards is open for entry and we encourage all architects and designers to submit to the multitude of categories on offer. See the categories here and enter here. There is no time to waste. Submit your projects and objects to showcase your work on the local, regional and global stages.
Photography: Courtesy of Milliken