Caroma Industries’ Sydney Source Centre, Source 490, was the venue for a glittering cocktail party late last month to announce the finalists in Saturday in Design’s ‘Launch Pad’.

Created to support emerging young Australian designers who are too often forced to take their designs overseas due to lack of interest at home, Launch Pad made great use of Source 490’s recently refurbished space, which was specifically designed to showcase products for selection by the architectural and design communities.

The usually product-filled Source 490 showroom was transformed for the evening to welcome over 300 guests to the event, which saw Charles Wilson take out first prize for his high quality homewares made from compression moulded plastic. A freelance furniture designer, Wilson has worked for Levis Australia, Woodmark International, and Schaumburg Alvisse, and believes that it was the framework of doctrinal modernism (form following function, problem solving etc) that drew him to design: “I find the opportunities that spring from this are endless, both in innovation and expression of form.” he said.

Penny Forlano won second place for her ability to successfully combine poetics, functionality, and aesthetics in products that are financially accessible to the wider community and built in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. “As a designer, I aim to create excellence and innovation in contemporary design, by creating works that are representative of an age yet timeless, are functional to meet contemporary needs, are visually engaging or meaningful to be enjoyed over time, and provide something better for the future,” says Forlano.

Third place and the encouragement award went to Dennis Abalos’ Snug chair. “My personal design philosophy,” claims Dennis, “is to use design to make the world a better place, piece by piece. I want to enhance and improve products to enrich and help people’s lives and their everyday experiences.”