COFA graduate, lecturer and designer Trent Jansen has won Australia's most prestigious design prize, the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award.

First prize was a dead-heat, with Jansen's Kissing Pendant lights and Ilias Fotopoulos' On Closer Inspection tactile Braille wallpaper sharing the $30,000 first prize including a trip to Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy.

Jansen's winning design exemplifies his sustainable design philosophy which aims to decrease disposability by creating objects that encourage a life-long connection with their owner.

The Kissing Pendant lights embody the intimacy experienced by lovers when they kiss. The two identical, pressed-metal light shades hang independently until the light is switched on when magnetic attraction draws them together and locks them into position.

"The moment the lights meet replicates the moment when two people give themselves, emotionally and physically to each other and lose all concern for what's happening around them," says Jansen.

The designer says the prize will allow him to travel and extend his design practice.

"It's great financially - it gives me the freedom to live in countries where I can learn by not necessarily earn an income. Most importantly, the award is a great acknowledgement from my highly respected peers in the industry," he says.

This is the second year in a row that a designer from UNSW has won the Bombay Sapphire Award. Industrial Design lecturer Rina Bernabei and her business partner Kelly Freeman won last year's prize with their ecologically sustainable TOTEM lighting range.

The Bombay Sapphire Design Award provides opportunities for emerging Australian designers, on a local and international level, culminating in an exhibition at Object Gallery which runs until November 2, 2008.

Media contact: Fran Strachan | 9385 8732 |