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December 6, 2023

The Design & Make Awards at AU 2023


Every year at AU, we present awards to an exceptional group of customers who are exploring bold opportunities with technology to transform their industries and make a lasting impact on the world.  


Previously known as the Excellence Awards, we chose to rename the ceremony this year to the Design & Make Awards. While the awards will continue to serve as a symbol of excellence, we wanted the name to more robustly reflect the impact our customers have on all of our lives. 


From ski resorts in the middle of the desert to massive infrastructure projects, from innovative solutions for decarbonization to humanoid robots, the winning projects are creating amazing experiences, changing lives, and transforming our world for the better. Let’s tip our hats to the 2023 Design & Make Award winners!  


Design & Make Awards in Architecture, Engineering, & Construction

Aedas is this year’s Innovator of the Year for their futuristic concept of the Trojena Ski Village, a year-round destination in Saudi Arabia. The global architecture company collaborated with teams across six continents. Aedas centralized hundreds of digital models with Autodesk Construction Cloud, giving stakeholders real-time project access from anywhere in the world. 


The Making a Better World award was presented to Bridges to Prosperity, an organization that builds trail-bridges across rivers and ravines to connect people in isolated communities with the critical resources they need. The organization designs the bridges in AutoCAD so everyone can work on the same model and uses Civil 3D and InfraWorks to collaborate with customers, partners, and governments. 


Hiten Sethi & Associates received the Best Building Design award for their state-of-the-art Science Center, an interactive museum in Navi Mumbai, India. With Revit and BIM Collaborate Pro, the architects created a digital rendering of the futuristic glass-domed building to ensure accuracy and efficiency through design and construction.     


Architecture and engineering firm Norconsult is helping to solve the water supply problem in Norway with its innovative design for a new water treatment plant, which is this year’s winner for Best Infrastructure Project. With Autodesk Platform Services, Norconsult connected hundreds of stakeholders in one ecosystem, giving them access to the latest project information and the digital twin. This increased productivity and saved the company 300 engineering hours each month. They automated workflows in Revit and Civil 3D, and ultimately reduced interdisciplinary control errors by 76%. 


Representing the pinnacle of construction achievements, this year’s award for Best Construction Project was presented to SSOE Group, Turner, and Kokosing for their collaboration on a massive lithium-ion battery recycling facility. The SSOE team is using Autodesk Construction Cloud to centralize more than 11,600 project files and to collaborate with more than 250 users, including design-build partners Turner Construction and Kokosing Industrial. 


Donnia Tabor-Hanson was honored as the AEC Community Leader of the Year for her commitment to educating others on designing with Autodesk software. Donnia has used Autodesk tools since the 1980s. She even has a license plate with words ‘CADmama’ on it! Read an interview with Donnia Tabor-Hanson in the Autodesk Community blog.  


Design & Make Awards in Product Design & Manufacturing

Rivian is the recipient of this year’s Accelerating Transformation award for leveraging technology to build a new kind of car and steer the auto industry towards a more sustainable future. Rivian uses Alias and VRED to build virtual reality models of their electric adventure vehicles, putting designers in the driver’s seat to make better decisions that optimize the user experience.  


The Innovator of the Year award was presented to NASA research engineer Ryan McClelland for pioneering the use of generative AI to design the next evolution of spacecraft. McClelland uses Fusion 360 to create components for balloon observatories, space telescopes, and the Mars Sample Return mission. The entire design and manufacturing cycle takes just one week—ten times faster than NASA’s traditional design process. 


To combat global warming, there’s an urgent need for decarbonization—and Heirloom Carbon has developed an innovative new solution. Using Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical, Heirloom designed a direct air capture technology by utilizing one of nature’s best carbon sinks—rock. Heirloom Carbon received the Making a Better World award for their plan to capture one billion tons of carbon by 2035. 


This year’s Product Manufacturing & Engineering award was presented to Engineered Arts for its humanoid robot, Ameca. A team of designers, engineers, machinists, and artisans integrated design parameters and data captures into Autodesk Inventor to fit 5,000 components into a human form and bring Ameca to life. Ameca can form human connections, have compelling conversations, speak multiple languages, remember names, and even tell a good joke! 


Alex Lobos was honored with the Community Leader Award for inspiring the next generation of industrial designers. Alex teaches students how to design for the future using technology and tools like Fusion 360. His work and research explore sustainability, emotional attachment, and designing for inclusivity, and how generative design and computer assisted design enhance the creative process. Read an interview with Alex Lobos in the Autodesk Community blog.  


Design & Make Awards in Media & Entertainment

Gearbox Studio Quebec is the winner of the Accelerating Transformation award for applying digital tools to make complex workflows more efficient in game development. With the help of Maya and ShotGrid, Gearbox Studio Quebec is maximizing productivity by automating workflows, like scene creation and data management, which reduces errors and allows artists to focus on their craft.  


Untold Studios is the Innovator of the Year for being the first fully cloud-based creative studio and setting a new standard for the media & entertainment industry. With Autodesk Design and Make Platform, Untold Studios streamlines the flow of information across projects, teams, and tools—such as Maya, Arnold, and Flame—building connected pipelines for real-time collaboration on complex projects. 


Axis Studios was presented the Making a Better World award for driving the industry toward a more sustainable future. Axis achieves sustainability goals with strategies like creating smarter workflows that reduce rework, extending equipment life cycles, and reducing data storage. The UK company leverages technology like Maya and Arnold to connect a team of global artists and enable efficient exchange of information and data. 


Agnieszka Klich, also known as ArchViz Artist, received the Community Leader of the Year award for her mission to empower artists to unlock their full creative potential. Every week, she releases high-quality tutorial videos on 3ds Max and Arnold for her audience. She also teaches skills like workflow optimization and entrepreneurship to help artists grow their business. Read an interview with Agnieska Klich in the Autodesk Community blog.  


Design & Make Awards in Education

We added a new category this year, Education Excellence, because we believe students’ ideas and innovation have the power to change the world. 


Our inaugural award was presented to Carla Herrero who recently finished her studies in mechanical engineering at University College London. Carla was a member of UCL Racing, a team of students that designs and builds Formula 1 cars. For her final project, she used Fusion 360 to produce front-uprights with 24% less mass and rear-uprights with 39% less mass while doubling their safety factor.  


Carla’s unique applications of design and make tools have impressed the folks at Mercedes Formula 1, where she’s landed her first professional job in the suspension design division. 


Design & Make Awards—Outstanding Recognition

With a theater, an opera house, and concert hall, the 1.35 million square foot Beijing Sub Center Theater is set to be a world class performance and cultural center. Teams from Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and Beijing Construction Engineering Group used Autodesk’s AEC collection to build a common data environment to centralize 300 different models and connected 200 subcontractors across 30 disciplines for this complex project. With connected data and the Autodesk Platform, the team solved 2,000 clashes, saved $20 million dollars, and stayed 30 days ahead of schedule.


Mahindra and Mahindra has created a fully digital factory and is leveraging technology to upgrade automotive design. With Fusion, AutoCAD, and Inventor, the company designed a smart factory to manufacture vehicles. Using VR models, engineers walk through the virtual space and make layout decisions to optimize production and efficiency. 


Mahindra and Mahindra is also breaking away from traditional design processes with its E9 electric SUV. Using Alias, VRED and Maya, designers translate their sketches into realistic renderings without physical prototypes, saving time and resources, and accelerating project timelines.  


PT Adhi Karya is accelerating transformation and leveraging the cloud and digital tools to create synergy on the East Cross Road Preservation, one of Indonesia’s larger infrastructure projects, with 34 kilometers of road construction, traffic facilities, and bridge renovations. 


The company centralized over 5,000 documents in a common data environment using BIM 360. The various trades worked off the same Revit and Civil 3D models which helped resolve issues in real-time and kept the project ahead of schedule.