ACID MembersNomad WheelchairsNomad Wheelchairs, has just become the first UK company to win the ‘Excellence in a First Time Design Project’ Award at the European design awards, the DME Awards, in Eindhoven, Holland (

Mark Owen, a wheelchair user himself, started Nomad with his brother Jon, just 6 months ago, in response to over a decade of feeling frustrated by the choice of wheelchairs available to the market.

The coveted DME Awards recognise and reward companies for excellent management of the complete design process, from product design to branding, marketing and literature. It covers how a company pulls all these elements together in order to lead through design and includes planning, communication, delivery and results.

Nomad are the first mobility company to win any DME Award and is the first UK company ever to win this category. Other companies to enter the awards this year came from Lithuania, Holland, Germany, and across Europe, and represented many various industries, from architecture to soft drinks.

Jon Owen, nomad Director, said “Even to be judged against such strong mainstream and lifestyle companies is a huge compliment to nomad – it is exactly the goal we had when we started – to move wheelchairs towards a more aspirational lifestyle sector. To win it was just mind-blowing!”

“We have a very strong design industry in Wales, and Nomad was lucky enough to work with some of the best that Wales has to offer – The stunning Mrk1 frame comes from Studio SDA, while Angela Gidden MBE heads up Attic 2, who developed our brilliant upholstery. Elfen have been responsible for the branding and marketing materials. Nomad brought these three design houses together to create a product and brand that is changing the way people think of wheelchairs and mobility companies”. 

The award recognises the fact that this was a truly multi-team, multi-disciplinary project and, more importantly, that is was a great success. The winning poster plots nomad’s journey through the design process and was produced by nomad and Elfen. 

Both Nomad Wheelchairs and Angela Gidden are ACID members and they join a long list of ACID award winning designers.  Jon Owen commented, “At Nomad, we invest very heavily in design.  As with any investment or asset, you need protection and ACID offered us just that.  This award comes 6 months after Nomad was launched – the first six months have seen us exhibit in UK and Germany, we have sold many wheelchairs to many happy customers and we are now looking to get representation overseas. The MRK1 wheelchair and the company’s marketing are setting new standards in the industry. Nomad are frequently asked to contribute to industry debate, to write articles for magazines and to feature on magazine covers – not bad for half a year’s work.”

The Nomad journey essentially started when Mark Owen had a road traffic accident in 1996, which left him paralysed from the chest down, and with the use of only his right arm. Jon Owen considers this award to be “proof that it is possible to make the best of any situation, no matter how bad it seems at first”.

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