Designs of the Year gathers together a year of cutting-edge innovation and original talent; showcasing the very best in global Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic, Product and Transport design.
2014’s nominees include international design stars such as Zaha Hadid, John Pawson, Stephen Jones, David Chipperfield and Miuccia Prada, alongside crowd-funded start ups and student projects. All of the nominated designs are on display at the Design Museum, in an exhibition open from 26 March to 25 August 2014. A distinguished panel of experts chose a winner from each category and one overall winner, to be announced later in the year.
The broad reach of the competition allows for an overview of emerging trends and common themes from across different design disciplines. This year the ubiquity of the smartphone is particularly apparent, as is the disruptive effect of crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter.
After the success of its first outing in 2013, the Visitor Vote will return, allowing visitors to the Design Museum to pick their favourite design from the exhibition. New for 2014 is the Social Vote which sees two nominations fight it out each day through the exhibition’s online Social Vote platform. Broadcast to over one million of the Design Museum’s Twitter and Facebook followers, the Social Vote allows people from all over the world to participate in Designs of the Year 2014.
A floating school in a Nigerian lagoon, friendly lamp posts, virtual mountain rescue teams, a recoiling mudguard for the discerning cyclist are just some of the nominations for Designs of the Year 2014. See below for these and more of our favourites:
CHILD CHEMO HOUSE, KOBE
by Tezuka Architects, Takaharu & Yui Tezuka.
A place where children undergoing chemotherapy treatment can live with their families, Child Chemo House aims to facilitate an ordinary lifestyle in a beautiful, calm space.
MAKOKO FLOATING SCHOOL, NIGERIA
by NLÉ, Makoko Community Building Team.
A prototype floating structure, built for the historic water community of Makoko, Nigeria. The school takes an innovative, cheap and sustainable approach to address the community’s specific social and physical needs.
ST MORITZ CHURCH, AUGSBURG, GERMANY, INTERIOR RENOVATION
by John Pawson.
Taking in aesthetic, functional and liturgical perspectives, the renovation saw the painstaking paring away of selected elements to achieve a clearer visual field, drawing the eye to the apse ‘the threshold to transcendence’ which is designed as a room of light.
THE NEW CREMATORIUM AT THE WOODLAND CEMETERY, STOCKHOLM
by Johan Celsing
Built on an undulating terrain in a wild wood section of the Woodland Cemetery, the New Crematorium features exposed white concrete and white glazed bricks in a building which is at once robust and sensitive.
by Paul Egglestone, Dr Darren Ansell, Dan Etherington, Patterdale Mountain Rescue.
A crowd-sourced search and rescue drone designed to save lives in the Lake District mountains. AeroSee’s contribution to search and rescue operations comes directly from members of the public who can become ‘virtual search agents’ – joining live operations from their desktop computers, tablet devices and mobiles.
by Azmat Yusuf, Gilbert Wedam, Joe Hughes, Nicholas Skehin, Emil Vaughan.
Describing itself as the ultimate transport app, Citymapper aims to make the world’s most complicated cities easier to use with A to B journey planning that includes everything from cost to calorie burning.
HELLO LAMP POST
by Pan Studio.
Hello Lamp Post is a playful SMS platform, inviting people to strike up conversations with familiar street furniture using the text message function of their mobile phones. The project launched in Bristol during the summer of 2013. Thousands of residents and visitors shared their thoughts and stories with the streetlights, parking meters, bridges and boats of the city, sending over 25,000 text messages in just eight weeks.
METRO TRAINS – DUMB WAYS TO DIE
by McCann Melbourne.
A song, a book, a smartphone game, interactive outdoor posters, radio advertising and tumblr GIFs – all designed to get young people to care about safety. Dumb Ways to Die uses black humour to make the point that there are many dumb ways to die, but perhaps the dumbest is doing silly things around trains – in the process it has become an internet phenomenon.
PEEK (PORTABLE EYE EXAMINATION KIT)
by Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Stewart Jordan, Dr Mario Giardini, Dr Iain Livingstone.
A tool with the potential to revolutionise the prevention of blindness in low-income countries, Peek is a smartphone-based system for comprehensive eye examinations. It is easy to use, affordable and portable, meaning that it can bring eye care to even the remotest of settings.
PUBLIC LAB FOLDABLE MINI-SPECTROMETER
by Public Lab contributors 2011-13.
The Public Lab Foldable Mini-Spectrometer folds up in minutes to transform your smartphone into a visible and near-infrared spectrometer. Developed after the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it is part of an ongoing effort by the Public Lab collaborative community to make analysis of pollutants such as crude oil cheaper and more accessible.
SIDEKICK CREATIVES – CROWDFUNDING GREAT ART & DESIGN
by Oscar Lhermitte, Philipp Figueroa, Yoav Reches, Arne Zacher, Molly Anderson, Tommaso Lanza.
Sidekick Creatives is a collective set up to support individuals and companies to realise their crowdfunding campaigns. Sidekick Creatives collaborates with fellow designers, artists and makers by offering them the necessary tools and expertise required to successfully fund their projects. Their services range from conceptualisation to video production and campaign promotion.
PRO CHAIR FAMILY
by Konstantin Grcic.
The Pro chair, which Konstantin Grcic has developed for Flötotto, features state-of-the-art ergonomics and pioneering design. The construction of the chair not only allows movement in all directions, but actively stimulates it thereby promoting healthier sitting.
RIPPLE, AN ULTRA LIGHT TIMBER TABLE
by Benjamin Hubert.
Ripple is a 2.4 metre-long dining table constructed from corrugated Sitka spruce plywood. The rippled construction allows for a very high strength to weight ratio whilst still utilising a natural material. In reducing the amount of timber used the table’s carbon footprint is decreased and it can be easily assembled and manoeuvred.
CASTLEDOWN PRIMARY SCHOOL TYPE FAMILY
by Anthony Sheret, Edd Harrington, Rupert Dunk.
Originally commissioned in 2011 as a bespoke typeface for Castledown
Primary School by headmaster Neil Small, the project soon evolved into collaboration with a vision to unify typography throughout UK primary schools. Creating a dyslexic friendly package that allows for use in every aspect of educational life – from letters the school would send to parents to a Cursive version that children would use to learn joined-up handwriting.
by ShaoLan Hsueh with Illustrations by Noma Bar.
Chineasy is an illustrated Chinese language methodology created by entrepreneur and author ShaoLan Hsueh. Chineasy’s aim is to bridge the gap between the East and the West. The system is built on a building block methodology which allows students to learn a small number of commonly occurring characters, which can then be combined to create more complex compounds and couplets. These illustrated and animated characters aim to provide both a memorable interpretation of Chinese and also a glimpse into the culture behind the language.
WORKS THAT WORK, A MAGAZINE OF UNEXPECTED CREATIVITY
by Atelier Carvalho Bernau.
Works That Work is an international magazine, covering a mix of diverse subjects connected by the theme of unexpected creativity that improves our lives. It features original, in-depth essays and stories on subjects connected with design, presenting projects that challenge and change the way the reader perceives them.
ABC SYRINGE: A BEHAVIOUR CHANGING SYRINGE
by Dr David Swann.
The ABC Syringe is a frugal innovation to combat the prolific use of non-sterile syringes. The syringe remains colourless when stored inside a sterile pack. However exposure to air triggers a controlled colour change that transforms the syringe barrel from colourless to red within a few minutes. This visual transformation alerts and empowers both literate and illiterate patients to make better risk decisions, and provokes doctors into clinical compliance.
CHAIR 4 LIFE
by Bruce Renfrew, James Williamson, Shaun Phillips, David Fawkes, Ken Poberezny, Minghao Zhou, Michael Phillips.
‘See the Child, Not the chair’ was the motivation behind this modular wheelchair system which grows with the child and allows later modifications through a standard catalogue of attachments and bespoke components. It centres on a standard chassis which is retained throughout a child’s journey, greatly reducing disruption to their lives caused by lengthy waiting times for new chair systems.
by Claudio Patrick Vollers (Co-inventor & Designer) and Henry Suzuki (Co-inventor).
Clever Caps are bottle caps which also work as building blocks. They can be collected and used on their own, but are also compatible with the world’s most popular building blocks. In this first commercial version, they were designed to fit PCO 1881 standard bottle necks, and include a tamper evident safety seal.
by Bas van Abel.
Fairphone is a social enterprise that uncovers complex systems with the aim of changing how things are made. The Fairphone is made as fairly as possible. Its transparent supply chain looks at every mineral, component, person and process to reveal the real impact of electronics production.
by Mauricio Affonso.
Luffa Lab explores the inherent qualities of Luffa fibres as an alternative to synthetic materials for a wide range of applications and durable consumer products. ‘Luffa cylindrica’ is antimicrobial, biodegradable, lightweight and highly absorbent – features that make it a viable material for applications such as low cost splints or as acoustic insulator, it can also be used as absorber of toxic dye waste from denim processes.
by Alvaro Catalan De Ocon.
Hand woven from strips of discarded plastic bottles, each lamp is a durable object which combines one of the planet’s most industrial products with one of the most down to earth artisanal techniques found in every culture.
by Dave Hakkens.
Every year millions of mobile phones are thrown away because just one part is broken. This mobile phone consists of separate components that can be ‘clicked’ together. Every component has its own function – WiFi, battery, display – and when an upgrade or repair is needed only that part is affected. The phone can also be customised for specific functions.
by Patrick Laing and Dan McMahon.
Plume is a recoiling bicycle mudguard which maintains a thin, sleek profile when protecting the rider’s back; when not needed it recoils into a tight circle under the saddle. Plume can be pulled out and recoiled while riding and is constructed from resilient materials.
by Onkar Kular & Inigo Minns.
Over the course of three months, the Risk Centre transformed the Arkitekturmuseet, Stockholm into a risk assessment facility and educational performance space. Part film set, part educational facility and part theme park, the centre recreated familiar scenes and places from the suburbs and the inner city that were then used to host a civic programme for local school groups and the general public.
by Mediated Matter Group at the MIT Media Lab.
The Silk Pavilion explores the relationship between digital and biological
fabrication on both product and architectural scales. The primary structure was created of 26 polygonal panels made of silk threads laid down by a CNC machine. 6,500 silkworms were then released on to the structure where they worked as biological ‘printers’ spinning as they moved across the panels.
THE ALCHEMIST’S DRESSING TABLE
by Lauren Davies.
A collection of tools for the production of natural cosmetics at home, inspired by ancient rituals and the transformative powers of alchemy. The palette of copper and maple wood are chosen for their traditional and folkloric symbolism respectively. Cork is used for its insulating properties, borosilicate glass for its heat resistance and stainless steel for strength. All components are fabricated in collaboration with London-based craftsmen.
THE BRADLEY TIMEPIECE
by Hyungsoo Kim, Nick Gu, David Zacher, Amanda Sim, Maeve Jopson, Cynthia Poon.
The Bradley is a tactile timepiece that allows users to not only see what time it is, but to feel what time it is. Created in collaboration with product designers, engineers, and people with vision loss, The Bradley changes the way users interact with their timepieces. It is named after Bradley Snyder who lost his vision completely in Afghanistan in 2011 serving as a bomb defuser and went on to win two gold medals and one silver in Paralympics in London in 2012.
OBREE ELECTRIC BIKE
The A2B range is the result of engineering innovation and loving attention to detail from this passionate design team, based in Berlin. The Obree features regenerative braking, a removable display and a high torque motor to assist the rider up any hill.
by Section Zero.
Pacific Inc’s 9-speed, 11.5kg IFmove unfolds in seconds and combines striking looks with rigid aluminium construction. It can also be rolled along on its 20” light weight wheels whilst folded.
ME.WE: FORWARD-THINKING CAR
by Massaud & Toyota ED2
ME.WE’s philosophy combines flexible geometry, a customisable look and environmental responsibility. It features an aluminium tubular structure, expanded polypropylene panels, electric power wheels and a bamboo interior.
For a full list of nominees see here, or better still, go down and see them in situ, here…
Designs Of The Year 2014: 26 March to 25 August 2014
Design Museum, Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YD
Opening: 10.00 -17.45 daily
Last admission: 17.15
Admissions: £12.40 Adults, £9.30 Students
Members and Under 6s free
Designs of the Year 2014 is supported by Bird & Bird