The much-anticipated Designs of the Year 2013 exhibition is open, showcasing the most innovative and imaginative designs from around the world. The Design Museum invited a selection of trusted friends and colleagues to nominate their favourite projects from the past 12 months. These are practicing architects and designers, academics and design tutors, journalists and writers, plus curators from other museums and institutions.
Designs of the Year creates a platform and an opportunity for young designers to be recognised and displayed alongside established design names. Previous winners such as the Folding Plug and the Plumen light bulb have seen prototypes and original ideas become mass manufactured consumer goods sold throughout the world.
The overall winner of this prestigious award, known as ‘the Oscars of the design world’, will be announced in April. The jury this year consists of the founder of Disegno Magazine Johanna Agerman Ross, architect Amanda Levete, CBE Olga Polizzi, Journalist Sarah Raven, actor and presenter Griff Rhys Jones and winner of the D&AD Black Pencil Nicolas Rooper. They will be chaired by head of Studioilse, Ilse Crawford. See here for more details on the jury.
The exhibition opened at the Design Museum on March 20 and runs through to July 7 2013, so there’s plenty of time to get there, but in the meantime here are some of the designs that particularly caught our eye.
Featuring over 90 designs, the exhibition categories include Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport.
ASTLEY CASTLE, WARWICKSHIRE Designed by Witherford Watson Mann. Sensitive renewal of this dilapidated castle in rural Warwickshire – the ancient shell forms a container for a dynamic series of interior contemporary spaces. The rebirth of Astley in this elegantly assured, thoughtful project presents a strong new line of attack for future interactions with old buildings.
BOOK MOUNTAIN, SPIJKENISSE Designed by MVRDV. In an age where virtual reading is rapidly replacing the desire for physical books MVRDV have created a glorious public library contained by a glass-enclosed structure and a pyramid roof. Corridors and platforms bordering the book mountain are accessed by a network of stairs to allow visitors to browse the tiers of shelves. A continuous 480m route culminates at the peak’s reading room and cafe, with panoramic views through the transparent roof.
HOME FOR ALL Designed by Akihisa Hirata, Sou Fujimoto, Kumiko Inui, Toyo Ito and Naoya Hatakeyama. Presented at the Venice 2012 Architecture Biennale, Home for All has set out to create ‘home-like’ spaces, shared by the community, for all the people who lost their homes in the 2011 tsunami in north-eastern Japan.
LA TOUR BOIS-LE-PRÊTRE, PARIS Designed by Druot, Lacaton and Vassal. The striking transformation of a run-down building in northern Paris created an alternative approach to the physical and social redevelopment of decaying post-war housing. It stands as a persuasive argument against the demolition of a whole generation of much maligned tower blocks. Each apartment was expanded with an outer layer of balconies and frugal windows were replaced with walls of glass.
METROPOLITAN ARTS CENTRE, BELFAST Designed by Hackett Hall McKnight. The MAC is literally and figuratively a beacon in the revitalisation of the cities downtown area. Wedged between two existing buildings on a hemmed-in corner plot, the glazed tower sits atop the volcanic stone facade of this multi-purpose meeting place, serving the visual and performing arts.
RAIN ROOM Designed by Random International. Random International’s largest and most ambitious installation yet – situated in the Curve at the Barbican – is a 100 sq m field of falling water for visitors to walk through and experience how it might feel to control the rain. On entering, visitors hear the sound of water and feel moisture in the air, before discovering that the thousands of falling droplets are responding to their presence and movement, and that they’re not getting wet at all.
RASPBERRY PI COMPUTER Designed by Raspberry Pi Foundation. The idea behind this tiny and cheap computer for kids came when Eben Upton and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge’s became concerned about the numbers of A Level students applying to read Computer Science with little computer experience. They wanted to do something about the situation where computers had become so expensive that programming experimentation on them had to be forbidden by parents. Now developing countries are interested in the Raspberry Pi in areas that simply can’t afford to run traditional desktop PCs; hospitals and museums want the Raspberry Pi to drive display devices; and parents with disabled kids have talked to them about developing monitoring applications.
ENGLISH HEDGEROW Designed by Jason Jameson, James Hall and Rhys Griffin of Unanico Group, with Andrew Tanner Design and Royal Winton. English Hedgerow is a modern chintz design brought to life with cutting edge augmented reality technology. A free, downloadable English Hedgerow app generates a magical augmented reality experience with naturalistic animation and hedgerow sounds, by pointing the camera of an iPhone/iPad/iPod at the decorative pattern.
FREE UNIVERSAL CONSTRUCTION KIT Designed by Free Art and Technology Lab and Sy-Lab. A collection of 3D-printable models that are freely available to download from the net, allows the sharing of nearly 80 adapter modules that enable you to mix and match the 10 most loved children’s toys – from Lego, Duplo and Fischertechnik, to K’nex, Krinkles and Tinkertoys. Any of the pieces can be joined to each other, enabling the creation of previously impossible designs and ultimately more creative opportunities – offering constructive play way beyond the short-lived lifecycle of a toy.
WIND MAP Designed by Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Bertini Viegas. The Wind Map is an online application that pulls information from the publicly-available National Digital Forecast database in the USA. So what you see is the delicate tracery of wind flowing over the landscape, using different shades to signify different speeds and directions. The patterns are arrestingly beautiful, but also useful, as viewers checking out the map in its first week online saw ominous whorls in Texas; soon after that, tornadoes struck there.
CANDLES IN THE WIND Designed by Moritz Waldemeyer for Ingo Maurer. Candles in the Wind is a revolutionary new lighting concept, using modern LED technology to recreate the experience of light from a candle flame. The minimal design is a bare circuit board featuring the latest in micro-processor technology paired with 256 high quality LEDs to evoke the natural flow and flicker of a candle.
THE SEA CHAIR Designed by Studio Swine & Kieren Jones. Since the discovery of the Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997, which is predicted to measure twice the size of Texas, five more have been found across the world’s oceans. The ‘Sea Chair’ is made entirely from plastic recovered from our oceans. In collaboration with Kieren Jones, Studio Swine has created devices to collect and develop marine debris into a series of stools.
LIQUID GLACIAL TABLE Designed by Zaha Hadid. The Liquid Glacial design embeds surface complexity and refraction within a powerful fluid dynamic. The elementary geometry of the flat table top appears transformed from static to fluid by the subtle waves and ripples evident below the surface, while the table’s legs seem to pour from the horizontal in a vortex of frozen water.
GRAVITY STOOL Designed by Jolan Van Der Wiel. Jolan Van Der Wiel developed a ‘magnet machine’, whereby he positions magnetic fields above and below a bowl of polarised material, containing metal shavings. In order to form his furniture, the hanging units are pulled down and then released. The substance follows, drawn upwards by magnetic force, and gravity determines the shape of the stool.
WELL PROVEN CHAIR Designed by James Shaw and Marjan van Aubel. The Well Proven Chair is the result of research into the development of wood chips. The investigation began with the discovery that products and furniture made from wood generate between 50-80% waste in the form of sawdust, chippings and shavings. By combining these waste products with bio-resin, it turns to a porridge-like mixture and expands into a solid. With the addition of water, or increased temperatures, it can expand up to 700%. This material is used to create the seat shell, combined with a simple, elegantl leg structure of turned ash.
TIÉ PAPER CHAIR Designed by Pinwu. The preservation and reinvention of traditional craft techniques, through their application in contemporary products, continues to be a vital role for designers. The Tié Chair is inspired by the crafts of Yuhang, an ancient Chinese district in Zhejiang Province. The shell is made from irregularly shaped rice paper sheets, usually used to make paper umbrellas, layered into a mould. The shape echoes the classic Chinese horseshoe armchair from the Ming Dynasty.
100 CHAIRS Designed by Marni. Colombian craftsmen worked with Milan-based fashion house Marni to create a collection of 100 colourful woven chairs. They are made by ex-convicts in Colombia, who are re-assimilating into social and professional life. Using salvaged materials, the chairs are constructed from metal frames, with multi-coloured PVC threads woven around the seat backs and armrests. The style is traditionally Colombian, updated with Marni’s reinterpretation of pattern and colour.
RE-IMAGINED CHAIRS Designed by Studiomama. Nina Tolstrup and Jack Mama turned to their locality in East London to provide inspiration and the raw materials for their Re-Imagined Chairs. Salvaged metal frames from discarded chairs were collected, cleaned and powder coated in bright colours. The varying bulbous seat and back sections breath new life into previously unwanted furniture. London-based Studiomama is a project born out of questioning resourcefulness and attitudes towards waste.
ENGINEERING TEMPORALITY Designed by Studio Markunpoika. Using small circular sections of tubular steel Tuomas Markunpoika semi-covered existing objects, including cabinets and chairs, and then burnt away the original piece, leaving the charred steel structure behind. The work was inspired by the designer’s Grandmother, who was suffering from Alzheimers. Engineering Temporality evokes the idea of vanishing memory.
AUSTRIA SOLAR ANNUAL REPORT Designed by Serviceplan. Austria Solar teamed up with design group Serviceplan to create a beautiful and uniquely apt presentation of their annual report – printed with special ink that only materialises when exposed to the sun.
DEKHO: CONVERSATIONS ON DESIGN IN INDIA Designed by CoDesign. DEKHO is an anthology of inspirational conversations with designers in India, probing their stories in the development of design and highlighting approaches that are unique to India.
AUSTRALIAN CIGARETTE PACKAGING Commissioned by Australian Government Department for Health and Ageing. Unappealing olive green packaging (Pantone 448C) is now required by law in Australia; this is the graphic identity for all cigarette packets, regardless of brand. Based on consumer studies, the pack is carefully designed to be a tool for social change, featuring a hard-hitting anti-smoking image with plain text.
OLYMPIC CAULDRON Designed by Heatherwick Studio. At just 8.5m high and weighing 16 tonnes, it is far smaller and lighter than previous Olympic Cauldrons. Heatherwick Studio incorporated 204 individual copper ‘petals’, each carried at the opening ceremony by participating countries to create an iconic image, not only for the Olympics, but also for London.
E-SOURCE Designed by Hal Watts. E-source provides a sustainable cable recycling system for small scale recyclers in developing countries. It consists of an innovative bicycle powered cable granulator and a cunningly simple device to separate copper and plastic using water. Un-burnt copper can be sold for up to 20% more than burnt, so the system provides a better income for workers and much healthier working conditions. The designs will be made available to local workshops, who would produce the machines and sell them to the recyclers.
CHILD VISION GLASSES Designed by The Centre for Vision in the Developing World and Goodwin Hartshorn. This project points to the future of product design. It is both elegant and ethical, supporting the 60 million short sighted children in the developing world who lack access to eye care. The design is based on a fluid-filled lens technology, which is lightweight and simple and low cost to manufacture. These self-adjustable glasses allow the wearer, under the supervision of, for instance, a school teacher, to tweak the lenses until they focus clearly.
W127 LAMP Designed by Dirk Winkel for Wästberg. Berlin-based product designer Dirk Winkel created this slim black desk lamp, featuring a multi-chip LED, to show that a new bio-plastic material can be as solid and tactile as metal or wood. The bio-plastic is derived from castor oil, taken from the castor plant which does not compete with worldwide food production due to different agricultural requirements.
REPLICATOR 2 Designed by MakerBot. This fourth generation 3D printing machine from MarkerBot has a massive 410 cubic inch build volume and is the easiest, fastest, and most affordable tool for making professional quality models at home.
3D PRINTED EXOSKELETON ‘MAGIC ARMS’ Designed by Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. The duPont Hospital for Children has been treating children suffering with musculoskeletal disabilities. As part of their research and development, duPont’s Department of Orthopedics developed WREX – the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton. It gives kids with muscle weakness much better movement and the ability to lift objects – but, being made of metal, it is too heavy to use on smaller children. The team saw the potential of using 3D modelling with plastics and consequently developed ‘Magic Arms’, a wearable plastic jacket, which offers the same aid as WREX, but in a form that a child weighing only 25 pounds can wear.
KIOSK 2.0 Designed by Unfold Studio. Inspired by the carts used by Berlin’s currywürst vendors, Kiosk 2.0 works as a mobile 3D printing station that brings design out of the studio and onto the streets, providing such things as fixes for broken shoes, hacked downloads of designer products, or gifts for relatives’ birthdays.
OIGEN KITCHENWARE Designed by Jasper Morrison/Japan Creative. The Japan earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 brought to light the fact that true wealth in life does not lie in material affluence. Throughout history, the Japanese design aesthetic has been acknowledged for its simplicity. Japan Creative is a non-profit organisation set up to draw attention to ancient and modern crafts, which bring new life to businesses by inviting contemporary designers to collaborate with them. Together with Jasper Morrison they have produced a series of minimalist cast-iron products. The vessels are both a healthy way to cook and are environmentally friendly – they release a small amount of iron into your food and can last for up to 100 years.
TEKIO Designed by Anthony Dickens. Teiko is a modular lighting system inspired by traditional Japanese ‘Chōchin’ paper lanterns. Tekio, the Japanese word for ‘adaptation’, can morph to suit any interior by changing its shape and style.
LITTLE SUN Designed by Olafur Eliasson and Frederik Ottesen. Developed over the last two years, Little Sun is a work of art that brings solar-powered light to the 1.6 billion people worldwide in the off-grid areas of the world. To coincide with the launch Tate Modern organised a series of late night ‘blackouts’, where visitors could learn about solar power and global energy problems, and make light graffiti. It’s also designed to allow local distributors in developing countries to profit from selling the product.
COLALIFE Designed by Simon Berry. ColaLife is an independent non-profit organisation run and staffed by volunteers in developing countries to distribute ‘social products’ – in this case simple medicines, such as oral rehydration salts, high dose vitamin A and water purification tablets that can save children’s lives. The AidPod KIt design is a clever wedge-shaped container that fits between the necks of the bottles in a crate of Coca Cola, making use of unused space. It also functions as a measuring jug, a mixer and a cup.
FLYKNIT TRAINERS Designed by Nike. Exceptionally lightweight, the Nike Flyknit Trainer features Nike’s Flyknit technology for structure, support and a precision fit that creates the feeling of a second skin. The one-piece knitted form features areas of stretch, breathability and support exactly where the runner needs it. The minimal use of material reduces waste off-cuts and yields a total weight of 160 grams, making it the lightest running shoe Nike has ever produced.
MORPH FOLDING WHEEL Designed by Vitamins for Maddak Inc. The wheelchair is re-invented, with the development of a foldable wheel. This chair design can be folded to fit into the storage compartments of airplanes, the boot of a small cars, or a wardrobe at home – taking up only 12 litres of space. The wheel has been developed with support from the Royal College of Art, the Wingate Foundation and the James Dyson Foundation.
AIR ACCESS SEAT Designed by Priestmangoode. Facilitating an easier transition between gate to aircraft, Air Access is composed of two components: a detachable wheelchair, which passengers are assisted into at their departure gate, and in which they are transported on and off the airliner; and a fixed-frame aisle seat, already on board, into which the wheelchair seamlessly slides and locks into place as a regular airline seat.
i3 CONCEPT CAR Designed by BMW. The BMW i3 Concept with eDrive is a sustainable vehicle designed for urban areas. Powered by innovative eDrive technology, the coupe not only generates zero emissions but also provides a calm, virtually silent driving experience, for up to 100 miles before requiring charging. Through itsoptional fast charging, the battery can be replenished to 80% charge in less than 30 minutes.
MANDO FOOTLOOSE CHAINLESS BICYCLE Designed by Mark Sanders. Like other bicycles the Footloose combines manual and electric power. However, unlike other similar machines, it totally eliminates the chain and transforms the cyclist’s efforts directly into electricity to drive the wheels. This energy is then stored in a lithium-ion battery inside the bike frame, before it is converted back into kinetic energy by an electric motor which drives the rear wheel.
DONKY BICYCLE Designed by Ben Wilson. The steel beam running through this compact bicycle, by British industrial designer Ben Wilson, means it can carry heavy loads on its front and rear platforms, plus, the 20 inch wheels add stability and easy handling in urban traffic.
EXHIBITION ROAD Designed by Dixon Jones/ The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Exhibition Road is a £28m development project to improve the infrastructure of, and access to facilities within the Exhibition Road area. Led by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in partnership with the City of Westminster and the Mayor of London, this elegant shared-use scheme transforms a cluttered inaccessible main road into a major European cultural quarter. But can cars, buses, cyclists and pedestrians get along without road rage, or worse? According to an evaluation commissioned in 2012, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
TOUCH&TRAVEL Designed by DB Mobility Logistics AG. Simplifying payment has been a long standing promise of the digital revolution. As smart phones increasingly become our universal wallets and billing devices, Germany’s state owned railway company, Deutsche Bahn, has been at the forefront of innovating ticketing for urban public transport. This system allows multi-mode travel by using your mobile phone to record your journeys. It also generates a monthly bill that can be taken from your direct debit.