Designs of the Year

I must admit I don’t often think about how design is all around me. I could say it is embedded in my life, from when I wake up to when I go to bed. My alarm clock, the typography in my book, the label on my favourite bottle of plonk and the lamp I switch off at night.

If you think design is just function, think again. Immerse yourself in the top floor of The Design Museum with their Designs of the Year exhibition.

This array of international pieces span: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport. Feast your eyes on this ‘look book’ across the design spectrum for the museums Design Awards. A high profile judging panel decide the best entries in each of the seven categories. The category award winners and the overall winner of the Design of the Year Award shall be announced in April 2012.

Turning function on its head, the Design Museum display also includes works poking fun at design in computer functions with – Your Browser Sent A Request That This Server Could Not Understand – an illustrated depiction of the internet by Koen Taselaar.

Designs of the Year looks outside the box; not just new spangled technology or expensive materials. Noma Bar (above) produces simple shapes, that reveal hidden possibilities, whose negative and positive spaces draw the eye every time. There are designs that are simplistic, that save lives. The Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno (below) is astonding in its clean back to basics design that could help thousands.


The Earthquake Proof Table


Shopping online and on the move is nothing new but South Korea have taken mobile and digital aspects to the next level. Homeplus Tesco Virtual Store is the result – below. Choose your item from their virtual store!

Holographic shopping en route home?Augmented reality is given a breath of fresh air by Swappu, creating a ‘holo-deck’ feel, well, okay it’s not quite up to Star Trek level. The animations are great and the playfulness of it will be a hit for kids. Its a soft and easily lovable digital world that shall no doubt advance rapidly.

See the app in action here >

© 2012 Dentsu London

One Thousand Cranes for Japan is a charity project that aims to inspire and bring people together to be part of a final creation. Members of the public can choose, download and print off the paper designs to fold into their own origami creation. A chance to be part of the designs final creation, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s not meant to be.

Image by Anomaly/Unit9

The Comedy Carpet (below images) takes typography bold and big. It reminds us font is more than just Arial and Times New Roman selected on a computer screen. This gigantic installation, created by Why Not Associates, sprawls out in front of the Blackpool Tower and features over 160,000 granite letters embedded in concrete. It refers to the work of more than 1,000 comedians and comedy writers, giving a visual form to jokes, songs and catchphrases.

The Comedy Carpet in progress

Comedy Carpet, Blackpool

The Crates (below) by Naihan Li & Co is a product that is a must for the clothes obsessed, and those who need organisation of all their essential fashion items. See just how functional a plain industrial looking crate can be, reacting to our clothing hoarding and need for storage.

This work is in stark contrast to Sarah Burton‘s now infamous handmade lace that’s delicately on display. This painstakingly handcrafted work was stitched into the nations memories on Kate Middleton’s wedding dress.

The wide spectrum at the Designs of the Year should open up your eyes to the flexibility and intricacy of design and its ability to problem solve, whilst looking back to the past for inspiration.

With mass market production all to easy to snub, design is at an exciting point; using mass production processes to save lives but taking us back to simplicity, creating unique angles on our lives.

The Designs of the Year exhibition runs 8 February – 4 July at The Design Museum. For tickets and information click me!

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