Brit Insurance Designs of the Year Award: The Nominations

Eager to find out how 2010 fared in design terms? Across all design fields, from architecture to graphics, product design to interactive? Well, the Design Museum in London has the answer (well, one answer) for you, with the announcement of this year’s Brit Insurance Designs of the Year Award nominations.

A Love Letter For You, USA, designed by Stephen Powers with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Eager to find out how 2010 fared in design terms? Across all design fields, from architecture to graphics, product design to interactive? Well, the Design Museum in London has the answer (well, one answer) for you, with the announcement of this year’s Brit Insurance Designs of the Year Award nominations.

The nominations for the BIDY awards are in seven categories, each representing one area of design: architecture, fashion, furniture, graphics, interactive, product, and transport are all featured. All entries have been put forward by people within the design industry, including CR’s Patrick Burgoyne, and the pieces nominated will be shown together at the Design Museum from February 16, in a bumper exhibition that aims to provide a snapshot of the last year in design.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, UK, designed by A Practice For Everyday Life // Published by Visual Editions

As in previous years, this will be an eclectic exhibition, with nominations from 2010 including the Angry Birds game (by Rovio Mobile), Yves Behar’s Swarovski Chandeliers, the Apple iPad, Gareth Pugh’s Spring/Summer ’11 clothing collection, and UVA’s Speed of Light installation, commissioned by Virgin Media. Combining so many genres of design in one show can result in a slightly incoherent display, but the BIDY Awards do offer a clear sense of the impact and importance of design to the world we live in, and how far its reach now stretches.

Speed of Light, UK, designed by United Visual Artists // Commissioned by Virgin Media

After the show has been open to the public for a month, a judging panel chaired by design writer and curator Stephen Bayley (and featuring novelist Will Self, graphic designer Mark Farrow, and Poke and Fray founder Simon Waterfall) will pick one design of the year from across the seven categories. Our money is on the iPad picking up this year’s award, but what do you think?

The full list of nominees are below. They make for a good list, but does this say 2010 in design to you? What’s missing? The list is dominated by design from Europe and the US – is this a flaw of the nomination system or is the best design simply coming from these regions? Are there works you feel shouldn’t have been included? Please give us your views in the comments box below.

1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, USA, Robert Wennett // Herzog & de Meuron


1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, USA
Robert Wennett // Herzog & de Meuron
A Forest for a Moon Dazzler, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Benjamin Garcia Saxe
Balancing Barn, Suffolk, UK
Mvrdv // Co-architect: Mole Architects // Client: Living Architecture
Burj Khalif, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) // Client: EMAAR
Concrete Canvas Shelters, UK
Concrete Canvas (Peter Brewin, William Crawford and Phillip Greer)
Ladakh Commonwealth Peace Pavilion and Classroom, Tibet
Sergio Palleroni // Basic Initiative
Media-Tic Building, Barcelona
Enric Ruiz-Geli // Cloud 9
Nottingham Contemporary, UK
Caruso St John Architects // Client: Nottingham City Council
Open-Air-Library Magdeburg, Germany
Karo Architekten // Architektur+Netzwerk // Cllient: Landeshaupstadt Magdeburg
Stonebridge Hillside Hub, Greater London
Edward Cullinan Architects // Client: Hyde Housing Association/Hillside Action Trust
Tape installations, Austria // Croatia
Numen / For Use
UK Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010, China
Thomas Heatherwick Studio
University of Oxford: Department of Earth Sciences, UK
Wilkinson Eyre Architects // Client: University of Oxford
Vitrahaus – Weil am Rhine, Germany
Herzog & de Meuron // Client: Vitra Verwaltungs gmbh
Void House, Belgium
Gon Zifroni in collaboration with Pom-Archi

Gareth Pugh Spring/Summer ’11, UK

Comme des Garçons Trading Museum Tokyo, Japan
Designed and conceived by Rei Kawakubo
Gareth Pugh Spring/Summer ’11, UK
Designed by Gareth Pugh
Lanvin Spring/Summer ’11, France
Designed by Alber Elbaz
Margaret Howell Plus Shirt, UK
Designed by Kenneth Grange and Margaret Howell
Melonia Shoe, Sweden
Designed by Naim Josefi and Souzan Youssouf
Ohne Titel Spring/Summer ’11, USA
Designed by Flora Gill and Alexa Adams
Organic Jewellery Collection, Brazil
Designed by Flavia Amadeu
Tess Giberson Spring/Summer ’11, Shift, USA
Designed by Tess Giberson // Carol Bove // Alia Raza
Uniqlo +J Autumn/Winter’10
Designed by Jil Sander for Uniqlo

Vigna Chair, Italy, designed by Martino Gamper // Manufactured by Magis

Branca, Italy
Designed by Industrial Facility, Sam Hecht, Kim Colin, Ippei Matsumoto
Collec+ors Collection, Australia
Designed by Khai Liew // Kirsten Coelho // Gwyn Hanssen Pigott // Bruce Nuske // Prue Venables // Julie Blyfield // Jessica Loughlin
Drop Table, Italy
Designed by Junya Ishigami // Manufactured by Living Divani
Dune, Austria
Designed by Rainer Mutsch // Manufactured by Eternit
Endless, Netherlands
Designed by Dirk Vander Kooij
Origin Part I: Join, Netherlands
Designed by BCXSY in collaboration with Mr Tanaka
Plytube, UK
Designed by Seongyong Lee
Sayl Task Chair, USA
Designed by Yves Behar and Fuseproject // Manufactured by Herman Miller
Solo Bench, Brazil
Designed by Domingos Totora // Manufactured by Touch
Spun, Italy
Designed by Thomas Heatherwick Studio // Manufactured by Magis
Thin Black Lines, Japan
Designed by Nendo // Exhibited by Phillips de Pury & Company at the Saatchi Gallery, London
Vigna Chair, Italy
Designed by Martino Gamper // Manufactured by Magis

Four Corners Familiars Series, UK, designed by John Morgan Studio and collaborators


A Love Letter For You, USA
Designed by Stephen Powers with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Coalition of the Willing, UK
Direction and production by Knife Party // Written by Tim Rayner // Voiceover artist Colin Tierne
Design Criminals Edible Catalogue, Austria
Designed by Andreas Pohancenik
Four Corners Familiars Series, UK
Designed by John Morgan Studio and collaborators
Homemade is Best, Sweden
Designed by Forsman & Bodenfors for Ikea
Irma Boom: Biography in Books, Netherlands
Designed by Irma Boom // Published by Grafsiche Cultuurstichting
I Wonder, Canada
Written, illustrated and designed by Marian Bantjes // Published by Thames & Hudson
London College of Communication Summer Show ’10, UK
Designed by Studio Myserscough
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, UK
Designed by A Practice For Everyday Life // Published by Visual Editions
Unit Editions, UK
Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy

Angry Birds, Finland, designed by Rovio Mobile

Angry Birds, Finland

Designed by Rovio Mobile
Cellscope, USA

Designed by Professor Daniel Fletcher and the Cellscope Team // Aardman Animation // Wieden + Kennedy // Commissioned by Nokia
E.chromi, UK

Designed by Alexandra Daisy Ginsburg // James King // In collaboration with Cambridge University’s Igem Team
Flipboard, USA

Designed by Mike Mccue and Evan Doll
Guardian Eyewitness app, UK

Designed by the Guardian Technology Team (Jonathan Moore, Alastair Dent, Andy Rockie, Martin Redington and Roger Tooth)
Mimosa, Italy
Designed by Jason Bruges Studio for Philips Lumiblade
Paint, UK
Designed by Greyworld for Nokia
Reactable Mobile, Spain
Designed by Reactable Systems
Rock Band 3, USA
Designed by Harmonix Music Systems
Speed of Light, UK
Designed by United Visual Artists // Commissioned by Virgin Media
The Elements iPad app, USA
Designed by Touchpress // Written byTheodore Gray
The Johnny Cash Project, USA
Chris Milk // Aaron Koblin // // Rick Rubin // The Cash Estate
Wallpaper* Custom Covers, UK
Designed and developed by Kin // Art direction by Meirion Pritchard // Content by Anthony Burrill, James Joyce, Hort, Kam Tang and Nigel Robinson
Wired Magazine app, USA
Designed and developed by Scott Dadich and Jeremy Clark // Conde Nast Digital

Dyson Air Multiplier Fan, UK, designed by James Dyson

Act Fire Extinguisher, Norway
Designed by Sigrun Vik
Amplify Chandelier, USA
Designed by Yves Behar and Fuseproject for Swarovski
Apple iPad, USA
Designed by Apple
Blueware Collection, UK
Designed by Studio Glithero
Contemplating Monolithic Design, Italy
Created by Barberosgerby and Sony Design // Exhibition design by Universal Design Studios
Universal Gown, UK
Designed by Ben de Lisi
Diamant Coffin Series, Denmark
Designed by Jacob Jensen Design // Manufactured by Tommerup Kister
Dyson Air Multiplier Fan, UK
Designed by James Dyson
Freecom CLS Mobile Drive, Belgium // Germany
Designed by Sylvain Willenz // Manufactured by Freecom
Flying Future, Germany
Designed by Ingo Maurer
In-betweening Clock, UK
Designed by Hye-Yeon Park
Intimate Rider, USA
Designed by Alan Tholkes
Leveraged Freedom Chair, USA
Designed by Mit Mobility Laboratory
One Arm Drive System, UK
Designed and developed by Mark Owen and Jon Owen // Manufactured by Nomad Wheelchairs Ltd
Pavegen, UK
Designed by Pavegen Systems Ltd
Playing with Lego® Bricks and Paper, Japan // Denmark
Designed by Muji // Lego®
Plumen 001, UK
Concept and design direction: Hulger // Design: Samuel Wilkinson
Prampack, Norway
Designed by Kadabra Produktdesign // Invented by Anne Morkemo // Manufactured by Stokke
Quartz Series, UK
Designed by Max Lamb // Manufactured by J & L Lobmeyr, Austria
See Better to Learn Better, USA // Mexico
Designed by Yves Behar and Fuseproject // In partnership with Augen Optics
Wall piercing, Italy
Designed by Ron Gilad // Manufactured by Flos
Yii, Taiwan
Conceived by National Taiwan Craft Research Institute (NTCRI) and Taiwan Design Center (TDC) // Creative direction by Gijs Bakker

Diamant Coffin Series, Denmark, designed by Jacob Jensen Design // Manufactured by Tommerup Kister


Barclays Cycle Hire, UK
Serco // Transport for London
Dezir, France
Designed by Laurens van den Acker for Renault
En-v, USA
Designed by General Motors
Fiat 500 Twinair, Italy
Designed and developed by Fiat Style and FPT Fiat Powertrain
Riversimple, UK
Designed by Riversimple
Vanmoof no 5, Netherlands
Designed by Vanmoof
Yikebike, New Zealand
Designed by Grant Ryan

The Brit Insurance Designs of the Year exhibition opens at the Design Museum in London on February 16 and will run until August 7. For more info on the exhibition and the awards, visit


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  • i can’t quite bear to read through all the nominations, but i really enjoyed UVAs speed of light installation. hard to imagine how it will be conveyed at the design museum amongst all the other nominations though.

  • J_S

    In a time when sustainability and effeciency improvements should be key design challenges, it is dissapointing and some what shocking that the creative industry is not doing more to highlight the importance of packaging. The fact that the BIDY award fails to recognise packaging innovation further emphasies this poor state of affairs. What incentive is there to improve if work isn’t recognised by high profile awards such as this? Not including packaging in such a scheme sidelines something that really should be at the fore-front of design, particularly with the public exposure the exhibition will give to the award. As designers there is only so much we can do to educate, we need to lead by design. The arty-farty sycophants judging this award shouldn’t be handing Mr. Jobs yet another award for an over priced gadget that does nothing for sustainability, they should be rewarding the consultancy that has created a packaging solution that is sustainable whilst requiring little or no change in behaviour for the end user or is at the very least innovative in its use of resources. I’d like to point out for the record that I do not hug trees nor do I drive a Prius or a G-Whizz.

  • David Peacock IEng FIET

    I hope that the committee will not repeat the mistakes of last year when a design which would be illegal to offer for sale (Folding Plug) was honoured as the winner!

    Min-Kyu Choi completely failed to understand the requirements of BS 1363 (which is essential to sell in the UK) and appears not to understand why those requirements are essential to ensure safety. BS 1363 requires the live and neutral pins to be at least 9.5 mm from the periphery of the plug, Min-Kyu Choi’s folding wings cannot meet this requirement as there is nothing to stop the plug being used with the wings in the closed position. BS 1363 also requires that the fuse be inaccessible when the plug is in use, this is not the case in Min-Kyu Choi’s design, and is not achievable within the dimensions of his folding plug.

    To make matters worse there were already two viable designs registered (Slim Plug and Thin Plug) which conform to BS 1363

  • James

    Really interesting comment there from David Peacock.

    I must admit I was won over by the “Folding Plug” last year . However, after reading here about the BS 1363 requirements, I completely agree. Once you point out the flaws which fail the safety regulations it seams obvious how dangerous and potentially lethal the design is.

    Sure it looks beautiful but if a design can’t meet all specifications and requirements of a brief, then surely its a failure in that sense. Its simply minimalism for the sake of it, with no consideration for practicality.

    How about a re-vote on last years nominations?

  • I agree with everything that’s been said (apart from all the boring stuff about plug safety and the environment).

  • A

    UVA coz they do Crazy shit always.

  • Go on, give it to Angry Birds!

  • Andrea Carvajal

    A Forest for a Moon Dazzler is amazing and honors raw talent from young architect Benjamin Garcia from such a small country with limited access to art! AMAZING!

  • JFD

    Just been to see this exhibition and found it tremendously disappointing . . . really poorly curated and presented . . . too many dubious choices which say more about the ego of the nominator than the relevance of their nomination . . .

  • Dave Gordon

    Read the above comments about the Folding Plug and still think that with a bit more thought the folding plug would be the best one out there.
    The Slim Plug is still the same size as a normal 3 pin plug so no real improvement and the thin plug has a bonded lead out the back which again means that when coming out of a wall socket means that any item of furniture etc needs to be pulled away from the wall to allow it’s use. If you look at the website for this plug it show the current style against the slim plug which shows that this would need the lead to be moved 90 Degrees to allow it to be used effectivly