The Brit Insurance Designs of the Year show opens at the Design Museum in London from tomorrow, offering the public the chance to scrutinise the fruits of a year in the fields of graphics, architecture, product, interactive, fashion, furniture and transport…
As in previous years, the exhibition is divided up into loose themes: Home, Share, Play, City and Learn. Within these categories, work from all genres of design are exhibited. Each piece of work is accompanied by an information panel, and details of who nominated the project – every piece in the exhibition was put forward by figures in the design industry, including CR’s Patrick Burgoyne.
By the nature of the space, certain types of projects shine. Furniture, fashion and transport pieces exhibit particularly well, and seem to dominate the show. Many of the architectural and installation projects are represented only by flat images, which do not really do justice to the work, though the few occasions when models are used for these kinds of projects (such as for the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, and the wayfinding signage for the LCC, both shown above) make a big difference.
Digital projects also fade into the background a bit, although the Paint installation (shown above), which was commissioned from Greyworld for Nokia, is available for visitors to play with. The installation allows visitors to place their image into a virtual can of paint and then throw it at the wall. Fun.
The exhibition will be on show for a month before a panel of judges – led by design writer and curator Stephen Bayley and featuring novelist Will Self and graphic designer Mark Farrow – will pick a design of the year. It’s always difficult to pick one project from across so many fields of design but previous winners such as the Folding Plug designed by RCA graduate Min-Kyu Choi, Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster and Yves Béhar’s One Laptop Per Child suggest that a sense of social purpose often appeals to judges.
With that in mind, Laurence Kemball-Cook and Philip Tucker’s Pavegen paving slabs (which harness energy from footsteps to power lighting and signage displays) or another project from Béhar, the See Better Learn Better free children’s eyeglasses programme (both shown above) may be likely winners. And then, of course, there is the iPad (shown top), nominated by no less than five people this year. As a number of iPad apps also form part of the exhibition, it seems a strong contender for the prize. But of course, it all depends on the tastes of the judges, and possibly how many of the larger projects have been experienced in the ‘flesh’.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on March 15, and the exhibition can be viewed at the Design Museum until August 7.
A full list of Award nominees can be seen on our previous CR post here.
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