The winners in each category of the Brit Insurance Design Awards 2009 have been announced, ahead of an overall winner that will be revealed at a gala ceremony at the Design Museum in London on March 18.
The Design Awards have seven categories – architecture, fashion, furniture, graphics, interactive, product and transport. The exhibition of the awards, currently on show at the Design Museum, contains several entries in each category, which have all been nominated by critics, curators and design practitioners. These have been whittled down to a shortlist of seven who are now vying for the top accolade of Brit Insurance Design of the Year.
The panel of judges this year consists of broadcaster Alan Yentob, MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, designer and environmentalist Karen Blincoe, architect Peter Cook, fashion critic Sarah Mower, and last year’s winner, designer Yves Béhar.
The judges chose Italian Vogue: A Black Issue, July 2008 (shown top) as their winner in the fashion category. “Deemed a cultural watershed, A Black Issue firmly placed the debate about the lack of black models in the fashion industry to the very forefront of the fashion world’s consciousness as well as causing widespread debate outside fashion circles,” said the judges of their choice.
Shepard Fairey’s Barack Obama poster is the winner in the graphics category. The judges commented that “if there ever were to be a ‘poster of the year’, the Obama poster would be it. The US election was a watershed in contemporary history and this poster demonstrates the power of communicating ideas and aspirations from grass-root level. Just as the presidential candidate’s campaign speeches recaptured the lost art of oratory, so this poster breathed new life into a form that had lost its purpose.”
Make Magazine is the interactive category winner. “Make Magazine is a website and blog that has created a remarkable resource through which to explore the process of making,” say the judges. “It is much more sophisticated than your everyday DIY website; Make Magazine presents you with unusual blueprints in which the users own input and customisation are both of practical and social value.”
The Magno Wooden Radio, designed by Singgih S Kartono, won in the product category. “The radio reflects a sense of purpose in the wider design context,” say the judges. “The designer has brought together local crafts people, teaching them new skills in making and assembling the radio, and by using local wood has brought a positive and sustainable infrastructure to a small community.”
In transport, the Line-J Medellin Metro Cable in Colombia, designed by Poma, took the category prize. “This is a great example of how to re-appropriate an already successful cable car envisaged for ski slopes into a mass transit system for the urban poor,” say the judges.
In furniture, Konstantin Grcic’s MYTO Chair was the winner and is described as a “design classic” by the judges. “It is tough creating a design classic, but the MYTO might just have achieved this through its rigorous experimentation and research, resulting in the technically very difficult outcome of a cantilevered plastic chair,” they say.
Finally, in architecture it was the New Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta which won the category award this year. “This is more than a beautifully designed building and an opera house,” say the judges, “it’s a living part of the city, a place for music, but also an outdoor space, somewhere all kinds of people like to go. Its mix of indoor and outdoor spaces attracts not just opera enthusiasts. It’s a building that gives people the chance to roam through, across and on top of it, all the way from sea to roof level.”
The Brit Insurance Designs of the Year exhibition will be on show at the Design Museum until June 14. More info is at designmuseum.org.