The Design Museum’s Designs of the Year show opened last night. As usual, there’s an eclectic array of projects, from the worthy to the quirky, but it’s difficult to spot a frontrunner for the big prize
If anyone’s ever challenged you with the old “what is design?” question, sending them along to the Design Museum show would be a good place to start. Its breadth, from fashion to vehicle design (Sadie Williams dress and VW XL1 car shown above), type to architecture really brings home the multifacted potential of design today.
Model of Makoko Floating School
But this diversity also poses a problem for the judges who convene on Monday March 31 with the unenviable task of choosing a Design of the Year. Comparing projects so different in intent, scale and budget is enormously difficult.
That difficulty has been offset in previous years by the presence of an obvious frontrunner at an early stage – One Laptop Per Child, for example, or last year’s winner, Gov.UK. Looking round the show last night, it was hard to think of an equivalently obvious candidate (see our post on the nominees here) but I’d suggest the ABC syringe which changes colour when exposed to air thus alerting users to its pre-use or potential exposure to infection, might fit the bill.
e-Go single-seater aircraft byGiotto Castelli, Tony Bishop, Rob Martin and Malcolm Bird
One thing that does stand out for me this year is the exhibition design. This is a really difficult show to pull together coherently. This year’s designers, Hunting & Narud with visual identity and graphic design by OK-RM, have headlined each project with a one-line explanation of its purpose: ‘A tactile watch for blind people’, for example, or ‘An identity built around the letter W’.
This proves to be a simple and highly effective way of drawing in the visitor to the more detailed information on each project which is presented on cards atop long thin stems next to each piece. It also provides a kind of snapshot sense of what the show is all about as you look aroudn the room – great ideas to improve our lives. But which deserves to be Design of the Year?
MEWE car, Musem Jumex model
Hybrid 24 electric bicycle by A2B
Iro Collection by Jo Nagasaka.
Prada SS14 Collection by Miuccia Prada. All above images by Luke Hayes
Grand-Central by Thibault Brevet
Vitamins’ Lego Calendar and Anthony Sheret, Edd Harrington and Rupert Dunk’s Castledown Primary School Type Family
Designs of the Year, supported by Bird & Bird, runs until August 25 at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1