We can all pretend that we don’t care that much about design awards but the truth is that it’s always interesting to see who wins what; particularly when it comes to the Design Museum’s prestigious Designs of the Year. This morning the seven category winners were announced and they are as below; the overall winner will be announced on 30 June and the show continues until 25 August.
Architecture – Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher: Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku Azerbajan
Judge Piers Gough of CZWG Architects LLP said: “‘An intoxicatingly beautiful building by the most brilliant architect at the height of her office’s powers.
It’s swooning fluid on the outside and inside, belieing its size and complexity. The thousand and one geometrical junctions are consummately mastered and segue seamlessly into each other. Sitting atop a swooping zigzag landscape that would be a winner even without the building. It is as pure and sexy as Marilyn’s blown skirt.
“Without an ounce of awkward argumentative modernism in its bones. It rather reads like a sweet love letter to Zaha’s homelands.”
Digital – Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Stewart Jordan, Dr Mario Giardini, Dr Iain Livingstone: PEEK (Portable Eye Examination Kit)
Judge Ben Terrett said: "What’s great about PEEK is that being digital helps it do things that we couldn’t do before. It’s a portable optician – the camera can look at your eyes, the flash from the camera can hit the back of your eye and get a picture, you can use it as an eye test sight card, and you can then send the results to wherever you want in the world. It also feels like it can scale, you can get the kit to millions of people really quickly in one go – another advantage of digital.
“PEEK is enabling teachers in schools to test the eyes of kids without having to go to an optician and that feels like a really good use of digital technology.”
Fashion – Miuccia Prada: Prada S/S 14
Judge Frith Kerr said: “Prada’s SS14 collection loudly declares the joy of being a modern woman. It mixes colours, textures, and paintings to leapfrog over the world of tasteful bland fashion. This is serious clothing that doesn’t take itself seriously.”
Furniture – Konstantin Grcic: Pro Chair Family
Judge Kim Colin said: “No one on the jury had to argue the case for this exceptional chair – we just had to sit in it. Instantly its effect on the body is tangible and the mind can be satisfied with the balance struck between its material finesse, presence and purpose. It should absolutely shake up the educational sector and give students a truly happier experience in the classroom because it is seriously comfortable and joyous without risk of becoming a cartoon.”
Graphics – James Bridle/booktwo.org: Drone Shadows
Jury chair Ekow Eshun said: “It’s a provocative work, it’s a playful work, it’s also a political work that asks us to look at the world around us that we think we know and see something different there. We thought it was an important piece of work and we also thought it enabled graphics as a category to really expand, and to ask new questions in new ways.”
Product – Roland Lamb and Hong-Yeul Eom: The Seabord Grand
Judge Kim Colin said: “This intriguing new digital instrument is the first I’ve seen that departs from an analogue piano typology and adds something new via its surface interface and design – lending some new musical freedom within a very controlled aesthetic. As a result of its design, the player knows the instrument can do the ‘something else’ that digital can uniquely provide, that an analogue piano doesn’t. Apparently it’s very intuitive for musicians and makes experimentation easy – I think we all enjoyed having a go.”
Transport – Volkswagen: XL1 car
Jury chair Ekow Eshun said: "Here is a car that seems like it’s come out of a dream of the future, it’s refined, it’s elegant, it can go for miles and miles on a single tank of petrol and it looks beautiful, dangerous almost, in its dramatic shapes and lines.
“Nothing has gone to waste here – all of this is about going as far as you can on as little as possible. It succeeds as a concept for what a car could be, for almost what a car should be in the future, except it exists now.”