In recent years the 2012 Olympic Torch, the UK government website and the Plumen lightbulb have scooped the Design Museum’s prestigious Designs of the Year title; last night Zaha Hadid’s Azerbajani cultural centre joined the illustrious list.
The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku beat off competition from the other category winners including a reimagined piano and a portable eye examination kit to claim its crown as the single best design completed in the last year.
The architect says the building “breaks from the rigid and often monumental Soviet architecture that is so prevalent in Baku, aspiring instead to express the sensibilities of Azeri culture and the optimism of a nation that looks to the future” while one of the judges Piers Gough praised: “An intoxicatingly beautiful building by the most brilliant architect at the height of her office’s powers.”
He went on: “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.”
This year visitors to the Designs of the Year exhibition were also invited to vote for their favourite and young Dutch designer Dave Hakkens’ amazing modular mobile phone Phone Bloks (below) came out as a well deserved winner..
Designs of the Year runs until 25 August at The Design Museum.
- Curator Shonagh Marshall takes us through the highlights from Hair by Sam McKnight
- Yeji Yun’s imaginative zine combines frozen lands, whales and cocktails
- Zhang Kechun encapsulates the oblivion of China's mysterious Yellow River
- Artist Anna Valdez brings her eye for detail to digital painting
- Bold in its broadness, the work of Dave Singley
- Córdova Canillas seek inspiration between nostalgia and obsolescence for C de C annual
- Reasons Not To Do Graphic Design by Yotam Hadar
- Nostalgia in branding: top design studios analyse the NatWest and Co-op retrobrands
- Google and Monotype launch Noto, an open-source typeface family for all the world’s languages
- The only way is ethics: what are the moral obligations of a graphic designer?
- Rachel Levit illustrates contemporary relationships in new book
- Creative agency INT Works relaunches as Anyways, with a playful graphic identity