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.
- Brian Blomerth illustrates a “trippers guide” to the iPhone 64
- Alex de Mora on shooting Vice parties and famous footballers
- Natacha Paschal’s “deformed” interpretations of mag covers and fashion ads
- Leipzig graphic design studio Lamm & Kirch on their shared ethos
- Photographer Adrian Samson plays with space and perspective in this series of “still lifes”
- Photographer Sophie Green captures pagans at Stonehenge's summer solstice
- “Evolve or die”: Bloomberg Businessweek creative director Rob Vargas on the magazine’s redesign
- Southbank Centre visual identity redesigned by North, to be a “confident masthead” for the institution
- Photographer Khadija Saye has died in the Grenfell Tower fire, her family confirm
- The Buzzfeed redesign: UK art director Tim Lane talks us through his seven-month overhaul
- Alex Norris’ hilarious three-panelled webcomics are universally appealing
- Fresh Yale grad Franci Virgili applies an academic approach to graphic design