• Opinion-lead
Opinion

Opinion: A whirlwind look at some of the Designs of the Year runners and riders

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Editor Rob Alderson looks at the Design Museum’s shortlist for this year’s Designs of the Year and picks who he’d like to see scoop the gongs in each category. But is he right? You can join the discussion using the thread below.

There’s always a lot of interest in those who make the cut across the six Design of the Year categories but with more than 90 designs recognised it’s an overwhelming list. So here’s my picks based purely on whim and prejudice…

In architecture I was tempted to go for The Shard as its proximity to my house gives me a useful reference point wherever I am in London, while Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy Soho is stunning, BIG’s colourful urban park in Copenhagen is really fun, A Room for London deserves all its many plaudits and Istanbul’s Museum of Innocence is wonderfully atmospheric. But if I was choosing the winner I’d go for Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park in New York which makes really interesting use of a rather strange spit of land.

Again I’m spoiled for choice in the digital category with the Rain Room, the Stamen City Tracking map project and the Rasberry Pi all super-strong contenders while it’s great to see the GOV.UK redesign recognised. But I really like Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Bertini Viegas’ Wind Map which visualises the meteorological patterns over the USA at any given time, and which came into its own during the devastation of Storm Sandy late last year.

In fashion, Nike’s Flyknit would be an apt choice to represent a sporting 12 months while both Craig Green and Giles Deacon’s special collections would be worthy winners, but for me Elisha Smith-Leverock’s amazing I Want Muscle video made me question body image in a way few other projects did this year.

We’re long time fans of Muller Van Severen and Marni’s chairs made by ex prisoners were one of the highlights of Milan last year, but in furniture it’s Jolan Van Der Wiel’s Gravity Stool which most floats my boat. Meanwhile in transport it’s interesting to see Exhibition Road in London’s Museum District get a nod and the Donky bike is excellent but the simplicity of the Morph Folding Wheel had me at hello.

Product provided the winner last year in the form of Barber Osgbery’s Olympic Torch and who’d bet against Thomas Heatherwick’s Olympic cauldron making it a double but there’s stiff competition. Berg’s Little Printer and The Liquiglide Ketchup bottle both stand out but overall it’s hard to look beyond Colalife which uses the Coca Cola network to deliver much-needed resources to impoverished areas.


And finally to graphics where Zumbotel’s Annual Report by Brighten the Corners and Anish Kapoor lines up alongside nominees like OK-RM’s Strelka identity, The Occupied Times and the latest Visual Editions offering Kapow! But letting my heart rule my head, I’d love to see The Gentlewoman win, for showing how print can have a future with the right care and attention.

comments powered by Disqus
Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Marcel-ingloriousfruits-itsnicethat-list

    After the Design Museum names its six category winners for the 2015 Designs of the Year, Rob Alderson argues that the victor in the graphics section is a very worthy winner. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below.

  2. List

    Ben Tallon’s new book explores the difficult transition to going freelance which many in the creative world make, and by which many more are tempted. To mark the publication of Champagne and Wax Crayons Ben has written a piece about how he found taking that giant leap. You can add your thoughts below…

  3. Grayson-perrys-dream-hous-007-list

    A few years ago, you wouldn’t have expected Channel Four to show a documentary about a cross-dressing artist making a house in Essex on a Sunday evening. But that’s the magic of Grayson Perry: there’s no such thing as low and high culture, no such thing as people not being “into” art, no such thing as stereotypes.

  4. List_sarah_lucas_i_scream_daddio_its_nice_that_

    One of my favourite exhibitions of the last few years was Sarah Lucas’ Whitechapel show, described by The Guardian as “Breasts, bums, blokes and their bits.” Naturally, I was thrilled when Sarah was announced as the artist creating the British Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. Like the work of Jeremy Deller, the artist chosen in 2013, Sarah’s art can be messy and funny and fearless. It’s hard to make sense of, and big issues are frequently masked with a wry humour. Britain could be said to be the same; for all our perceived stuffiness, as a nation there’s a gloriously dishevelled side – a bold sense of “why the fuck not,” experimentation and our famed eccentricity which has made such a small place such a big deal when it comes to creativity.

  5. Oliviacharlesworth-itsnicethat-1

    At a time when debates surrounding art and design education and the way they prepare students for the creative industries are intensifying, Kingston University tutor Zelda Malan explains why it’s still so important that creative courses continue to teach ideas. You can add your thoughts using the comments thread below…

  6. Marianbantjes-designawards-itsnicethat-list

    It’s design award season (like the film world equivalent but fewer red carpets and more pictures of people staring at posters) and as ever the winners will be much discussed across the creative industries. But genuinely useful advice for those who enter has been thin on the ground, until now. Having relaunched her website, the brilliant Marian Bantjes has also started a new blog (huzzah!) and recently wrote a series of tips for those designers putting their work up for awards, based on her extensive experience as a judge. You can add comments below, or just soak up the wisdom…

  7. Newswall-itsnicethat-list

    Yesterday saw the launch of a brand new form of news presentation by Channel 4 in 4NewsWall – a Tumblr-hosted website dedicated to the day’s top news stories, listed chronologically, with each presented by a GIF. Thought up by 4Creative’s Jack Croft and Stacey Bird and developed by the creative team, it’s flashy, image-led and uncluttered – with each GIF offering a click-through button to a more detailed report – and looks set to be an interesting and exciting progression for news journalism.

  8. Graphicdesign_-opinion-itsnicethat-list

    A couple of months ago there was a lot of interest in this survey in which clients described the four worst types of creative agencies as they saw it. Now we have a chance to hear from the practitioners themselves, by way of Graphicdesign&’s in-depth industry study. Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright have partnered with social scientist Nikandre Kopcke to create a questionnaire which explores “practice, perceptions and prejudices alongside the usual questions about age, education, work and pay.”

  9. List

    It’s fast approaching the time of all-nighters (not the fun ones), tears, last-minute panics and all the other things that come with the end of learning and the impending beginning of the terrifying thing they call real life. But like the mum that tells you you’re always the best and most talented and most beautiful, or the best friend that bursts into your house and pops the kettle on/pours the gin, we’re here to remind you of some of the advice that might be able to help you.

  10. Stevedaniels-hero-list

    There is an awful lot of discussion around starting a new magazine and for many creatively inclined people it remains one of their foremost ambitions. Last week Makeshift founder Steve Daniels wrote an excellent blog about the things to consider when planning a new publication, and in doing so summed up many things we too feel are important. Steve’s now become an advisor to the title he founded, a move which maybe gives him a little extra distance to write “not a guide to the nuts and bolts of finding a printer and selling subscriptions but a contemplation of the major elements that will set you up for success.”

  11. Kingadz-autenticity-list

    In the branding and advertising world, authenticity seems to have become the Holy Grail. Seemingly melded to whatever people need it to convey, it’s become a buzzword whose significance has mushroomed while its meaning has all but vanished. With this in mind King Adz, aka Adam N. Stone – whose new book Unbrandable is out this summer – considers what authenticity really means in a contemporary creative context. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  12. Kinfolk_14.cover

    The latest issue of Gym Class magazine has an eye-catching cover; with bold block capitals on a black background spelling out: “Nobody cares about your oh-so-cool, Kickstarted, tactile, minimalist unoriginal magazine.” It’s intended as a “call to action,” Gym Class editor Steven Gregor told MagCulture, “make magazines, and make them exceptional.”

  13. Applewtach-list-int

    The Apple Watch was officially unveiled yesterday (as was a super-thin 13.1mm new MacBook) and as ever the internet is awash with run-downs and reactions slobbering over the new products. For Wolff Olins design director Jan Eumann though, the imminent arrival of the new timepiece got him thinking about logo design, and in particular how app buttons have rehabilitated the logo. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…