This year's Designs of the Year go on show at London's Design Museum

20 March 2013

From today the very best the design world had to offer over the past 12 months has gone on show at London’s Design Museum, ranging from The Shard to BERG’s pocket-sized Little Printer. The annual Designs of The Year showcase pits 99 projects across seven categories – architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport – and then crowns an overall winner which in the past have included Barber Osgerby’s Olympic Torch and Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster.

This year curator Pete Collard took the interesting decision not to arrange the exhibition strictly by category, so an annual report sits alongside some lamps and book covers face-off against a collapsible wheel. It’s a bold move which really works, forcing viewers to consider the underlying fundamentals of good design rather than approaching and analysing objects in cosy compartmentalisation.

There’s highlights aplenty – the Anish Kapoor/Brighten The Corners annual report for Zumtobel is displayed beautifully, you get a real sense of the new digital offering and the Superstitious Fund Project –a programme which invests in stocks and shares based on very human hang-ups – is imaginatively brought to life.


Designs of the Year 2013 (Photographer Luke Hayes)

Having been moved to the museum’s first floor (from the more spacious top floor gallery last year) there’s less sheer size on show – whereas last year an ambulance and a huge minesweeper were on display, this year photos and scale models are the order of the day. But this makes the whole experience busier – with design coming at you from every angle– plus as Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs pointed out, all the previous winners are essentially displayed on a single table so size may not always matter.

Designs of The Year at the Design Museum runs until July 7, with the winners announced on April 17. The full list of nominees appears at the bottom of this page.


Designs of the Year 2013: Jolan Van Der Wiel – Gravity Stool (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Vitamins for Maddak Inc – Morph Folding Wheel (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Raspberry Pi Computer (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Shing Tat Chung – Superstitious Fund Project (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Zaha Hadid – Liquid Glacial Table (detail) (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Yayoi Kusama – Louis Vuitton Collection (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital – 3D Printed Exoskeleton ‘Magic Arms’ (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Pierre Hardy – Frederic Malle Travel Sprays (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Form Us With Love – Plug Lamp (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Nike – Flyknit Trainers (Photographer Luke Hayes)


Designs of the Year 2013: Cardon Webb – Ralph Ellison Collection (Photographer Luke Hayes)

The full list of nominees is as follows…


Druot, Lacaton and Vassal: La Tour Bois-Le-Pretre, Paris
Studio Egret West: Clapham Library, London
Farshid Moussavi Architecture: MOCA, Cleveland
Hackett Hall McKnight: Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast
David Kohn Architects in collaboration with artist Fiona Banner: A Room For London
SO – IL: Kukje Art Center, Seoul
Andrés Jaque Arquitectos: Ikea Disobedients
MVRDV: Book Mountain, Spijkenisse
Renzo Piano: The Shard, London
Gonçalo Byrne Arquitectos & Barbas Lopes Arquitectos: Thalia Theatre, Lisbon
Witherford Watson Mann: Astley Castle, Warwickshire
Orhan Pamuk with Ihsan Bilgin, Cem Yucel and Gregor Sunder Plassmann: The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul
Akihisa Hirata, Sou Fujimoto, Kumiko, Naoya Hatakeyama, Inui and Toyo Ito: Home For All
Klein Dytham: T-Site, Tokyo
Zaha Hadid: Galaxy Soho, Beijing
BIG, TOPOTEK1 and Superflex: Superkilen, Norrebro
Louis Kahn: Four Freedoms Park


rAndom International: Rain Room
Shing Tat Chung: Superstitious Fund Project
Raspberry Pi Foundation: Raspberry Pi
Jason Jameson, James Hall and Rhys Griffin of Unanico Group, with Andrew Tanner Design and Royal Winton: English Hedgerow Plate
Uniform: Digital Postcard and player
Microsoft: Windows Phone 8
Government Digital Service: GOV.UK Website
Six to Start and Naomi Alderman: Zombies, Run! App
Free Art and Technology Lab and Sy-Lab: Free Universal Construction kit
Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Bertini Viegas: Wind Map
Moritz Waldemeyer for Ingo Maurer: Candles In The Wind
Patrick Bergel: Chirp
Nippon Design Centre Inc: Dashilar App
Stamen: City Tracking
Lytro: Light Field Camera


Jacqueline Durran: Anna Karenina Costumes
Giles Deacon: A/W12
Yayoi Kusama: Louis Vuitton Collection
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel
Elisha Smith-Leverock: I Want Muscle
Craig Green: A/W12 Collection
Commes De Garcons: A/W12
Prada: S/S12 Collection
Proenza Schouler: A/W12 Collection


Studio Swine & Kieren Jones: The Sea Chair
Zaha Hadid: Liquid Glacial Table
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay: A-Collection
Jolan Van Der Wiel: Gravity Stool
James Shaw and Marjan van Aubel: Well Proven Chair
Pinwu: Tie Paper Chair
Marni: 100 Chairs
Konstantin Grcic for Mattiazzi: Medici Chair
Studiomama (Nina Tolstrup and Jack Mama): Re-Imagined Chairs
Studio Markunpoika: Engineering Temporality
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra: Corniches
Muller Van Severen: Future Primitives


Brighten the Corners and Anish Kapoor: Zumtobel Annual Report
A Practice For Everyday Life: Bauhaus Art as Life exhibition
OK-RM: Strelka Institute Identity
Tzortzis Rallis and Lazaros Kakoulidis: Occupied Times of London
Veronica Ditting & Jop van Bennekom: The Gentlewoman #6
Serviceplan: Austria Solar Annual Report
Irma Boom: Rijksmuseum Identity
Studio Frith: Kapow!
Kapitza: Organic
Pedro Nora: Doc Lisboa ’12
Cardon Webb Ralph Ellison Collection
John Morgan: Venice Architecture Biennale Identity
CoDesign: Dekho Conversations on Design in India
Anthony Burrill: Made In Los Angeles
Australian Government Department for Health and Ageing: Australian Cigarette Packaging


Heatherwick Studio: Olympic Cauldron
Cecilie Manz: Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12
Dave Smith/Varanasi Research Group MIT: Liquiglide Ketchup Bottle
Scholten & Baijings/1616 Arita Japan: Colour Porcelain
Hal Watts: E-source
Berg: Little Printer
Inga Sempe for Legrand: Switch Collection
PostlerFerguson: Papa Foxtrot Toys
The Centre for Vision in the Developing World and Goodwin Hartshorn: Child Vision Glasses
Dirk Winkel for Wästberg: w127 Lamp
Form Us With Love: Plug Lamp
MakerBot: Replicator 2
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware: 3D Printed Exoskeleton
Unfold Studio: Kiosk 2.0
Jasper Morrison/Japan Creative: Oigen Kitchenware
Anthony Dickens: Tekio
Olafur Eliasson: Little Sun
Simon Berry: Colalife
Pierre Hardy: Frederic Malle Travel Sprays#!
Phil Cuttance: Faceture Vases
Front: Surface Tension Lamp
Nike: Flyknit Trainers


Vitamins for Maddak Inc: Morph Folding Wheel
Priestmangoode: Air Access Seat
BMW: i3 Concept Car BMW
Mark Sanders: Mando Footloose
Honda: N-One Honda
Ben Wilson: Donky Bicycle
Dixon Jones / The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: Exhibition Road
TfL /JEDCO / LOCOG: Olympics Wayfinding
DB Mobility Logistics AG: Touch&Travel

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About the Author

Rob Alderson

Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.

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