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Design of the Year prize awarded to flat pack refugee shelter


Better Shelter

A flat pack refugee shelter has been named the Beazley Design of the Year 2017 in the Design Museum’s annual awards. Created by social enterprise Better Shelter, the small, temporary structure has a lockable door and solar powered wall, which provides enough energy to power the supplied light or to charge a phone.

The design uses the techniques of flat pack furniture to allow easy transportation and assembly. It comes in two boxes with all the required tools, and can be built in four hours. Around 30,000 shelters are already in use around the world. It was created by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolò Barlera, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR.

Jana Scholze, one of the judging panel, said: “It shows the power of design to respond to the conditions we are in and transform them.” 

While Better Shelter won the architecture category, other category winners included Jonathan Barnbrook’s design for Bowie’s ★, which won the graphic design award. The album cover won the prize for its use of Unicode in the name, typography and artwork, a clever use of an open source symbol that fans can interact with and share.

Winner of the product design category was the Space Cup, which uses passive capillary forces to create an “earth-like drinking experience” in the low-gravity environment of space. It was designed by Mark Weislogel, Andrew Wollman, John Graf, Donald Pettit and Ryan Jenson.

The fashion category was won by Yolanda Dominguez for her film Niños vs. Moda (Children vs. Fashion) showing a group of eight-year-olds in Madrid discussing their thoughts on the ridiculous imagery shown in fashion advertising.

A project developed at the Design Interactions department of the RCA won the digital prize. OpenSurgery is a proposal for an alternative to costly medical services: DIY surgical robots.

Lumos, a bike helmet with integrated automatic headlights, brake lights and turn signals, won the transport category. This was designed by Eu-wen Ding and Jeff Haoran Chen.


Better Shelter


Jonathan Barnbrook: ★


Mark Weislogel, Andrew Wollman, John Graf, Donald Pettit and Ryan Jenson: Space Cup


Eu-wen Ding and Jeff Haoran Chen: Lumos helmet




Yolanda Dominguez: Niños vs. Moda