This annual exhibition is always a star-studded showcase of the most innovative and striking concepts launched over the past 12 months. This year, there are a number of nominees from London, including Barber Osgerby, designers of the torch for the 2012 Olympics; Zaha Hadid, for her Guangzhou Opera House in China; and the couture blockbuster show Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York last summer. Well over 580,000 visitors took in the flamboyant exhibition, which broke new attendance records for the historic museum.
Industry experts have chosen 88 nominees in seven categories, each vying for the Design of the Year title, which will be announced on April 24. Previous winners include graffiti artist Shepard Fairey, for his presidential Hope poster; Yves Béhar’s One Laptop Per Child; and Hulger’s energy-saving Plumen bulb designed by Samuel Wilkinson. Here are the highlights from this year’s categories:
In architecture, there is Hopkins Architects’ Pringle-shaped Velodrome for London’s 2012 Olympic, Foster + Partners’s Virgin Galactic space station, located in the New Mexico desert, and Zaha Hadid‘s spectacular Guangzhou Opera House.
Competition in the furniture category is equally stiff with Stefan Diez’s Chassis chair that’s produced using vehicle manufacturing technology, and Werner Aisslinger’s hemp chair. There’s also the Bouroullec brothers’ Kvadrat Textile Field, erected at the V&A during the London Design Festival in September. The giant bench-like installation, set up in one of the museum’s galleries, invited visitors to kick off their shoes and lie down on the fabric-covered platform. It was one of the most popular off-site displays during the citywide design event.
In the product group – the largest, with almost 20 works – nominees include Ron Arad’s thick-framed and slick pin-thin retro eyewear line for PQ, Nest’s intuitive Learning Thermostat, and the pint-sized Jawbone Jambox music player by Fuseproject.
In the transporation category, it’s a race between seven projects both small and large. Contenders include Boeing’s fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner, Gordon Murray’s T27 electric car, and a circular bike hanger and storage unit by Manifesto Architecture.
The exhibition runs until July 15. See the entire list of nominees at designsoftheyear.com.