London’s Design Museum is a marvel of inspiration for designers, engineers, architects, digital media artists, and pretty much anybody else. The awesome factor can maybe be compared to having a perfectly toasted giant marshmallow with a cup of spiced drinking chocolate on a blustery winter day next to a fireplace. For 22 years the museum has ‘championed creative thinking and inspired problem solving’…having featured Jony Ive’s pre-Apple designs as well as giving Zaha Hadid her first solo show in Britain, the museum is nothing short of a hub for some of the most innovative thinking in the known universe. Their annual design awards are a perfectly curated bunch of what’s happened in the last year in the fields of seven categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product, and Transport Design. Here on the Smack we’ll share some of our favorites.
LA TOUR BOIS-LE-PRÊTRE, PARIS
Designed by Druot, Lacaton and Vassal
The striking transformation of a run-down tower in northern Paris created an
alternative approach to the physical and social redevelopment of decaying
HOME FOR ALL
Designed by Akihisa Hirata, Sou Fujimoto, Kumiko Inui and Toyo Ito
Presented at the Venice 2012 Architecture Biennale, Home for All is the
proposal to offer housing solutions for all the people who lost their homes in
the Japan earthquake, 2011.
BOOK MOUNTAIN, SPIJKENISSE
Designed by MVRDV
This mountain of bookshelves is contained by a glass-enclosed structure
and a pyramid roof with a total surface area of 9,300 sq m. Corridors and
platforms bordering the form are accessed by a network of stairs to allow
visitors to browse the tiers of shelves. A continuous 480m route culminates
at the peak’s reading room and cafe with panoramic views through the
Designed by Random International
Random International’s largest and most ambitious installation yet, situated
in the Curve at the Barbican, Rain Room is a 100 sq m field of falling water
for visitors to walk through, experiencing how it might feel to control the rain.
On entering visitors hear the sound of water and feel moisture in the air
before discovering the thousands of falling droplets responding to their
presence and movement to keep the visitor dry.
RASPBERRY PI COMPUTER
Designed by Eben Upton
The idea behind this tiny and cheap computer for kids came in 2006, when
Eben Upton and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge’s Computer
Laboratory became concerned about the numbers of A Level students
applying to read Computer Science in each academic year. Affordable and
powerful enough to provide excellent multimedia, the design is desirable to
children who might not initially be interested in a purely programming-oriented device.
ZOMBIES, RUN! APP
Designed by Six to Start
The Zombies, Run! fitness app is an interactive running game. The game
guides you through zombie-apocalypse-themed missions with a variety of
audio narrations. The application is capable of recording the distance, time,
pace, and amount of calories burned per running mission via GPS.
Designed by Konstantin Grcic for Mattiazzi
Three types of wood, thermo treated ash; walnut and douglas, are joined at
irregular angles, resulting in a comfortably reclined seat.
Designed by Jolan Van Der Wiel
Jolan Van Der Wiel developed a ‘magnet machine’, whereby he positions
magnetic fields above and below a container of polarized material
containing metal shavings. In order to form and determine the shapes of his
furniture pieces, the hanging units are pulled down and then released, in
which the substance follows, drawn upwards by magnetic force, letting
gravity determine the shape of the stool.
Designed by Marni
Marni designers have reworked the patterns and colour palettes of
traditional Colombian chairs woven from PVC threads to create a desirable,
one-off range, which has been produced by Colombian ex-prisoners.
Designed by Studio Frith
Exploding with unfolding pages and multiple directional text, Kapow! is set
in the thick of the Arab Spring, it is guided by the high-speed monologue of
an unnamed narrator. Kapow!, written by Adam Thirlwell and published by
Visual Editions, asks readers to open and unfold pages, to follow text
leaking in and out of paragraphs, while progressively becoming part of and
lost within the narrator’s thoughts.
BAUHAUS: ART AS LIFE EXHIBITION
Designed by A Practice For Everyday Life
Situated in the Barbican Art Gallery, Bauhaus: Art as Life was the largest
UK exhibition, to date, focusing on the iconic art school. Graphically, the
design is informed by an awareness of the Bauhaus’ own principles of
color, structure and typography – painted walls and bold panels draw
together objects, themes and ideas, and the typeface used throughout is a
contemporary revival of the letterpress typeface used within the Bauhaus
ZUMTOBEL ANNUAL REPORT
Designed by Brighten the Corners and Anish Kapoor
Design studio Brighten the Corners collaborate with artist Anish Kapoor to
create this two-volume publication: one book containing the facts and
figures for the year, the other a printed version of a 1998 video piece by the
artist. Brighten the Corners uses Kapoor’s video projection, Wounds and
Absent Objects, as the starting point for the commission which, unusually,
meant designing a text-only volume with graphic elements that link to the
Kapoor work and a lavish colour publication, which sees a rainbow of hues
bursting from the centre of the spreads and features ten neon colours.
LIQUIGLIDE KETCHUP BOTTLE
Designed by Dave Smith/Varanasi Research Group MIT
LiquiGlide is a ‘super-slippery’, non-toxic, edible but tasteless substance
that can be applied to the inside of a bottle, preventing the condiments from
sticking to the neck and the bottom where they can’t be reached.
3D PRINTED EXOSKELETON ‘MAGIC ARMS’
Designed by Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Philadelphia
The duPont Hospital for Children has been treating children suffering with
musculoskeletal disabilities. As part of their research and development,
duPont’s Department of Orthopedics developed WREX–the Wilmington
Robotic Exoskeleton. It gives kids with muscle weakness much better
movement and the ability to lift objects but was too heavy to use on a
younger or smaller child. They figured out a wearable plastic jacket could be
3D printed to offer the same aid as WREX but in a mobile form that a child
weighing only 25 pounds could wear.
Designed by Simon Berry
ColaLife works in developing countries to bring Coca-Cola, its bottlers and
others together to open up Coca-Cola’s distribution channels to carry ‘social
products’ such as oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements to save
children’s lives. ColaLife is an independent non-profit organisation run and
staffed by volunteers.
i3 CONCEPT CAR
Designed by BMW
The BMW i3 Concept with eDrive is a sustainable vehicle designed for
urban areas. Powered by innovative eDrive technology, the coupe not only
generates zero emissions but also provides a calm, virtually silent driving
experience for up to 100 miles before requiring charging. And through its
optional fast charging, the battery can be replenished to 80% charge in less than 30 minutes.
Designed by Ben Wilson
The steel beam running through this compact bicycle by British industrial
designer Ben Wilson means it can carry heavy loads on its front and rear
Designed by Dixon Jones/ The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Exhibition Road is a £28m development project to improve the infrastructure
of, access to and facilities within the Exhibition Road area. Led by the Royal
Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in partnership with the City of
Westminster and the Mayor of London, it was completed ahead of the
London 2012 Olympic Games.
Be sure to check out all the nominees at Design Museum!