Designs of the Year 2014 is a great moment to celebrate original talent and cutting-edge innovation, and also to take stock of recent developments in design practice. The annual competition and accompanying exhibition at the Design Museum showcase the very best in global Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic, Product and Transport design. That this year’s competition brings together Kate Moss’s favourite app, a floating school in a Nigerian lagoon, friendly lamp posts, virtual mountain rescue teams, and a recoiling mudguard, gives an idea of incredibly diverse range of designs on show.
The broad reach of Designs of the Year allows for an overview of emerging trends and common themes from across different design disciplines. This year the ubiquity of the smartphone is particularly apparent, as is the disruptive effect of crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter. More than ever, designers are seeking to blur boundaries between the digital and physical worlds with new ideas like the calendar made of Lego that syncs with your computer/phone diary and the fire alarm that texts to let you know that everything’s ok.
The nominees include international design stars such as Zaha Hadid, John Pawson, Stephen Jones, David Chipperfield and Miuccia Prada, alongside crowd-funded start ups and student projects. A distinguished panel of experts will chose a winner from each category and an overall winner later in the spring; but the Design Museum is keen for everyone visiting the exhibition, and the millions of design-loving tweeters and facebookers across the world, to pick their own favourite designs from this year’s crop through the Visitor Vote and the new Social Vote.
The Visitor Vote takes place in the exhibition throughout its run, while the Social Vote sees two nominations fight it out each day through the Designs of the Year online Social Vote platform. Broadcast to over one million of the Design Museum’s Twitter and Facebook followers, the Social Vote will be a great opportunity to get involved even if you can’t make it to Shad Thames to see the exhibition itself.
Designs of the Year is famous for pitting the ingeniously amusing against the admirably innovative. This year is no exception, as addictive games compete against lifesaving medical equipment and futuristic cars square up to catwalk gowns. The conversation, debate, and (hopefully good-natured) arguments that result from placing these hugely different designs alongside each other are some of the richest outcomes of Designs of the Year as a whole.
A selection of this year's designs
ME.WE: Forward-Thinking Car
Designed by Masasud and Toyota ED2
Photography by Small Dots
Makoko Floating School
Designed by NLÉ, Makoko Community Building
Team Photo by NLÉ
Designed by Adrian Westaway, Clara Gaggero,
Duncan Fitzsimons, Simon Emberton
Photograph by Adrian Westaway
Bird & Bird is proud to support 'Designs of the Year 2014'