Every year, a panel of judges selects the best designs across the world in topics ranging from furniture to fashion before picking an overall design of the year. Past winners include Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster, a foldable plug and last year’s winner the Olympic Torch.
This year’s nominees are as diverse as ever – from an electric car to an ergonomic chair. London is once again well represented, including the Shard, the revamped and divisive Exhibition Road, and the Olympic cauldron – which has to be considered one of the favourites.
There are plenty of other eye-catching nominees this year with architecture being a particularly strong field, from the futuristic looking Galaxy Soho building in Beijing to the Dutch Book Mountain library. As always technological advancements abound from the pragmatic German travelcard on your smartphone to the purely aesthetic LEDs mimicking a flickering candle.
There are plenty of game-changing inventions on display as well such as the non-stick ketchup bottle to the first 3D printer designed for the consumer.
However, the real heroes of this exhibition are those inventions that can really make a difference in the developing world such as the Little Sun solar powered lamp that will allow children to read at night and the bicycle operated shredder designed to break down electrical wiring thus negating the need for extraction by burning – a process that emits toxic fumes.
Our favourite has to be an anti-diarrhoea kit where the inventors have recognised that setting up a distribution network is a challenge yet Coca-Cola already has such a network in place in developing countries. By designing a kit that can slot between crates of bottles they can ‘hijack’ these deliveries to spread much needed medicines and prevent thousands of deaths.
This exhibition is chock full of designs that will astonish and amaze, and choosing a winner from such a strong shortlist won’t be easy.
Designs of the Year is on at the Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, SE1 2YD until 7 July. Tickets are £12 for adults, concessions available.