The news is often full of all the horrible things that our fellow humans are capable of. So it's always refreshing to visit the annual Designs of the Year exhibition at Design Museum to see the wonderful innovations humans are capable of when we set our minds to it.
This year's show is filled with 87 different designs including the costumes for the Black Panther movie, the new £1 coin and the reusable SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket.
Here are five of our favourite designs from the exhibition — each making this list for its own reason, whether it be for clever thinking, sustainability, sheer ambition or because it's something more people should know about.
When operating on a person in a remote area or disaster zone it's nigh impossible to create a surgically sterile environment. SurgiBox is an invention that is designed to fix this issue by creating a portable surgical theatre that can be transported in a backpack. Filters remove nearly all contaminants and there are gloves attached so a surgeon can operate. This is an ingenious design that could save lives.
Travelling to Mars is going to be quite the ordeal when it does happen and a key requirement is keeping the weight down. Space boots feels like an important thing to pack, but not if we can grow them when we get there. A special fungus has been used to grow this boot and it feeds on human sweat so may even grow as we walk. It sounds gross, but this is the kind of radical thinking that may make a mission to Mars possible. And here we were complaining about the carry on restrictions on Ryanair.
More shops are now getting rid of, or restricting single use plastics. Dutch supermarket Ekoplaza has gone one step further and created an entire aisle of packaged goods that don't use any plastic. It's a fantastic idea and having felt some of the packaging, we can confirm it's remarkably similar to the plastic packaging you see in your local Sainsburys. There are over 700 items with plastic free packaging and the supermarket is planning to roll the idea out to all its 74 stores. The bold plastic free logo is a great idea to attract the conscientious buyer, and it's a concept that could catch on in London.
This football shirt for the Dutch women's team looks remarkably like the one for the men. However, a closer look at the 'lion' reveals it to be a lioness with no mane. This is a brilliant subtle move towards gender equality that also gives the women's team its own brand that separates it from the men's. Symbolically it's probably a better idea anyhow — as in a pride it's the lionesses that do all the work.
Found objects are covered with layers of resin and coloured foil to create statement furniture pieces, it's the work Chris Schanck and his brand Unhomely. It's a smart mix of recycling and producing bold and jazzy furniture. Often sustainable furniture is designed to look like other designs, and to blend in. We like how, in contrast, these pieces are all about standing out and showing off their sustainability credentials. Shine on we say.
Beazley Designs of the Year 2018 is on at Design Museum until 6 January. Tickets are £12 for adults.