Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Designs of the Year

Last night the Design Museum was buzzing with designers, press, their friends, collaborators and family, all to celebrate the Designs of the Year nominations and exhibition.  This year held more entries than ever before, and the carefully curated ‘final cut’ varies from laborious feats in craftsmanship, cute gizmos, technically ingenious innovations, outlandish couture, highly conceptualized artworks, design classics and the ethically or municipally significant.

The pieces everyone was talking about were:

Berg’s Little Printer

Designed by an independent studio in London, this tiny printer is so adorable, printing little smiley faces or text on Post It width paper. Its pretty fun watching it in action as it churns out messages.

Zaha Hadid’s Liquid Glacial Table

PR pretension aside, this table is pretty amazing. At first it looks like an incredible piece of glasswork conjured up by Venice’s most forward thinking glass blowers but it is in fact made out acrylic resin, the rippled effect achieved through a lamination and milling process that is a mystery even to Hadid herself.

The Olympic Cauldron

I was pretty unpatriotic this year and never got to see the installation up close, only its incredible performance on television. It was great to finally get the opportunity, though I reckon they should have it shown in action!

Yayoi Kusama’s Louis Vuitton Collection

This spot adorned waxwork of Kusama among a copse of read octopus tendrils  is simply rather disturbing. It is so incredibly lifelike (especially since the eyes are covered by sunglasses)  that it really takes you aback if you aren’t expecting it.

My personal favourite however, has to be Engineering Temporality by Markunpoika. These empty furniture shells are created by connecting steel rings over the surfaces of a chair or cabinet and then destroying the furniture within through burning it. The designer was inspired by his grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease ‘unravelling the fabric of her life, knot by knot, and vaporising the very core of her personality and life, her memories, and turning her into a shell of a human being.’ They are powerfully fragile pieces.

Found this image later - what an amazing process

My other favourite has to be Kapow, a book by Adam Thirlwell designed by Studio Frith that much like Lewis Carol’s ‘The Mouse’s Tale’ uses typography to enhance your experience of the text. This book takes that to the next level, allowing readers to unfold pages, and follow the trail of text running in and out of pages and across paragraphs. I love the idea of these methods being used in the prolonged context of a book rather than a little poem or short story. I just hope the writing is as good as the book looks!

The exhibition runs from 20 March – 07 July and you can book here: Ticketweb 
And share your  comments and tweet #designsoftheyear