By Heath Brown, 8.02.12
Known as ‘The Oscars of the Design World’ the The Design Museum’s Designs of the Year Awards showcase the most innovative and progressive talent worldwide, spanning seven categories: Architecture, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Digital, Transport and Product.
Fashion-wise, Matches favourites are well represented (well, we know good design when we see it).
Mary Kantrantzou stands out in the Fashion category and is a no-brainer nomination. “The collection deserves to be recognised as a high watermark of fashion” said US Vogue’s Sarah Mower (a judge for the awards). ‘Katrantzou is one of the most original young designers working today’
The house of Alexander McQueen, old and new, is represented, with New York’s Metropolitan Museum’s staging of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and today’s design chief, Sarah Burton both nominated – Burton for her design of the wedding dress for the Duchess of Cambridge.
Brit designer Phoebe Philo, who is Creative Director at Céline, is also up for a gong for her Céline Crombie inspired by a British menswear classic.
The grand Dame of British fashion, Vivienne Westwood, received a nomination for her Ethical Fashion Africa collection.
‘This project shows it is possible to provide wealth to poor communities through business.’ Said Alison Moloney of The British Council. ‘It promotes sustainable and fair trade practice, yet does not compromise Westwood’s iconic design aesthetic.’
Yet another Matches favourite, Suno, is in the frame for their collection of gently billowing silhouettes that contain exciting layers of different patterned fabrics. See their latest collection at Matches.
Other fashion nominees include a boot-cum-flip-flop by Melissa & Gaetano Pesce, a cycling jacket by Brompton Bicycle Ltd, a film for Gareth Pugh by Ruth Hogben, a complex mathematically based collection by Issey Miyake called 132.5 and a concept boutique by Matches’ pop-up shop designer, Gary Card.
In the Product category check out Massoud Kaffon‘s amazing why-didn’t-someone-think-of-that-before design for land-mine clearing called Mine Kafon (above) – a huge dandelion-head sphere of bamboo and plastic that is run by wind power and let loose on minefields. Also of interest was The Hödving (below) – an airbag cycle helmet that can be deflated into a nifty collar round the neck
In Furniture The Crates collection by Naihin Li & Co, Beijing is made to be easily packed up and moved at a moment’s notice whilst more gorgeous ideas came from Yuya Ushida with his XXXX_Sofa, Ronan & Erwen Bouroullec with their Osso chair, The Earthquake Proof Table by Brutter & Bruno of Jerusalem and Moon Rock tables by Bethan Laura Wood.
In Architecture our favourites are: the design for a new museum in Wakefield called The Hepworth, in honour of local lass Barbara Hepworth, designed by David Chipperfield; Spaceport America designed by Foster & Partners for Virgin Galactica as the first commercial space airport terminal and Moses Bridge by RO&AD in the Netherlands – a glorious sunken bridge that parts the water either side, Moses-style.
In the Transport category, beside an excellent redesign of the modern ambulance by a team from the Royal College of Art, most concerns were for green issues with 2 electric cars nominated, an electric aeroplane, the most fuel efficient jet liner from Boeing, the 787 Dreamliner, and Manifesto Architecture’s Bike Hanger that stacks city bikes up the side of buildings and skyscrapers mechanical hoisted, ironically by pedal power.
The Graphics category included the excellent Comedy Carpet on Blackpool’s promenade, by Gordon Young, a new font family for Nokia by Dalton Maag and a die-cutting art-making machine in the shape of a dog by Noma Bar (see picture at top of page).
All nominations are on show at The Design Museum in Shad Thames, London SE1 until the 15th of July with winners announced at an Awards Night on the 24th of April.