Designs of the Year 2013 Exhibition

designs_of_the_year_01The Gravity Stool designs_of_the_year_11

Zumtobel Annual Report by Brighten the Corners and Anish Kapoor designs_of_the_year_10E-Source by Hal Watts designs_of_the_year_09Proenza Schouler Autumn Winter 2012 Collection by Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough designs_of_the_year_08Future Primitives by Muller Van Severen designs_of_the_year_07Liquid Glacial Table by Zaha Hadid


Above: A-Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay designs_of_the_year_05

Autumn Winter 2012 Collection by Craig Green designs_of_the_year_04Gravity Stool by Jolan Van Der Wiel designs_of_the_year_03Well Proven Chairs by James Shaw and Marjan van Aubel designs_of_the_year_02Louis Vuitton Collection by Yayoi Kusama


Olivier Legris joined us today, to talk about the exhibits “Designs of The Year” in London.


A great catch up on what happened in design last year, but missing the opportunity to explain what design is about.

Like every year, the Design museum in London, created in 1989 by Terrence Conran, exhibits the shortlist for Design of the year. This exhibition aims to “showcase the most innovative and imaginative designs from around the world, over the past year, spanning seven categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Transport and Product.”As you noticed, design is seen from a diverse perspective as the Museum aims to educate the general public that design is more than a pleasing aesthetic.

From this angle, the exhibition succeeds in celebrating design as a transversal discipline, executing the hard work  to reduce a year long of design into 90 nominates, from The Gravity Stool‘s furniture part to the Windows 8 digital interface. Amongst all of these nominees, some projects really stand out either due to their mission (CocaLife, Child Vision Glass, Rasberry Pi), their inventive features (Plug Lamp) or the experience they create on people (The Rain Room).

I was however surprised at seing so many “branded” projects with a relative interest (Louis Vuitton by Yayoi Kusama, Prada S/S 2012 collection, Corniches by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra) except to please (potential) sponsors of the museum.

Also from a foreigner perspective, the heavy weight of UK design was quite burdensome. Even if I can’t dispute the importance of UK design in the world, roughly 20% of the design shown were either English or happening in England (with an heavy presence of London). But more than these secondary problems that could be understood either from an economical perspective (attracting sponsors) or a success perspective (attract a local audience), the main reproach to the exhibition I have is that it remains very descriptive, lacking most of the time any explanation.

In a time where design is challenged in UK school programs, I was very surprised of the few contextual information about the goal behind each design. As design is made to resolve a problem, missing exposing most of the time the problem, and how design helped resolve it, limits the potential of valuing the importance of design.

Overall, even if this article seems mainly critical, don’t get me wrong: The current edition of design of the year  remains a great one, even better than the last year’s one, as much in term of curation than in term of display.Every person interested more or less in design living or visiting in London should go, at least to see in real life items we saw too many times on screen and also gently hack the Chirp iPad display.

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Olivier specialy loves the Colalifes  and A chair by Bouroullec for Hay, and I can´t be more agree with him, this order for the University of Copenhagen excels in this simplicity and beauty, modular chairs and tables perfect for a school.

Info : Designs of The Year 2013 Exhibition runs from 20 March to 7 July 2013 . More Picture from The Guardian

Image from Dezeen

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