Designs of the Year 2013
Design Museum, London
Whist on a trip to London in March, I visited the Designs of the Year 2013 exhibition at the Design museum. Also known as ‘The Oscars of the design world’, Designs of the Year showcases the most innovative, imaginative and inspiring designs from around the world over the past year. There are seven different categories which each design can be placed into: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Transport and Product.
Overall, I found the exhibition extremely remarkable and inspiring. It was great to see that so many of the designs such as ‘Magic Arms’ – designed for children suffering from musculoskeletal disabilities who need upper body support and the ‘Morph Folding Wheel’ – designed to enable the wheels on a wheelchair to be folded flat and stored in small compartments, tackled peoples ‘needs’ rather than ‘desires’.
One design that was quite humorous and made me smile was the ‘Liquiglide Ketchup Bottle’ designed by Dave Smith and Varanasi Research Group MIT. This is a ketchup bottle, which is coated on the inside with LiquiGlide to make it super slippery. LiquiGlide is a non-toxic, edible yet tasteless substance, which can be applied to the inside of a bottle to prevent the condiments from sticking to places that can’t be reached. I thought this was a great design because as silly as it sounds, it can be so annoying when you have to vigorously shake and smack the bottle to get the last bit of ketchup out yet by designing something as simple as LiquiGlide, this can be prevented.
One of my favourite designs was the ‘Free Universal Construction Kit’ designed by Free Art and Technology Lab and Sy-Lab. As a child I remember how frustrating it was to have to tidy up one set of toys before getting another out and not being able to play with them all at the same time. The Universal Construction Kit is a matrix of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enables you to use as many of the ten* popular children’s construction toys as you want, all at the same time. By allowing all these toys to be joined together, the designers of the kit are encouraging and enabling radical constructive play between toys, which have never been compatible with each other before. As well as this it is also giving children more opportunities to be creative with their play. I definitely wish someone had thought of this when I was a kid, it would have shut me and my brothers up for hours.
* Lego, Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears!, K’Nex, Krinkles (Bristle Blocks), Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, Zome and Zoob.
Whilst visiting London I am definitely glad I had the oppourtunity to visit the ‘Designs of the Year’ exhibition as it as opened my eyes as to who, what, where and when people design for and also what can be classed as ‘design’. I would highly recommend this inspirational exhibition to anyone interested in design and the creative industry and would undoubtedly visit it again next year if I had the chance.