Design of the year 2015 – Exhibition highlights

This weekend concluded the Exhibition Design of the Year 2015 at the London Design Museum and with it the chance to for the interested public to explore and examine 76 nominees across six categories: Architecture, Fashion, Graphics, Product, Transport and Digital, a wide ranging category that includes projects that may touch on other categories but are included here because it is their digital dimension that makes them interesting.


Now in its eighth year, Designs of the Year celebrates projects that promote or deliver change, enable access, extend design practice or capture the spirit of the year. Reflecting two current trends in Design we were especially excited to see quite a few Projects included that were crowdfunded on platforms such as Kickstarter, and/or were directly aimed at making the world a better place and improving lives by tackling head on a variety of issues such as Ocean pollution or personal hygiene for urban communities without running water or sewers.

The chosen projects included work from emerging practices and also well-established ones, revealing the vital role of design as problem-solver, a predictor of future developments and a cultural force.


Human Organs-on-Chips, designed by Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun Huh at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, has won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award for 2015. Designed to replace human and animal testing in the medical industry, this still experimental technology has the potential to significantly impact society by making ethically fraught upon animal  and humand testing obsolete.


Nominated in the Product Category, the Blue Diversion Toilet designed by Eawag, the Swiss Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology and Austrian Design Studio EOOS,  was the response to the challenge by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reinvent the toilet and subsequently reduce the number of people, currently 1.8 millions each year, who die from diarrhea due to poor sanitation. This serviced toilet is a sustainable and hygienic sanitation system as well as a complete design, service and business model providing jobs, fertilisiers and biogaes to the community at a cost of less than 5cent per person per day.


Project Daniel is the worlds first 3D printing prosthetic lab set up to help the 50,000 amputees in South Sudan, designed by Not Impossible (Mick Ebeling, Elliot Kotek and Dr. Tom Catena) and Richard van As of Robohand. Since creating two arms for  Daniel Omar, the teenager who inspired the project, the Lab lives one thanks to trained locals producing one average one arm per week providing a striking example of how the winning combination between entrepreneurship, creativity and technology can improve people’s lives.

BRCK is a a robust portable hub, designed to create internet networks in regions with litlle or no basic communication infrastructure. Crowdfunded on Kickstarter, BRCK was developed by Ushahidi in Kenza, a team of software developers, engineers and technologist with the aim to build a platform for communication times of crisis and disaster.The BRCK has a 8 hours battery life and can support up to 20 devices at a time.


Winner of the Digital Design of the Year, the Ocean Cleanup was designed by Erwin Zwart with Boyan Slat CEO and founder and Jan de Sonneville, lead engineer. Aim of the ambitious projects is to develop an environmentally safe process to remove plastic waste from our Oceans using a network of floating barriers attached to the seabed, that use the movement of the currents to push plastic towards a 40 km long structure. The project has gained massive momentum using digital communication to access the know-how and funding to make things happen.

QardioArm, designed by Qardio, Usa and Clara Gaggery Westaway, Anna Westaway, Duncan Fitzsimons UK, is a portable and compact blood-pressure monitor working wirelessly with your iOS or smartphone to measure, track and record the healthy of your heart. The product is lightweight and was designed to fit almost unnoticed into domestic and office settings so as to help remove the fear and stigma of medical interventions.


Winner of the the 2015 Social Vote that ran during the London Design Festival was Turn On now manufactured by Wrong for Hay. Designed by Joel Hoff, this elegant table light works because of its effortless simplicity. Turning the faceted cylindrical base controls the strength of the light, turning from bright to dim.

Winner in the Graphics Category, was on of the of the most talked about ad campaigns of 2015, the Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables (Les Fruits and Legumes Moches)  by the Marcel Agency for french supermarkt chain Intermarché who decided to fight food waste by selling non calibrated and imperfects fruits and vegetables at 30% off. Aim of the highly succesful  campaign was to rehabilitate imperfect fruits and vegetables as part of the effort to reduce the 300 million tons of food thrown away each year.

100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design, by NORM and Lars Muller surveys a wide array of work from posters to corporate design, advertising and type. Swiss graphic design shows an uninterrupted evolution of visual dictions and production techniques throughout the 20th century with recognized international influence.


Designed by Kellenberger-White for Festival director Sarah McCrory, the Glasgow International Identity is a typeface inspired by the large hand painted lettering used on the warehouses, docks and ships along Glasgow’s industrial waterfront. Each letter and sign was hand painted using a roller giving the digital typeface a direct, free and painterly quality that fitted well with the spirit of the festival.


“Grow It Yourself” Mushroom Materials, nominated in the products catogory, was designed by Evocative, USA. It is a kit to grow a compostable, sustainable material that can be molded into basically anything.

10 100 1000 – Diezcienmil – is a project by the Mexican Designers Francisco Torres and La Metropolitana. Ten Mexican designers were invited to respond to a brief to design a wooden stool measuring 35cm x 35cm x 35cm. The aim was to create a collection of affordable pieces to promote contemporary design within mexico as well as Mexican design worldwide. The stools were made of environmentally certified solid poplar and chachimbo wood using a a CNC router, before being assembled and finished by hand.


For more information and a full list of the nominees  visit the Design Museum Website

Ⓒ Shimeji Creatives Ltd.