The annual Designs of the Year competition underscores cutting-edge innovation and original talent around the world in architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphic, product and transport design. The seven winning designs will compete for the overall Design of the Year 2014 award, which will be announced on June 30 at an event hosted by St Martins Lane London. The seven category winners, along with all of the other 69 nominated designs for 2014, are on display in an exhibition at the Design Museum until August 25.
In the architecture category, Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher won for their work on the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Heydar Aliyev Center
“An intoxicatingly beautiful building by the most brilliant architect at the height of her office's powers, it's swooning fluid on the outside and inside, belieing its size and complexity,” described Piers Gough, judge for the awards. “The thousand and one geometrical junctions are consummately mastered and segue seamlessly into each other. Sitting atop a swooping zigzag landscape that would be a winner even without the building, it is as pure and sexy as Marilyn's blown skirt. Without an ounce of awkward argumentative modernism in its bones, it rather reads like a sweet love letter to Zaha's homelands.”
“It’s beautiful, it’s inspiring, it’s the clear vision of a singular genius and we thought it was a remarkable piece of work,” added Ekow Eshun, writer and chair of the jury.
In the furniture category, the Pro Chair Family designed by Konstantin Grcic was chosen as the winner. Featuring state-of-the-art ergonomics and pioneering design, the construction of the chair not only allows movement in all directions, but actively stimulates it thereby promoting healthier sitting.
Pro Chair Family
“No one on the jury had to argue the case for this exceptional chair—we just had to sit in it,” said Kim Colin of Industrial Facility. “Instantly its effect on the body is tangible and the mind can be satisfied with the balance struck between its material finesse, presence and purpose. It should absolutely shake up the educational sector and give students a truly happier experience in the classroom because it is seriously comfortable and joyous without risk of becoming a cartoon.”
Other winners included PEEK, a portable eye examination kit for the digital category; Prada S/S14 designed by Miuccia Prada for the fashion category; Drone Shadows designed by James Bridle for the graphics category; the Seaboard Grand Piano keyboard for the product category; and the XL1 Volkswagen for the transport category.
“From the daringly innovative to the reassuringly good, Designs of the Year 2014 is a condensed and vivid selection of the last twelve months in design,” said Gemma Curtin, Curator of Designs of the Year. “This spectrum of expert-chosen design is an insight into what design can do for us both as individuals and as a society.”