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Brief Published: 22 Oct 2020

Beazley's Best Designs of the Year

Beazley Designs of the Year 2020

The annual Designs of the Year showcase, sponsored by UK insurance company Beazley and held at London’s Design Museum, returns to track the key themes inspiring and challenging the design industry throughout last year.

The exhibition is prefaced with an acknowledgement of the exceptional circumstances and adversity of 2020. While all projects were launched prior to the pandemic, the exhibition organises works in chronological order to map the lead up to this year, and offer “a frame for exploring the future,” writes the exhibition’s curator Emily King.

Projects emphasise the need for designers to eradicate a one-size-fits-all approach and adopt a local lens. One key feature is the Housing No.8 project from Mexican housing institute Infonavit, which developed social housing prototypes that respond to the country’s regional microclimates. For more on this subject, see Design Direction A/W 21/22 Earth, for which this case study is an influential project.

The exhibition also recognises the need for designs that regenerate the environment, such as the algae-infused wall tiles from London-based Bio ID Lab, which filter heavy metals from wastewater, and feature in our S/S 21 Bio-Fantasy Direction. Regenerative design is set to become a principal industry concern, see our Look Ahead for more.

Another pervading theme is democratisation, with US brand Telfar featuring in the fashion category for its accessibly priced ‘it’ bag (its founder Telfar Clemens is an Industry Insider for 2021). Meanwhile, in product, Lego’s braille bricks also make the bill, illustrating how brands can reconsider their design to cater to the needs of an inclusive audience (see also The Brief).

Lastly, the exhibition highlights the need for products that provide a sense of safety. Here, a notable inclusion is the survival kit of emergency tools from US company Judy, whose self-sufficient approach guides our S/S 22 Endurance.

The design award winners will be announced on November 26.

Bio ID Lab