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Brief Published: 8 Sep 2016

Designs of the Year 2016: The Nominees

Clockwise L-R: Bottom Ash Observatory, Agi & Sam’s A/W 15, In the Eyes of the Animal

To coincide with the grand opening of its new home on Kensington High Street, London’s Design Museum has announced the nominations for its 2016 Beazley Designs of the Year Award. Now in its ninth year, the award has become synonymous with design innovation.

The nominations are firmly rooted in 2016 – a year where inclusivity, social action and sustainability are at the forefront of the cultural, social and political landscape. This year’s category shortlist reflects the intersection between design and the world that surrounds it.

  • Architecture: This category features a number of solutions to the ongoing housing crisis, while other designs offer space for community initiatives and social projects. These sit alongside new homes for big-budget cultural institutions including Fondazione Prada’s new Milanese venue designed by OMA, and London’s Tate Modern Switch House, designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, which similarly provides space for artists and creative organisations.
  • Digital: Design and sensory experiences align to promote new ways of experiencing empathy in this category. Virtual reality project In the Eyes of the Animal by Marshmallow Laser Feast allows us to experience the forest as one of its inhabitants, while interactive multimedia documentary Refugee Republic documents life in Domiz, an Iraqi refugee camp. Creating a sensory experience of an unimaginable life, designer Jan Rothuzien traces the camp’s everyday happenings through a combination of drawings, photography, film, sound and text.
  • Fashion: The nominations in this category look to deconstruct the industry from the inside out. Agi & Sam’s A/W 15 collection centres around the dissection of the tailored menswear they’ve become known for, which is reimagined unsewn, unfastened and haphazardly reconstructed. With a more metaphorical take on the deconstruction of fashion, Spanish visual artist Yolanda Dominguez asked children to provide honest commentary for fashion editorials in her short film Kids V Fashion. 
  • Graphics: Identity, accessibility and connection are key themes in this category. Interactive book Hello Ruby aims to encourage young girls to learn about computers, programming and technology through fun and whimsy, while Christien Meindertsma’s encyclopedic hardback Bottom Ash Observatory documents the unseen value of bottom ash – the material left over after waste is burnt in an incinerator. 
  • Transport & Product Design: Designs promoting interconnected environments and multifunctional objects bridge the gap between these categories. Mono-Lights by Os ∆ Oos is a flexible lighting system that can be connected to suit any location, features flexible LED tubes that are able to contort to suit a multitude of spaces. Meanwhile, Lumos – the world’s first smart bicycle helmet – brings intuitive lighting to this simple piece of equipment via integrated warning, brake and turn signals.

The showcase will be exhibited from November 24 2016 to February 19 2017 at the Design Museum. The winners will be announced on January 26 2017.