Beazley Designs of the Year 2019 at the Design Museum
Six categories, 76 nominees, and immeasurable intrigue, innovation and inspiration make up this year’s Beazley Designs of the Year, the annual celebration of design. Nominees are split into architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport design categories, and a winner will be announced from each section on the 21st of November. An overall winner will also be announced on this date.
Simplicity, the futuristic and the necessary are some of the themes on display in a menagerie of design that will enthral visitors. It’s a far cry from last year’s competition, which was mired in controversy and saw an exodus of artists’ designs in protest at the museum hosting an event for an arms company. This year’s only notable boycott was Extinction Rebellion (XR), who rejected their nomination because of the museum’s partnership with insurance company Beazley.
Despite XR’s absence, the Design Museum has put together an awe-inspiring exhibition. They’ve also learnt from previous criticism: there are more women designers nominated than ever before, and so as not to create waste, the exhibition has been fitted around the props and features used for the previous installation. Not only that, but this year’s iteration of the competition is celebrating ideas grounded in usefulness. Many nominations are centred on accessibility and utility, for instance the biodegradable pregnancy test designed by the all-female crew Lia, or a Tommy Hilfiger range devised to accommodate people with disabilities.
There’s enough to keep you walking around the six rooms for a good couple of hours, and enough to make you think for days on end afterwards. Much on display might be already familiar to visitors, such as the food sharing app OLIO, already enjoyed by thousands of Londoners. Other designs may be introduced in the not-so-distant future. A self-driving shuttle bus called Gacha is already being tested in Finland. And for those looking for designs easy on the eye, there’s plenty to admire. This is one of those exhibitions with something for everyone.
Images: Courtesy of the Design Museum
Beazley Designs of the Year 2019 is at the Design Museum from 11th September until 9th February 2020. For further information visit the exhibition’s website here.