Good design can change the world, in small and really large ways, so I was looking forward to checking out the Beazley Designs of the Year at London’s Design Museum. Now in their 10th year, it’s a chance to be amazed by the brilliance and ingenuity of designers from around the world
The exhibition space is impressive and takes you through into the different sections as if you are exploring a set of caves, walls covered in sprayed paper pulp. Sections look at design through headings such as activists; brands; makers; innovators; and builders.
There are so many great designs to delight and intrigue visitors and here are just a few of my favourites.
- Coat woven from ocean waste
This up-cycling project in Spain removes waste from the ocean floor and turns this debris into raw premium quality materials ready for fashion companies to make clothes. There is hope yet for our seas!
2. A wheelchairs that goes up and down stairs
A bit like the Daleks, it’s now possible for wheelchairs to go up and down stairs – a great breakthrough for both but one much more life affirming! Designed in Switzerland, retractable rubber tracks come out of the chair to enable safe climbing and an additional set of wheels give stability. Students designed this brilliant innovation to give disabled people real independence.
3. A water tower that harvests the sky
An Italian designer worked with a village in Ethiopia to develop a tower that harvests drinkable water from the atmosphere, collecting rain, fog and dew in its 12-metre tall bamboo construction. With no reliance on electricity but mimicking nature’s water collecting techniques, it delivers safe water which the villagers can collect from the base – safe and easily accessible water.
4. A rescue drone for refugee at sea
This drone can travel long distances to track down refugees crossing the seas in dangerous boats. As well as detecting these boats to alert rescue ships but It can also drop vital equipment such as life jackets, medical supplies and food. Using a drone for humanitarian aid instead of as a weapon feels like progress.
5. The high performance hijab
Working with athletes, Nike has developed this lightweight, stretchy garment. It will stay in place and allow movement for Muslim women to practice the sports they love.
6. An end (at last) to fiddling with screws
Ever struggled to put together a piece of Ikea furniture? If not then I congratulate you but you are in a small minority. This new design does away with screws, Allen keys, screwdrivers and nuts – and in my case wobbly tables! Ikea’s wedge dowel means you simply slot the pieces together and you can take them apart again. It was on the wall so we couldn’t test it but Ikea say they are going to use it for all new pieces so it’ll be coming your way soon. Small but welcome progress.
7. A flag for the stateless
This flag was designed for Amnesty International by a Syrian artist and refugee who wore these colours on her life jacket. Settled in Amsterdam she approached to design a flag for the Refugee Olympic Team of athletes entering the Rio Olympics. The flag is a symbol of hope and a new life, marking that their ability to access this wonderful sporting event despite having to leave their home country and lose their official status.
8. A handmade symbol of women’s solidarity
The pink pussyhat is a protest against Donald Trump’s famous grabbing statement. It was launched ahead of the Washington Women’s March in January 2017 and spread around the world and the basic open source knitting pattern was down loaded and copied resulting in seas of pink, visible solidarity against Trump and his like.
9. A graphic depiction of workplace inequality
This simple but powerful piece shows us a busy workplace focusing on a space shuttle. Designed for UN Women in Egypt it challenges us to find a woman in the picture of male dominated industries of politics, science and technology in a country where women’s representation in the workforce is one of the lowest at 23% . Needless to say, I couldn’t find her!
There are so many more designs to enjoy. The exhibition is on until 28th January 2018 and the winner will be announced on 25th January.
To find out more about the exhibition, ticket prices and the Design Museum check out their website: designmuseum.org
The Design Museum still feels new in its west London home, to read about more about the museum and the 2016 Beazley Designs of the Year click here.
Full disclosure: As is customary in the travel industry I was invited to preview the exhibition by the Design Museum.