Brit Insurance Design Awards Pick the Winners

plug folding photo

Image from

Last week we wrote an idiosyncratic view of the candidates for the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year awards. With over 100 items in seven different categories, it is an Oscar-worthy show of the international design world's best work of the past year.

And the winners are... As predicted: the folding plug! Given the size, weight and general clunkiness of the existing UK converter plug, this one was a shoo-in.

monterrey housing photo

In other categories: Architecture: Monterrey Housing, Mexico. This was an interesting social housing project, designed by Chilean architects Elemental. It is described as the "half house" concept, first developed in Chile to house squatters. The idea is that the basic house is provided for residents who then expand and adapt the property themselves. This one is in Mexico where residents extend and decorate their homes according to their needs.

In Fashion: Alexander McQueen, after his tragic death last month.

grass works photo

In Furniture: Grassworks. This was another TreeHugger pick.. Grassworks makes flat-pack, DIY furniture out of bamboo sheet laminates. Glue and screws are not used, instead they rework the dovetail joint, as a structural and design detail.

newspaper club photo

In Graphic: The Newspaper Club. Scored again; this is so great. The Newspaper Club, in the UK, is a way to take advantage of down, unused press time at printers. The company prints cheap, well-designed newspapers for anyone. It's ideal for newsletters and one-off events and opens up this method of communication to the public

eyewriter photo

Image from the EyeWriter

In Interactive: The EyeWriter. Missed this one, but certainly a worthy winner. The EyeWriter project is a collaborative research effort to empower people who are suffering from ALS. It is a low-cost eye-tracking apparatus and custom software that allows graffiti writers and artists with paralysis resulting from ALS to draw using only their eyes. Truly awe-inspiring.

yuneec plane photo

Image from Yuneec

And finally in Transport: E430 Electric Aircraft from China. It's an electric airplane; a twin seater, single engine small (!) plane, designed to be easy to fly and have zero emissions. For only £5 it can go for three hours.

The overall winner will be decided by a jury chaired by artist Antony Gormley and announced on 16 March.

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