Brit Insurance Design Awards Showcase the Best Design of the Year

ladakh peace photo

Photo: habitables: Ladakh Commonwealth Peace Pavilion, Tibet

The Brit Insurance Design Awards are the academy awards of design. The long list of 100 objects, chosen from around the world, is on display now at London's Design Museum. Next, a winner is chosen in each of the seven categories, and then the final over-all winner.

Last year the obvious winner was the folding plug which is now in mass production. This year there is no clear front runner. The Interactive category, which includes several App's may be the one to watch. But let's see some of the others...Architecture nominees include a concrete canvas shelter that can be quickly and cheaply constructed in response to national emergencies. TreeHugger Lloyd wrote about it in 2007! The wonderful UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo is rightly on the list, as is the grotesque tallest tower in the world, Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

open air photo

Photo: dailytonic

But let's hear it for the Open Air Library, in Magdeburg, (East) Germany, made out of old beer crates and created as a community project. The facade is constructed from reclaimed exterior panels of a nearby warehouse. The site installations made from sticky tape are avant-garde to say the least and the beautiful Ladakh Commonwealth Peace Pavilion in Tibet is made out of used military parachutes and serves as temporary classrooms in this war-torn area.

flavia amadeu photo

Photo: flavia amadeu
Fashion includes a perfectly designed $400 shirt by Margaret Howell, Melonia: 3-D personally tailored shoes out of recycled plastic, and Tess Giberson creations with vests that can be turned into skirts and inter-changeable fronts of jackets. Flavia Amadeu's Organic Jewellery Collection is made from eco-friendly rubber produced by native communities in the Amazon rainforest. Its natural elasticity means that it can be molded to different parts of the body.

Interactive nominees include a number of iPad app's but not the iPad itself (it's in another category). The Guardian Eyewitness iPad App is noted as is The Elements iPad App, Wired Magazine's App and the Johnny Cash Project, oh yes and Angry Birds.

Product is the really big category this year. It includes the iPad which
has transformed the way we read, play games and see the world. Whether it is too ubiquitous to be considered the big winner of the Design Awards remains to be seen, but its influence on modern day life cannot be ignored.

fire sigrun photo

Photo: sigrunvik

The Act fire extinguisher is a radical redesign of an important safety product. With its clean lines and discreet appearance and new technology, it is revolutionary. It reacts to sight and sound when an alarm is activated and can be used with one hand.

Yves Behar's LED Amplify chandelier with Swarovski is included, as is the Plumen 001 low-energy light bulb.

blue ware photo

Photo: studio glithero

Almost the only piece of pottery in the whole show is the beautiful Blueware Collection. The potters apply direct impressions of ferns and flowers on the ceramic surface, using light and photosensitive chemicals-- almost like the early printing techniques for photos.

in between photo


The In-betweening Clock is a digital clock that is hypnotic because the numbers melt into the next one, instead of changing crisply. It's like animation--the clock generates frames between the fixed frame moments of time. Created by a student at London's Royal College of Art, it is already being put into production.

There are several products dedicated to the disabled: an Intimaterider, a Leveraged Freedom Chair and a One Armed Drive System. A Hospital gown that opens at the sides and shoulder, rather than down the back, will be a welcome change for hospital patients.

Tomorrow, look forward to seeing the Furniture nominees, among others.

More on Brit Insurance Design Awards
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