Showing posts with label Design Museum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Design Museum. Show all posts

Monday, 21 September 2015

Designs of the Year 2015

Designs of the Year is an annual exhibition at The Design Museum showcasing the best of design from around the world in six categories: architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport. In each category a winner, the best of the best, is chosen by an independent jury.
We went as a family last year, 2014, which you can read here, where we had trouble agreeing on what we thought made for good design, our own judging criteria being far from independent. It's hard to agree on things when you know what you like and your mum thinks she know better. This year I went with friends, three women, three mums. What would we consider to be good design?

Firstly this.  

Plant pots to live in, bringing indigenous trees back into a city in Vietnam that is only 0.25 percent green. A kind of two birds and one stone design, helping with pollution and flood prevention.
Just one problem, "you couldn't seriously sit on that wall. Look at the drop".

Then there was tea, "I'd like that", just heating the water you need. Could this be the gadget that really does slot into everyday life and doesn't get resigned to the back of the cupboard after the initial enthusiasm has died down and you realise you haven't the space for it.

Then it gets clever, we all love this. Not only for the innovation, a table that can charge your phone using daylight, but who doesn't love a good pun, "Current table". It all happens by photosynthesis.

Saving on family squabbles, it is able to charge two phones at the same time.

Another design we could totally go with. "Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables".
Common sense, playful design promoting misshapen fruit and veg, making it "appealing and cool".

An attempt to reduce waste. We learn that fifty-seven percent of the 300 million tonnes of fruit and veg thrown away each year, is due to its appearance. Crazy! Get with it, shoppers, it's thirty percent cheaper too.

Then there are the designs we are thankful we don't have to rely on, but can still get very excited about. "How cool is this?" Without being connected to a water supply, sewers or mains electricity it provides hygienic sanitation.  

This toilet has everything covered. It's solar powered, waste water is cleaned, with chlorine produced through electrolysis, clean enough to wash your hands. Yes really. Waste material (you get my drift) is separated and collected to be converted into fertiliser and biogases. Practical, everyday design, yet its effects are huge. 1.8 million people die a year due to poor sanitation.

For some design, there's a story rather than an object on display. "The Ocean Cleanup", an "environmentally safe process" for removing the vast amount of plastic waste from our oceans. A project begun by a teenage engineering student, using the ocean currents to drive the rubbish towards floating barriers. 

We're convinced, however evidence is provided of the damage plastic waste does in our seas.

Not all the designs that impress us are about providing practical solutions and meeting needs, some is purely aesthetic and playful.

These designs for new Norwegian banknotes, combine two different designers' ideas, front and back. They work well together, kind of need each other. Two different designers saying, "I did that!"

"A streetlamp that plays with your shadow"

We had fun with this, as it recorded our shadow and played it back when the next person walked underneath. What I loved about this, is that it brought people out onto the quieter less explored streets of Bristol purely to search them out and play. One of our favourite designs in the exhibition.

As I said, we were three mums visiting, we have kids. How clever is this? Sensing labour is underway, it texts the farmer an hour before the calf is due. A design for animal welfare, but there are parallels.

Designs of the Year 2015 is on at the Design Museum until 31 march 2016.
This is our selection, there are many more design nominations, the best of 2015. Is this the stuff of future museums? As the Design Museums says,
"Someday the other museums will be showing this stuff".

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Life on Foot

Life on Foot, the exhibition of Camper's story of shoe making is on at the Design Museum.
Lorenzo Fluxa founded Camper after inheriting his father's shoe factory in Mallorca in 1975, introducing the camper logo, the Red Bridge, in 1981 with his first store in Barcelona.

Camper has been around for 40 years and despite spending my sixth-form weekends working in a shoe shop, Manfield in Chesham High Street, I had never heard of them until five or six years ago. That's when I bought a pair of their slippers, which are still going strong. I love those slippers.

Rainbows of camper shoes and materials.

Camper produces sustainable and ethical footwear. The first camper shoes experimented with used recycled car tyres for soles. 
These shoes below are fully bio-degradable, experimenting with hemp and coconut. "Those grey ones on the right look a little like my slippers."

I applaud their commitment to sustainable materials, but can see that wearing cork is perhaps a little more suitable to the Spanish climate than ours.

In an average collection of Camper shoes, over 350 materials are used, components that remind me of "Ink Blots". I can't help myself looking for things in the shapes and checking to see if the patterns are symmetrical.

The shoe box, "a basic yet important part of footwear manufacture and retailing". Too right. What is so appealing about a brand new shoe box? It's not as if we keep them (for long).

However good packaging has always been so appealing. It's strange though, with the power of packaging to tempt us to purchase, you generally get to see a shoebox after you have decided to buy the shoes. "Do you want the Box?" I always asked as a teenager in Manfield. Now the shoe's on the other foot (sorry), I get asked this when I buy my kids shoes. Of course they want the box, a new home for a toy hamster, a lunar landscape, a treasure chest, the possibilities are endless and made even more appealing by boxes like these.

From this archive material we can see that it wasn't just about the shoe and manufacturing, but Camper's concepts extended to the designs of packaging and visual merchandising too.

Camper regularly collaborates with graphic designers,

...and store designers.

White moulded shoes from the wall of a Camper store in new York, 2014.

Life on Foot is on at the Design Museum until 1st November 2015.
Details on their website here.

What ever happened to Manfield?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Designs of the Year 2014

Designs of the Year is now in its seventh year at the Design Museum.

It features the best in design across seven categories:
Architecture, Product, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Digital and Transport.
We went to see it, all six of us, ranging in age from eleven to forty-seven.
I mention our ages, as what you consider to be good design or simply a waste of space,
does vary according to your age group.

One of the first designs you see is this electric powered concept car, where the body is made from polystyrene, and the interior uses alot of bamboo, making the car very light weight and energy efficient.

The car looked great but I couldn't help harking back to all the useless, yet very entertaining, uses of polystrene when you were a kid. For example poking holes in it, breaking it into tiny pieces that were impossible to clear away as static sent them buzzing in the opposite direction from any hoover, plus the squeak that it made, that set your teeth on edge, when you rubbed pieces together.
I wondered how long this car would be out on the street before someone began to mess about with the bodywork. It did look very inviting and playable with.

 There is a winner in each category and you are invited to choose
and vote for your favourite design.
That's where the age difference caused a problem.
We had one voting slip and one pencil.
What were we going to vote for?

This 3D printer won approval.
It prints with liquid resin.
"You know they're selling them? We should get one. It says they're affordable,"
said one child hopefully.

These Clever Caps have been designed to reduce waste.

Instead of being thrown away they can be washed
and added to your child's collection of building blocks.
They're compatible with a very famous make of building blocks.
A design much appreciated by our eleven year old son.

I can see where this is going. How many would you need to build a Union Jack box?
"What if all the drinks were horrible? What if those bottle tops were only available on drinks that were bad for you with too much sugar and too many additives?"
"Ah but what if they made ALL drinks use the same bottle top?"
replied our fourteen year old.

This is mobile phone app is called 'Generations Game'.
Great name, lost on our kids.
Impossible to finish in a lifetime, it designed to be played over many centuries.
Obviously the game will outlive you, let alone your phone,
so it is designed so that you can choose who inherits your game, when you die.
"That's a rubbish idea!"
said a frustrated dad who's has enough hassle trying to limit screen time. 

These are Behaviour Changing Syringes.
When exposed to the air, they change colour and the unsafe use of syringes accounts for 1.3 million deaths, 15 million Hepatitus B infections and 5% of all HIV infections globally.
"Brilliant idea!" exclaimed a forty seven year old, ever practical.
However, slightly overlooked by his kids.

Good design?
Watches for the blind and the sighted.
Appreciated by father and son.

This is a font designed to be easy to read by children with dyslexia.
A font to teach handwriting,
not appreciated by our seventeen year old,
"There's no point in joined-up writing."

Another font. Chinese characters.
Characters as illustrations.
Put together in a book to help people learn Chinese, with the best name ever!

There are 20,000 Chinese characters in the Chinese language.
A serious amount of designing had to be done, a design for each character.

 This lego calendar really appealled to us.
Perhaps it's coming from a large family, the need to see what everyone is up to
and make sure you all get to where you need to be.
If you look top left, you all get your own lego character.

However this is more sophisticated than it looks.
They have designed software to not only use this on your wall, but also digitally.

An ever practical seventeen year old,
"But three months would take up an entire wall of your house".
It would but it would make a couple of us, girls who like to try and organise things, very happy.
With the majority family vote, this is what we voted for.

So what is good design?
I'd say it depends on who's asking.
Who's choosing.
The public are voting for their favourite design
You can see from this graph who's winning so far.

But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
It's all very well voting, no strings attached.
But when it came to choosing, and spending your birthday money,
putting your money where your vote was,
our eleven year old son bought the Chineasy book.
And taught us Chinese all the way back to Catford Bridge!

Designs of the Year 2014 is on at the Design Museum until 25th August 2014.
Details here.
Which design will you choose?
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