Every year the Bulletproof team eagerly await the big reveal of the Designs of the Year exhibition held at London’s Design Museum. This year the Design Museum opened its doors to the public at its new location in the former Commonwealth Institution on Kensington High Street. After five years under construction, we couldn’t wait to take a peek and were lucky enough to be invited to the press preview ahead of the grand opening on the 24th of November.
The entrance is sure to make an impact, as on entering the building you can do nothing but marvel at the architecture within the space. Spanning four floors, a series of staircases guide visitors to each of the exhibition areas, all surrounding a central open lecture space. With high elaborate ceilings it immediately feels vast, whilst still inviting you to explore. The bold signage, created by Studio Myerscough, leads the way to the fourth floor where you’ll find the museum’s first permanent exhibition – Designer, Maker, User.
This exhibition aims to show how design is at the heart of our everyday life and the objects and systems that we come to depend on. Maps, signs, clothes, technology – they have all been designed. This part of the museum examines the dialogue between the designers, makers and users or consumers in everyday objects that we may even take for granted.
Circling my way around each floor there’s a definite buzz with photographers and bloggers taking photographs from every angle possible. A quick walk around the library and education centre with workshop spaces before I’m drawn in by the neon signage to investigate ‘Fear and Love‘ – a temporary collection exploring designers reactions to the modern world. This series of installation pieces examines how design is set to steer us through some of the complex issues of our century – our fears of the future and how we can embrace them, from robots and technological development to environmental change.
The most immediately arresting piece in the room was Fibre Market by Christien Meindertsma, a plinth of vibrant mounds of cotton candy coloured material that looks good enough to eat, but uses lighting to add a serious tone. The piece explores fast fashion and how we can increase the lifecycle of our clothes by recycling them into reusable fibres instead of sending them to landfill. The exhibition does well to capture the exciting scope of design to create new technology, but how often this can have a worrying impact on the world around us, holding a more serious message.
Next up and what we’ve finally all been waiting for…The Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition. Unassumingly in the basement of the building, you’ll find a veritable Aladdin’s cave showcasing seventy of the most exciting innovations in design this year within architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport.
Each project is judged by a panel of design experts against a set of strict criteria; they must either demonstrate that they deliver change through innovation and new technology, or reshape our systems to adapt to our changing society.
Below you’ll find our top picks covering everything from refugee shelters and astronaut cups to children’s toys.
Above left, a video showing children’s perceptions of gender in fashion. Right, the first Lego figurine representing a wheelchair user.
Above left, 3D printed clay ceramics. Right, A collective graphic tool for political protest.
Above left, a flat-pack shelter for developing countries. Right, a video of the zero gravity cup in use.
Given the huge variety of projects, it really goes to show that design is at the heart of so many aspects of our society. How this has been bought together all under one roof in the new Design Museum is truly epic and well worth visiting whether you’re a Designer, a Maker or a User…
Blog written by Holly.