The design 'Oscars': Gov.uk website beats the Olympic Cauldron and the Shard to top award

The decision even surprised one of the new site's designers

Dubbed the "Oscars" of design, the Designs of the Year awards pitched 99 of the most imaginative creations of 2013 against each other. The leading contenders included Thomas Heatherwick's Olympic Cauldron, the Shard skyscraper, a Louis Vuitton collection designed by artist Yayoi Kusama, and a group that has literally reinvented the wheel.

But the winner of the Design Museum's annual award was not an innovative building, a product to help people living in the Developing World, or eye-catching clothing.

The award went to the new website of the British Government, a decision which even surprised one of the site's designers.

The judges were unanimous in their vote. And the designer added: "It has the potential to have a huge impact on people's lives."

Previous winners of the award include the London 2012 Olympic Torch, a folding plug designed by Min-Kyu Choi, and the Barack Obama "Hope" poster by Shepard Fairey.

Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum, called Gov.uk the "Paul Smith" of websites, adding it reflected "all the things that we would like to take for granted from the Government but, in a sea of red tape and jargon, usually can't".

The Gov.uk website, which was designed by the Government Digital Service, won the digital award – one of seven categories – earlier this month. At a ceremony in London last night it landed the overall prize.

Ben Terrett, head of design for Government Digital Service, said it was a pioneering web operation that governments around the world were beginning to follow.

"It is a huge leap for government. We're building it the way Google and Amazon do it, the way you would do if you started now," he said. "It was described to me as common sense at scale. The potential is massive." He added that Gov.uk "can be a fundamental part of Britain's digital infrastructure".

The designers have been working on the site for more than a year following recommendations in a report by Martha Lane Fox.

User numbers soared in October after a previous incarnation, Directgov, was switched off. This Monday alone, more than 6 million people visited the site. The Government has predicted the overhaul will save millions of pounds.

All 24 government departments will be on the site by the end of the month, and Government Digital Service is working on bringing 300 agencies on board. In all it is replacing 2,000 websites, although it will not be bringing in the NHS or local government.

Mr Sudjic called the site a "remarkable success on so many levels. It makes life better for millions of people coping with everyday chores". It provides information on everything from driving licences and passports to benefits and housing services.

Among the nominations, The Shard, designed by Renzo Piano, lost out to Tour Bois le Prêtre, a retrofitted decaying residential tower in Paris.

Heatherwick's cauldron was beaten in the product category by ColaLife's Kit Yamoyo, an anti-diarrhoea pack for poor families in Africa. Another celebrated design to miss out was the Raspberry Pi single circuit board computer.

The LiquiGlide ketchup bottle which uses edible lubricant to end the misery of not being able to get sauce out of a bottle also missed out.

Mr Sudjic said: "The point of the awards is you think about design from so many different aspects that there's not one idea of what good design is."

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick