The minimalist white façade of London's Design Museum was bathed in shocking pink neon for the first Brit Insurance Design Awards last Tuesday week. Guests, including Channel 4 presenter Naomi Cleaver, the designer Ron Arad, Sir James Dyson and a host of Conrans (Sir Terence, Lady Vicki and son Sebastian) sipped champagne and nibbled on Kobe beef canapés as they browsed the covetable exhibits – Dior couture, Philippe Starck chairs, limited-edition Penguin classics and all manner of shiny gadgets.
Then it was downstairs for a dinner of pecorino, fennel and walnut salad, rack of lamb and an angular construction of chocolate mousse and jasmine granita (which Red or Dead co-founder Geraldine Hemingway declared to be "just ice").
The museum's director, Deyan Sudjic introduced a typically indigestible video message from the Prime Minister before Wayne Hemingway presented the prizes, but not before dragging on stage Sebastian Conran's partner, Gertrude – revealed as the German voice of a sat-nav system, no less – to say a few words.
Winners included architects Herzog & de Meuron for the Olympic stadium in Beijing and Hussein Chalayan for a dress encrusted in Swarovski crystals and lit from inside by 15,000 LEDs. Accepting his award, the designer blasted London for being a city "which breeds poor designers". Yves Behar, whose One Laptop Per Child project provides £60 computers for the world's poorest children, scooped the overall prize for "doing the impossible".
As the night drew to a close, there was just time for an impromptu award – nominated by Terence Conran – for the most uncomfortable chair ever designed. The assembled taste-makers, their rumps no doubt more used to Starck than the spindly hired catering specials on which they were seated, predictably fell off said chairs laughing.Reuse content