An app which promotes child safety by killing off its characters with grisly inventiveness; bottle caps that become building blocks; a floating classroom; and an aircraft that weighs less than a Galapagos tortoise.
These might sound like the product of a primary school brainstorm but – along with 72 other weird and wonderful objects, buildings and virtual inventions – they are the finalists for the Designs of the Year 2014.
The longlist for the award, overseen by London’s Design Museum, is revealed today to showcase innovation and ingenuity from around the world by figures ranging from Zaha Hadid to Miuccia Prada, to the backers of a crowd-sourced rescue drone.
Visitors to the museum and its social media sites will be able to vote for their favourite among the nominated designs, which also include a recoiling mudguard and talking lampposts.
Grand Designs 2014
Grand Designs 2014
1/9 Interior for United Nations North Delegates’ Lounge, New York – Designed by Hella Jongerius, together with Rem Koolhaas, Irma Boom, Gabriel Lester and Louise Schouwenberg
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs commisioned Hella Jongerius and her team to undertake this project – a gift from the Netherlands to the UN – to transform the Delegates’ Lounge, which adjoins the General Assembly Hall. The intention was to create a space that could be used for both informal and professional purposes, and which would retain some of the iconic Scandinavian designs while creating a new perspective on the works of art already on display.
2/9 Grand Central – Designed by Thibault Brevet
This is an open internet platform that lets people express themselves freely through a tangible output device. Users can submit text via their smartphones which is then “written” in marker pen by a mechanical printer – a physical embodiment of a digital message.
3/9 Metro Trains – Dumb ways to die – Designed by McCann Melbourne
A song, a book, a smartphone game, interactive posters, Tumblr GIFs – all designed to get young people to care about safety. Black humour makes the point that there are many dumb ways to die, but perhaps the dumbest is doing silly things around trains.
4/9 Façade for Paul Smith, Albemarle Street, London – Designed by 6a Architects
The cast iron façade references London street furniture, contrasting with neighbouring Georgian houses. The interlocking circles put an abstract spin on a classic Regency shape, while curved windows nod to the glass in nearby arcades.
5/9 Chineasy– Created by ShaoLan Hsueh with Illustrations by Noma Bar
Chineasy is an illustrated Chinese language methodology. Its aim is to bridge the gap between East and West. It is built on a building-block system which allows students to learn a small number of commonly occurring characters, which can then be combined to create more complex compounds and couplets. These illustrated and animated characters aim to provide a memorable interpretation of Chinese and also a glimpse into the culture behind the language.
6/9 Makoko Floating School, Nigeria – Designed by NLÉ, Makoko Community Building Team
A prototype built for the historic water community of Makoko, Nigeria. The school takes an innovative, cheap and sustainable approach to address the community’s specific social and physical needs.
7/9 Lego Calendar – Designed by Adrian Westaway, Clara Gaggero, Duncan Fitzsimons, Simon Emberton
The Lego calendar is a wall-mounted time planner invented for a studio, with colour-coded bricks representing time spent on projects. The calendar is made entirely of Lego, but when you take a photo of it with a smartphone, all of the events and timings are synchronised to an online calendar
8/9 Magazine – Designed by Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones dedicated his issue of this cult fashion magazine to Anna Piaggi and the art of illustration. It featured a centrefold with Dita Von Teese by David Downton, the designs of Zaha Hadid, Raf Simons and Ron Arad, and fashion illustration from Gladys Perint Palmer, Howard Tangye, Barbara Hulanicki and Tony Viramontes.
9/9 Iro – Jo Nagasaka for Established and Sons
Named after the Japanese word for colour, Iro is a collection of vibrant yet elegant furniture which remains true to Nagasaka’s minimalist style, while making bold use of brightly coloured resin. The smooth finishing highlights the natural grain of the wood enclosed within the resin.
The full list of nominees can be found at www.designmuseum.org