Kanye West or Pokemon Go? Beazley Designs of the Year go on show at the Design Museum

Ailis Brennan
Evening Standard
Fashion forward: Kanye West's The Life of Pablo tour merchandise and the Nike Pro Hijab on display at the Design Museum: Luke Hayes/The Design Museum
Fashion forward: Kanye West's The Life of Pablo tour merchandise and the Nike Pro Hijab on display at the Design Museum: Luke Hayes/The Design Museum

What links a hijab, Kanye West, Pokémon Go, and a rather striking looking man called Graham?

All are shortlisted for the Beazley Designs of the Year award, now exhibiting the most innovative, thought-provoking and potentially world-changing designs of the last year.

The competition embraces design in myriad formats, with categories honouring innovative work in the fields of Architecture, Graphics, Product, Digital, Fashion and Transport. A winner will be announced in each of the categories on 25 January 2018.

Having been announced earlier this year, designs by all shortlisted parties can now be viewed at the Design Museum in Kensington in an exhibition that is itself displayed in a unique cave-like interior designed by award winning architectural practice Carmody Grove.

Take a look at our picks of some of the most ground-breaking and eye-catching work on display…

The Life of Pablo Tour Merchandise

Who’s it by? Kanye West and Mat Vlasic for Bravado

What is it? Kanye West’s melee of fashion and music perhaps reached its pinnacle with the release of his lyric-stamped collection of Life of Pablo tour merchandise, which was sold in 21 pop-up shops worldwide (at a slightly more affordable price than his Yeezy collections).

Pokemon Go

Who’s it by? Niantic

What is it? On July 6th 2016, the world decided it had to catch them all. The ubiquitous augmented reality app has, to date, has been downloaded more than 750 million times by Pikachu-pursuants and Charizade-chasers.

Refugee Flag

(Luke Hayes/The Design Museum)
(Luke Hayes/The Design Museum)

Who’s it by? Yara Said with The Refugee Nation for Amnesty International

What is it? At the 2016, The Refugee Nation entered the Olympics for the first time, with a team of ten athletes. Yara Said designed the emblem for the team – an orange flag with a black stripe echoing the common patternation of a lifejacket.

Nike Pro Hijab

Who’s it by? Rachel Henry, Baron Brandt, Megan Saalfeld and BroganTerrell for Nike

What is it? Two days before International Women’s Day, Nike unveiled their single-layer, high-performance hijab. A much praised move, inspired by Saudi

Arabian athlete Sarah Attar’s gold medal win at the 2012 Olympics, it aims to change Muslim women’s experience of sporting participation.

Wedge Dowel

Who’s it by? IKEA

What is it? No activity is quite so simultaneously life-affirming and soul-destroying as putting together IKEA furniture. IKEA just made it a little bit easier with their introduction of the wedge dowel - a joint that requires neither glue (of course) nor tools (now you’re interested).

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.

Who’s it by? Adjaye Associates, The Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond, SmithGroupJJR for the Smithsonian Institution

What is it? Sir David Adjaye recently received a knighthood for services to architecture, and this year saw the historic opening of the NMAAHC, his much-lauded design for which references the history of slavery, clad in ornamental 19th century style ironwork once typically crafted by enslaved African Americans.


(Luke Hayes/The Design Museum)
(Luke Hayes/The Design Museum)

Who’s it by? Krista Suh, Jayna Zweiman, Kat Coyle and Aurora Lady

What is it? The knitted pink cat-eared hat that became the symbol of protest against Donald Trump’s derogatory comments about women, and has since developed as the uniform of a global project to promote women’s rights.

Meet Graham

Who’s it by? Patricia Piccinini for Transport Accident Authority (TAC)

What is it? An interactive project focusing on Graham, a sculpture of a human body that is designed to survive a low impact car crash. Funnily enough Graham doesn’t look like pretty much anyone you’ve ever seen before – and is a reminder of how woefully vulnerable the body is in a traffic accident.

Pro-EU anti-Brexit Campaign

Who’s it by? Wolfgang Tillmans, Between Bridges

What is it? German born, partially London based artist Wolfgang Tillmans created this impassioned campaign as a response to the EU referendum. The campaign did not have the desired ultimate result, but did spread an intelligently communicated message of unity.

Beazley Designs of the Year will be on display from 18 October 2017 – 28 January 2018 at the Design Museum, designmuseum.org

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