Design Museum London

by Stephanie Gilmartin

On Saturday James and I went to the Design Museum near London Bridge to see the Designs of the Year 2014 exhibition.  I went last year and absolutely loved it – there are so many inspirational ideas being dreamed up all the time that it’s cool to see some prototypes being made.

The best designs in my book are the ones that make a measurable and lasting difference to people’s lives, and solve a problem.  Last year I really loved the Kit Yamoyo (an anti-diarrhoea kit for with a rad distribution network in Africa via Coca Cola crates) and the Child Vision glasses (glasses you can adjust the thickness of using a little vial to insert/remove extra water, thereby changing the depth of the lenses).  This year, my favourites were:

Dumb Ways to Die – a video educating people about safety around trains that went viral and actually made a difference.

Chineasy – this was amazing.  A really clear, graphic book uses each symbol to illustrate what it stands for, using at least 80% of the symbol to make it really memorable.  It does make it look incredibly easy – you can buy the book at the Design Museum’s shop.

Chair 4 Life – Created based on research with users, a modular wheelchair that develops and grows with its user, with a hydraulic lift so that they can talk to people standing up eye-to-eye.

Phoneblocks – a phone you can build to suit yourself, with blocks of what you need – for example, if you want higher-resolution photographs, you might opt for a bigger camera, or if you need more battery, you might choose a bigger battery and get rid of some memory space.  Intriguing.

Sadie Williams’ Totemic Collection – chosen by Peter Jensen, one of my favourite not-that-well-known designers, he chose it “because the idea of a sort of sci-fi disco queen that comes alive is thrilling in my mind”.

Oculus Rift – a virtual-reality headpiece for gamers, that tracks the wearer’s movements, to fully immerse them in a game. I hear one of the developers we've met through Get-Well Gamers has one, and that we may at some point get to play with it - eeee!

Stephen Jones’ Magazine – just plain beautiful fashion illustration.

Miuccia's Prada collection - sparkly, bold and wonderful.

Touch Board – a circuit board with magic conductive paint that means you can paint a light switch that actually works, plus many other exciting possibilities.

What was your favourite Design of the Year? I’m interested to know if there are any that weren’t featured in the exhibition but ought to have been!