Global Imaginations

The Design Museum, London, has announced the shortlist for the 10th anniversary celebrations of the world’s best designs. An annual exhibition, this year’s selection comes together on 18 October, with nominees including a hijab created by global sports brand Nike, the digitalised worlds of Pokémon Go, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, imagined by Sir David Adjaye. Covering a number of categories, from fashion and graphics, to architecture and technological products, the items on display piece together the wider sense of imagination that touches upon every element of contemporary life, spanning everything from modern recreation and gaming, to politicised concepts reflective of today’s international affairs.

Focusing on originality and innovation, the awards, supported by specialist insurer Beazley, comprise 62 nominations, with many focused on the notion of activism and protest in light of the shifting events happening worldwide. Products which reflect this include the Pussyhat made and worn in protest of President Donald Trump’s sexist remarks, Wolfgang Tillmans’ Remain Campaign for the Brexit referendum and IC4Design’s Finding Her and a Where’s Wally-style advertisement highlighting low levels of gender equality in Egyptian professions.

One of the most notable works to be included is Better Shelter, a flat-packed refugee shelter created with IKEA, was named the Beazley Design of the Year in 2016 and this year has seen further designs that attempt to raise awareness and improve the lives of those impacted by global displacement. Following similar thematic concerns, the selection also features The Avy Search and Rescue Drone designed to rescue refugees in danger whilst travelling across the Mediterranean Sea and the Refugee Nation Flag for the Olympics designed for the first ever Olympic refugee team.

Reflecting new ideas about structures and the spaces in which we live, Zaha Hadid Architects is nominated in the Architecture category for their Antwerp Port House, alongside Serpentine Pavilion designer Francis Kéré for his Lycée Schorge Secondary School.  Selected by a panel of distinguished international designers, curators and creatives, the awards showcase the most original and exciting products, concepts and designers in the world today.

The Design Museum Designs of the Year opens 18 October. For a full list of nominated designs:

1. Zaha Hadid, Port House. Courtesy of Helene Binet.