“A jumble sale of the near future”

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7.30am, originally uploaded by Jaypeg.

Last week I went to the opening of the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum.

The change from “Designer of the Year” to “Designs of the Year” is a stroke of genius on the museum’s part, and the exhibition is a wonderfully-broad church of great work.

Brit Insurance Designs of the Year

How they will pick a winner from such a wide selection (as they have decided they must, bafflingly) I don’t know. As The Telegraph points out:

“Showcasing 100 projects across seven categories, the exhibition has something of the quality of a jumble sale of the near future. The variety of material on display is hugely engaging, but quite how the jury – which is tasked with picking an overall winner as well as individual category winners – plans to assess the relative merits of a photo-shoot for John Galliano, a budget laptop for use in the third world and the principal stadium of the Beijing Olympics, remains something of a mystery.”

For me, the best thing about it is the breadth.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a more exciting thing to go and see than “a jumble sale of the near-future”.

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Which am I?, originally uploaded by Jaypeg.

Also the way it’s staged: categorisations blur into each other in the space in a way they don’t in a book or a website. Is the Wii product or interaction? Is StreetCar transport or interaction? Is that signage solution architecture or graphics?

Do we really care?

I was particularly impressed to see things like the Congestion Charge and StreetCar included – although I imagine the former will be the source of some controversy – Jonathan Glancey is extremely annoyed about it, for instance… But – service design interventions in a city as a design of the year! More of this please!

And just to put the icing on the cake – and this will please many: Tenori-On is nominated…

Despite my love/hate relationship with the Design Museum over the years, they were nice enough to invite me to be on the panel of 100 nominators for the show, ostensibly nominating work for the ‘interactive’ category.

I’ll probably post my personal list of nominations later – not all of them made it (Okami will have to settle for it’s EDGE award…), but a gratifying number did, including Trulia Hindsight, SharkRunners and FixMyStreet.

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Graphics, originally uploaded by Jaypeg.

As Sigi Moeslinger pointed out in her talk at IxDA Interaction 08, web services aren’t the most compelling thing when shown in a museum context, and the design museum hasn’t really done them that proud unfortunately, but hopefully there will be some intrepid souls who are willing to poke at an iMac for an equal amount of time as sigh at a Hussein Chalayan gown.

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Dress, originally uploaded by Jaypeg.

There’s more at the CR Blog, but if you’re in London – do go. It’s a great show, and for me, marks the Design Museum as a progressive institution in the ascendant after some years in the wilderness.

P.S.: Many thanks to Jaypeg for letting me use her excellent photos of the event.

  1. Ben said:

    That’s a pretty gushing review. And I’d given up hope since it had been renamed Brit Insurance etc.

    I shall now go.

  2. Andrew said:

    Seriously, Okami? It’s gorgeous, but its gameplay is so traditional, isn’t it?

  3. Jaypeg said:

    My pleasure Matt. It’s a very good in-depth review of the exhibition

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