Mediocrity Rules: Design Of the Year Award Loses Its Lustre

The winner of the The Design Museum’s sixth annual Designs of the Year award has been announced as; the ‘Gov.UK Website’. It was presented in a ceremony at the Angler, South Place Hotel, London on Tuesday 16 April. If this award is going to be considered the ‘Oscar of the design world’, as self-described by the creators of the award, they will have to do far better in the future.

The winner of this year’s top prize (see below) is a dull, unimaginative, graphically insignificant design. Its choice undermines, what in the past has been a respected event. In our humble opinion, The whole award has lost direction and has become a shambolic exercise in mediocrity. It stinks of a committee of jurors sucking up to the government and raises questions of an ulterior agenda . Deyan Sudjic, Director of Design Museum said:”GOV.UK looks elegant, and subtly British thanks to a revised version of a classic typeface, designed by Margaret Calvert back in the 1960s. It is the Paul Smith of websites. The rest of the world is deeply impressed, and because it has rationalised multiple official websites, it saves the taxpayer millions, what’s not to like?” Pete Collard, Curator of Designs of the Year comments: ‘Designs of the Year is the Design Museum’s authoritative review of the most innovative, forward-thinking and culturally relevant projects from the past twelve months. The work selected demonstrates the many ways in which design can transform our physical and cultural landscape.’

Our choice would have been the Olympic Cauldron designed by Heatherwick Studio. This didn’t even make the short list. We also liked The Louis Vuitton collection by Yayoi Kusama, and Zaha Hadid’s two nominations for the Galaxy Soho building in Beijing and the Liquid Glacial Table. Even The Shard designed by Renzo Piano didn’t make it to the final.

The shortlist  for the seven categories nominated were:

Architecture: TOUR BOIS-LE-PRÊTRE, PARIS – Designed by Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal

Digital: GOV.UK WEBSITE – Designed by Government Digital Service

Fashion: DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL – Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Furniture: MEDICI CHAIR – Designed by Konstantin Grcic for Mattiazzi

Graphics: VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE IDENTITY – Designed by John Morgan Studio

Products: KIT YAMOYO – Designed by ColaLife and PI Global

Transport: MORPH FOLDING WHEEL – Designed by Vitamins for Maddak Inc. Pete Collard, Curator of Designs of the Year comments:

To sum up, we cannot get excited by the event this year. Last year’s winner, the Olympic torch, was a design that wasn’t exactly memorable or iconic but a far superior choice to 2013. As for next year? Why bother.

Off The Peg? Generic Gov.UK Website Takes Top Prize.

Mediocrity Rules: Design Of the Year Award Loses Its Lustre

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