The Folding Plug by London student Min-Kyu Choi has been crowned the Brit Insurance Design of the Year 2010 at this year's Design Museum Design Awards.

Min-Kyu Choi's ingenious redesign of the humble household device – also nominated by Wallpaper* for our Life-Enhancer of the Year Award 2010 - was selected from among the seven category winners as the most compelling and progressive design of the last 12 months. The student beat some of the biggest names in global design and architecture to scoop the award – a top industry accolade – proving that acclaim in the design world is based on merit not celebrity.

Inspiration for the plug came when Min-Kyu Choi had to carry around the world's largest plug (the UK pin plug) with the world's thinnest laptop (the MacBook Air). His decision to create a plug that could fold flat is an ingenious example of problem solving.

The Folding Plug – which also picked up the Product Award – was chosen from among the seven category winners announced earlier this month. Elemental scored the Architecture Award for its Monterrey Housing, a pioneering new model for social housing in Mexico, while Jair Straschnow won the Furniture Award for his Grassworks series of flatpack items made from bamboo. These are cannily assembled without using glue or screws.

Alexander McQueen's genius was acknowledged when his final S/S 2010 collection picked up the Fashion Award. A video of the catwalk show is on display at the exhibition. 'Its impressiveness simply compounds the enormity of his loss,' said Paula Reed, style director of Grazia. She joined leading figures from the British design industry, including Tom Dixon and Morag Myerscough, on the jury, which was chaired by Anthony Gormley.

The winners and shortlisted nominees – on show at the Design Museum until 31st October - offer a snapshot of the most exciting designs from the last year. It may have been a testing twelve months, but tough times breed greater competition, forcing designers to think deeper – as the winning works bear testament.

Many of Wallpaper's own award nominees made the shortlist, proving that outstanding design doesn't tend to go unnoticed. Of course, we like to think we spotted them first…