Nifemi Marcus-Bello wins Hublot Design Prize 2022

Hublot Design Prize 2022: the awards’ seventh edition celebrates innovation in design

Hublot Design Prize 2022 winner Nifemi Marcus Bello holding trophy
Nifemi Marcus-Bello, centre, flanked by jury members, from left, Samuel Ross, Marva Griffin, Alice Rawsthorn and Hans Ulrich Obrist
(Image credit: Hublot)

Nifemi Marcus-Bello’s work in community projects with an ethnographic bent have seen him scoop the Hublot Design Prize 2022, announced by jury members Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries; Marva Griffin, the founder of the design fair SaloneSatellite; the design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn; and Samuel Ross, who won the award in 2019.

Nigerian-born designer Marcus-Bello won for his work that results in new forms and typologies centring around the needs of the community. In 2021, he won the Life-Enhancer of the Year in the Wallpaper* Design Awards, for ‘For the community by the community' portable handwashing station

man washing hands on Nifemi Marcus-Bello portable handwashing station

‘For the community by the community' portable handwashing station, by NMBello Studio

(Image credit: Dennis Osadebe)

Maya Bird-Murphy and Connor Cook received the Pierre Keller award.

All eight finalists considered the benefits of design in a diverse range of works, from Connor Cook’s transformation of computer game engines for interactive audio-visual experiences to Maya Bird-Murphy, who brings skill-building workshops to under-represented communities. Hiroto Yoshizoe is concerned with urban development, Kusheda Mensah with social interaction. For Sasha Anisimova, illustration depicts the realities of war, while Luigi Alberto Cippini’s background as an artist and curator facilitates his work in devising research projects. Sun Xiaoxi utilises graphic design skills in his marriage of traditional Chinese typography with contemporary design.    

The Hublot Design Prize, launched in 2015 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Big Bang, was conceived by Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and the late graphic artist designer Pierre Keller. The winner is set to receive 100,000 Swiss francs in prize money.

'I consider design 'the oldest industry in the world,' says Griffin. 'Every piece has been designed by mankind. The function of design for me is creating pieces that better the quality of everyday life, and I am happy to see that young designers carefully pay attention to this fact.'

The judges were excited by the calibre of this year's contestants. 'I see them as my peers, in both generation and thought. There's a through-line of 'design for community' and design serving the populous that is appropriate, rightly pushing design beyond the moniker of transactional goods. Whether it be literature or furniture, or graphic design - each designer is resolving a question, and need or, proposing new solutions,' says Ross.

Adds Rawsthorn: 'One of the most exciting aspects of this year’s Hublot Design Prize finalists is that they are so diverse and eclectic: in terms of gender, ethnicity, heritage and geography, and in the range of design disciplines they represent. Connor Cook is at the forefront of experimentation in immersive design research and performance, as are Hiroto Yoshizoe and Luigi Alberto Cippini in spatial design, and Sun Xiaoxi, Kusheda Mensah and Nifemi Marcus-Bello in their fields. While Maya-Bird Murphy is using design to forge a fairer, healthier future through teaching and community engagement, and Sasha Anisimova is a talented young Ukrainian illustrator whose work is a powerful reminder of the human impact of Vladmir Putin’s illegal invasion of her country.'

‘Hublot has always been a close marriage between the worlds of watchmaking and design,’ says Guadalupe. ‘We employ the best watchmakers, but at the same time we delve deeply into the world of design to make sure that the brand keeps innovating and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. The Hublot Design Prize is a chance to showcase the very best young designers and give their work the publicity it deserves. They are an inspiration to everything we do at Hublot and we wish them all every success in the future.’

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.