Forensic Architecture, Thomas Heatherwick and Erdem win at Beazley Designs of the Year
UK-based Forensic Architecture’s ‘Counter Investigations’ exhibition wins Beazley Design of the Year 2018, as announced at London’s Design Museum tonight. Meanwhile Thomas Heatherwick’s concrete marvel Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town wins the Architecture accolade and Erdem Moralıoğlu is honoured for his innovative Royal Ballet costumes in the Fashion category.
Forensic Architecture, an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths University London, was chosen by this year’s distinguished jury that includes designer Tord Boontje; Ian Callum, director of design at Jaguar; Paul Priestman, chairman of PriestmanGood; Robert Devereux, chairman of The Conduit; Melodie Leung, senior associate at Zaha Hadid Architects and fashion designer Roksanda Ilinčić.
The dynamic research in Counter Investigations acts as a digital examination unit that unearths miscarriages of justice and international war crimes via its architectural analysis of imagery, maps, texts, films and more. In addition to scooping the most prestigious award, the firm was also recipient of the Digital gong.
‘Their application of architectural skills to the re-creation of past events is extraordinarily innovative, intellectually rigorous and will make a significant contribution to justice,’ comments juror Devereux on the big win. Evidently a golden year for Forensic Architecture, the practice has also been nominated for the Turner Prize. Last year’s winner of the Beazley Design of the Year award was David Adjaye’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
In the Fashion category, womenswear designer Erdem Moralıoğlu was triumphant, winning for his armour-like twist on elegance in the form of Grecian-inspired Royal Ballet costumes for Christopher Wheeldon’s production of Corybantic Games.
Also victorious is Heatherwick Studio in the Architecture category with its disused grain silo on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. Described as a ‘museum carved from concrete', the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa has won numerous plaudits since its completion in September 2017.
The Beazley shortlist always reflects current global issues so naturally sustainable design was represented within the shortlist. Plastic Oceans Foundation and LADbible’s project that raises awareness about the plastic pollution problem scooped the Graphics award. They have created passports, stamps and currency – a ‘national identity’ – for a fictional ‘Trash Isles,’ an imagined area the size of France in the Pacific Ocean that is currently flooded with plastic.
Meanwhile, in the Transport category, SpaceX won for ‘Falcon Heavy’, its economical and reusable rocket for commercial space travel.
There were a handful winners operating in the medical arena too with Paperfuge, a low-tech kit which performs blood tests by Prakash Lab scooping the Product prize. Affordable and easily accessible, the kit consists of readily available materials – string, plastic and paper – and produces quick results.
Winning the 2018 People’s Choice prize, as voted for by Design Museum visitors, is SurgiBox. This groundbreaking portable operating theatre, created by Debbie Teodorescu, Mike Teodorescu, Stephen Okajima and Team SurgiBox, can fit into a backpack and is 99.9 per cent sterile.
Aric Chen from M+ museum in Hong Kong has curated this year’s Designs of the Year showcase at the museum, displaying the shortlist in categories of political, social and economical issues in our world today and putting these celebrated designs on a pedestal as powers to create positive change.
Jury member Devereux, whose members club The Conduit operates a programme focused on social and environmental change, was inspired by his experience of judging the Beazley awards. ‘It reminded me that design touches every part of our lives and that it potentially holds the solution to many of our current dilemmas,’ he said. ‘It left me full of hope.’
Beazley Designs of the Year 2018 is on view until 6 September. For more information, visit the Design Museum website
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