The Beazley Designs of the Year winners revealed at the Design Museum

The Architecture category
Better Shelter by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolò Barlera, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR has won the Beazley Design of the Year 2016 as well as topping the Architecture category.
(Image credit: Jonas Nyström)

The winners of the Beazley Designs of the Year have been announced at an exclusive dinner hosted inside the Design Museum’s new Kensington home tonight. Now in its ninth edition, the awards sees nominees battle it out in six categories – Architecture, Graphics, Fashion, Transport, Product and Digital – with the shortlisted designs on display at the museum since last November.

The loftiest accolade, Design of the Year, was awarded to Better Shelter, a collaborative project by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolò Barlera, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR. These cleverly devised, flat-packed refugee shelters can be rapidly made and contain a solar powered wall.

Design Museum in London

Installation view of the ‘Beazley Designs of the Year’ exhibition at the Design Museum in London.

(Image credit: Luke Hayes)

‘Innovative, humanitarian and implemented, Better Shelter has everything that a Beazley Design of the Year should have,’ says judge Dr Jana Scholze from Kingston University. Better Shelter topped the hotly contested Architecture category, pipping Herzog & de Meuron’s Tate Modern extension and OMA’s Fondazione Prada to the post.

Other winners include David Bowie’s Blackstar album cover, crowned Graphic Design of the Year. Designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, the elegantly understated album design was open-sourced after the singer’s untimely death last year allowing fans (including us) to reimagine the artwork. 'The Blackstar design is an iconic piece of graphic design that defined an important moment in musical history,' says judge John Morgan, founder of John Morgan design studio, 'it has the ability to connect with an audience and demonstrates the power that music and design has to unite people.'

'I was think the first time I met David Bowie and I was nervous as I am tonight,' Barnbrook says in his award speech at the dinner. 'Aside from being someone who represented what was the best about British culture, [Bowie] was cool, he was himself, and he made it possible for other people to be who they wanted to be. He was quietly confident about his viewpoint of the world, and I think that is how British design should be.'

The artwork

The artwork for David Bowie's ‘Black Star’ album won the Graphic Design of the Year award.

(Image credit: Luke Hayes)

Tech-minded victors were seen across the board and not just limited to the Digital gong, which went to OpenSurgery, a DIY robotic surgeon created as a graduate project at the Royal College of Art. The Transport award winner was ‘Lumos’, a smart bicycle helmet with integrated lights, brake and turn signals, by Eu-wen Ding and Jeff Haoran Chen.

Topping the Product shortlist – which included a Muji kitchen appliance by Naoto Fukasawa along with sculptural furniture by Fredrikson Stallard – was the Space Cup, a coffee cup that brings an ‘an Earth-like drinking experience’ to the low gravity environment of space. Perhaps the youngest winners yet, a group of eight-year-olds from the CEIP La Rioja School in Madrid nabbed top honours in the Fashion category for their video exploring advertising.


Graphics winner: Blackstar, by Jonathan Barnbrook at Barnbrook for David Bowie/Sony Entertainment Inc.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Barnbrook)

Space Cup

Product winner: 'Space Cup', by Mark Weislogel, Andrew Wallman, John Graf, Donald Pettit, and Ryan Jenson.

(Image credit: Courtesy of NASA)


Digital winner: OpenSurgery, developed as a graduation project at the Design Interactions department of the Royal College of Art, London, UK.

(Image credit: Juuke Schoorl)

Lumos bicycle

Transport winner: 'Lumos' bicycle helmet, by Eu-wen Ding and Jeff Haoran Chen

(Image credit: press)

Children vs Fashion

Fashion winner: Children vs Fashion, by a group of children aged eight from CEIP La Rioja School, Madrid, Spain

(Image credit: press)


‘Beazley Designs of the Year’ is on view until 19 February. For more information, visit the Design Museum website


Design Museum
224-238 Kensington High Street
London W8 6AG


Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.