Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2010

Folding Plug
Brit Insurance Design of the Year 2010 and overall winner: The Folding Plug by Min-Kyu Choi.
(Image credit: press)

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…

Monterrey Housing in Mexico

Brit Insurance Architecture Award 2010: Monterrey Housing in Mexico, by Elemental.

(Image credit: press)

Black & white.'The EyeWriter' A man in a bed with glasses frame and new technology over his nose

Brit Insurance Interactive Award 2010: The EyeWriter by members of Free Art and Technology, openFrameworks, Graffiti Research Lab, The Ebeling Group and Tony Quan.

(Image credit: press)

Slightly arched free standing shelving unit

Brit Insurance Furniture Award 2010: Grassworks 

(Image credit: Jair Straschnow.)

stacks of coloured newspapers on a pallet

Brit Insurance Graphic Award 2010: The Newspaper Club

(Image credit: Ben Terrett, Russell Davies and Tom Taylor.)

E430 Electric Aircraft

Brit Insurance Transport Award 2010: E430 Electric Aircraft

(Image credit: Yuneec International.)

female model on a catwalk

Brit Insurance Fashion Award 2010: Alexander McQueen’s S/S 2010 collection.

(Image credit: Alexander McQueen)

032c Magazine front cover- short haired female

Graphic Award nominee: 032c Magazine. Art direction 

(Image credit: Mike Meiré.)

Carbon Fibre Chair

Furniture Award nominee: Carbon Fibre Chair 

(Image credit: Shigeru Ban Architects.)

Samsung N310 Mini Notebook closed

Product Award nominee: Samsung N310 Mini Notebook 

(Image credit: Naoto Fukasawa.)

Samsung N310 Mini Notebook- open

Product Award nominee: Samsung N310 Mini Notebook

(Image credit: Naoto Fukasawa.)

'The Happy Hypocrite' Black, Green, Red graphic piece

Graphic Award nominee: The Happy Hypocrite by A Practice for Everyday Life.

(Image credit: press)

High Line Park, New York

Architecture Award nominee: High Line Park, New York, which won the Wallpaper* Life-Enhancer of the Year Award 2010.

(Image credit: James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro,)

Black, orange, green & white 360° Work Chair

Furniture Award nominee: 360° Work Chair , who we awarded the Wallpaper* Furniture Designer of the Year Award 2010.

(Image credit: Konstantin Grcic)

Kyoto Box

Product Award nominee: Kyoto Box . This product was also nominated for the Wallpaper* Life-Enhancer of the Year Award 2010.

(Image credit: Jon Bohmer)

White blown-fabric lanterns

Product Award nominee: Blown-fabric lanterns . Nendo was also nominated for the Wallpaper* Furniture Designer of the Year Award 2010.

(Image credit: Nendo.)

Doorway into large space at Neues Museum, Berlin

Architecture Award nominee: Neues Museum, Berlin,  This project was also nominated for the Wallpaper* Best New Public Building Award 2010.

(Image credit: David Chipperfield Architects and Julian Harrap Architects.)

Pallet chair

Furniture Award nominee: Pallet Furniture

(Image credit: Nina Tolstrup of Studiomama.)

'PIG 05049' Tag on the side of a book

Graphic Award nominee: PIG 05049 

(Image credit: Christien Meindertsma.)

'PIG 05049' double page with coloured pencil image on the pages

Graphic Award nominee: PIG 05049 

(Image credit: Christien Meindertsma.)

Digital clock '05:12'

Product Award nominee: Real Time . We awarded him Best Time Lord Award in our 2010 Wallpaper* Design Awards.

(Image credit: Maarten Baas)

'The Incidental' written in neon letters

Interactive Award nominee: The Incidental. Concept and creative direction 

(Image credit: Daniel Charny.)

'The Incidental' A collection of papers

Interactive Award nominee: The Incidental. Concept and creative direction

(Image credit: Daniel Charny.)

Five coloured chairs

Furniture Award nominee: Houdini Armrest Chair

(Image credit: Stefan Diez.)


Design Museum
Shad Thames

London SE1 2YD


Malaika Byng is an editor, writer and consultant covering everything from architecture, design and ecology to art and craft. She was online editor for Wallpaper* magazine for three years and more recently editor of Crafts magazine, until she decided to go freelance in 2022. Based in London, she now writes for the Financial Times, Metropolis, Kinfolk and The Plant, among others.