Philippe Starck, Virgil Abloh and Sabine Marcelis among winners of Designboom’s Design Prize

A sculpture on top of a wooden block
(Image credit: TBC)

The Triennale di Milano was a fitting spot for The Design Prize gala, following the recent opening of game-changing exhibition ‘Broken Nature’ curated by Italy-born Paola Antonelli. The exhibition unpacks restorative design projects and studies, and was good company for the 11 designers and studios that were awarded at the glittering gala, each for their impactful contribution to the design industry.

Notable winners of this third edition of the The Design Prize by Designboom included Philippe Starck who scooped the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award for his philosophy of life-improving design; Virgil Abloh who won the ‘Communication’ award for his thought-provoking vision for fashion brands Louis Vuitton and Off-White; Sabine Marcelis was awarded the ‘Best Design Newcomer’ award, praised for her refined works that play with light, and Michael Anastassiades, who was awarded ‘Designer of the Year’. The London-based designer opened a solo show in his native country this year at NiMAC in Nicosia, Cyprus, and celebrated multiple launches during Salone del Mobile.

Sabine Marcelis’ fountains for Fendi

One of Sabine Marcelis’ fountains for Fendi that launched at Design Miami

(Image credit: TBC)

There is plenty to write home about with regards to Milan this year. Exhibitions aside, it is the Wallpaper* Design Award 2019 Best City due to it remarkable renaissance in the realms of both fashion and architecture. The Design Prize celebrated this evolution too at its ceremony inside the Teatro dell'Arte, offerering a stage design that recreated elements of the city's architectural lynchpin: the Duomo. Here guests were awarded their golden Madonnina statuette, designed by Antonio Aricò.

One of its most pivotal awards, the ‘Social Impact Prize’ saw two winners, one chosen by the jury and another voted for by the public. Sustainable water collection tower ‘Warka Water’ by Arturo Vittori won the public vote, for its innovative work in Ethiopia, Haiti, Togo and Cameroon, while Forensic Architecture gained the jury’s favour for its examinations of state violence and violations of human rights. The collective, that includes film makers, lawyers, artists and more, uses architectural research and media technologies to unearth dynamic investigations.


The Design Prize ceremony was energised by Edison. For more information, visit the Designboom website

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.