Voting opens for The Design Prize’s Social Impact award by Designboom

The third edition of The Design Prize by Designboom launches, with winners to be awarded during Milan Design Week 2019

A graphic of a white house with a stairwell in the centre, surrounded by two pot plants.
Investigations into Torture and Detention In Bujumbura Burundi by Forensic Architecture, nominated for the Social Impact Design Prize
(Image credit: TBC)

Now on its third edition, The Design Prize by Designboom honours excellence in the creative industry. The 10 categories in the shortlist span emerging talent, experimentation, curation and lifetime achievement, and winners will be revealed at a glittering ceremony at La Triennale di Milano during the most captivating event on the design calendar, Salone del Mobile – further anchoring this year’s Wallpaper* City of the Year as a cultural epicentre.

Winners will be selected by a jury that includes design studio Neri & Hu, artist erstwhile Wallpaper* guest editor Tomás Saraceno and architect Bjarke Ingels. But, there is a twist. For the second year running, the Social Impact category, that features projects engaging with improvements to the public realm, will have an extra winner. This winner will be chosen by the public creative community via a digital vote.

Last year the Social Impact award was scooped by Scewo, an electric wheelchair, and this year’s three nominees explore similarly thought-provoking innovations. Netherlands-based Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup system aims to remove half of the waste in the Pacific trash vortex in five years; Warka Water by Arturo Vittori is a sustainable water collection tower for Ethiopia, Haiti, Togo and Cameroon; and the work of research group Forensic Architecture uses architectural research and media technologies to investigate state violence and violations of human rights.

Looking up inside a large tent-like fixture with a red internal frame.

Warka Water by Arturo Vittori

(Image credit: TBC)

Elsewhere in the Design Prize shortlist, Vitra’s ‘Night Fever' exhibition, Kengo Kuma’s V&A Dundee (Wallpaper* Best Public Building 2019) and ‘Freeing Architecture’ by Junya Ishigami at Fondation Cartier have been recognised in the Exhibition category, while in the Best Designer division, awarded to India Mahdavi last year, the competition will be fought out between Michael Anastassiades, Nendo and Patricia Urquiola.

The awards ceremony will take place on 9 April, the first day of Milan Design Week, and the winners will be presented with Golden Madonnina Awards designed by Antonio Aricò.


The Design Prize, energised by Edison, will take place on 9 April at La Triennale di Milano

Voting is open 13-24 March for the Social Impact prize. For more information, visit the 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.