Olympic Torch wins Design of the Year award

Image of Olympic Torch
Barber Osgerby have won the UK creative industry's gold medal - the Design Museum's Design of the Year award - for their Olympic Torch, also picking up the Product Award. Other category winners include...
(Image credit: Barber Osgerby)

Design duo Barber Osgerby have beaten everyone to the finishing line, scooping the Design of the Year 2012 at last night’s Design Museum awards ceremony for their Olympic Torch, fighting off competition from the likes of architecture firm Foster + Partners, and fashion designer Mary Katrantzou.

Britain's current Olympic mania may have given the pair a push in the right direction but their flame-burner – which also picked up the Product Award – rightly wins praise for its supremely functional, lightweight form, striking aesthetic and the advanced technology used to create it. The torch is crafted from an aluminium alloy, developed for the aerospace and automotive industries and features 8,000 holes (representing the number of people who will carry it), created using a new laser-cutting technology called Fire on the Fly.

In five short years, the annual awards have become a prestigious celebration showcasing the cream of the creative crop. They span seven diverse categories (with nominees and winners currently on display at the Design Museum until 4 July) ranging from transport to graphics and digital. Category winners this year included Hopkins Architects for their London 2012 Velodrome, which secured the Architecture Award, and RCA Graduate, Kihyun Kim, who won the Furniture Award for his balsa wood chair.

The esteemed panel of judges included our very own editor-at-large, Henrietta Thompson, culture pundits Evgeny Lebedev and Sir George Iacobescu, as well as Dutch designer Hella Jongerius.

Many of the winners and nominees have graced Wallpaper* print and web pages this year, including the Olympic Torch and David Chipperfield's Hepworth Wakefield (winner of our 'best new public building' Design Award), which shows that great minds think alike when it comes to spotlighting the best design.

Image of London 2012 Velodrome

Architecture winner: London 2012 Velodrome, London, UK 

(Image credit: Hopkins Architects)

Image of Kinect SDK

Digital winner: Microsoft Kinect and Kinect SDK, UK and USA by Microsoft Games Studios, Microsoft Research Xbox

(Image credit: Microsoft Games Studios, Microsoft Research Xbox)

Image of 132.5 collection

Fashion winner: Issey Miyake 132.5 collection, Tokyo, Japan by Miyake Design Studio

(Image credit: Miyake Design Studio)

Image of 1.3 balsa wood chair

Furniture winner: 1.3 balsa wood chair, London, UK by Kihyun Kim

(Image credit: Nicola Tree)

Image of Nokia Pure Font

Graphics winner: Nokia Pure Font, London, UK by Dalton Maag

(Image credit: Dalton Maag)

Image of Re-design for Emergency Ambulance

Transport winner: Re-design for Emergency Ambulance, London, UK

(Image credit: Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Vehicle Design Department, Royal College of Art)

Image of Flyover

Architecture nominee: Folly for a Flyover, London, UK (Assemble supported by The Bank of America Merrill Lynch CREATE Art Award)

(Image credit: Lewis Jones)

Image of Guangzhou Opera House

Architecture nominee: Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China by Zaha Hadid

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Image of Hepworth Wakefield

Architecture nominee: Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, UK by David Chipperfield

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Image of Maggies Centre

Architecture nominee: Maggies Centre, Glasgow, UK by OMA

(Image credit: Philippe Ruault)

Architecture nominee: Spaceport America, New Mexico by Foster Partners
Photography: Nigel Young. Courtsey: Foster Partners

Architecture nominee: The Iron Market, Port-au-Prince, Haiti by John McAslan Partners

Fashion nominee: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, New York, USA by Andrew Bolton with the support of Harold Koda of The Costume Institute, New York USA
Photography: Sølve Sundsbø

Image of Mary Katrantzou A/W 2011 collection

Fashion nominee:  Mary Katrantzou A/W 2011 collection, London, UK by Mary Katrantzou

(Image credit: Sølve Sundsbø)

Image of Chassis chair

Furniture nominee: Chassis chair, Munich, Germany by Stefan Diez

(Image credit: Stefan Diez)

Image of Hemp Chair

Furniture nominee: Hemp Chair, Berlin, Germany by Werner Aisslinger

(Image credit: Michel Bonvin)

Image of Lightwood chair

Furniture nominee: Lightwood chair, London, UK by Jasper Morrison

(Image credit: Yoneo Kawabe)

Image of Moon Rock Tables

Furniture nominee: Moon Rock Tables, London, UK by Bethan Laura Wood

(Image credit: Bethan Laura Wood)

Image of Oak Inside, Rotterdam

Furniture nominee: Oak Inside, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Christien Meindertsma

(Image credit: Thomas Eyck)

Image of Osso Chair

Furniture nominee: Osso Chair, Paris, France by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

(Image credit: TBC)

Image of Textile Field at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Furniture nominee: Textile Field at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in collaboration with Kvadrat, Denmark

(Image credit: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in collaboration with Kvadrat, Denmark)

Image of Tip Ton

Furniture nominee: Tip Ton, London, UK by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for Vitra

(Image credit: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in collaboration with Kvadrat, Denmark)

Image of Waver chair

Furniture nominee: Waver chair, Munich, Germany by Konstantin Gricic

(Image credit: Konstantin Gricic)

Image of Cut it Out by Noma Bar

Graphics nominee: Cut it Out, London, UK by Noma Bar

(Image credit: Francis Ware)

Image of Photo-Lettering

Graphics nominee: Photo-Lettering, Yorklyn, USA by House Industries

(Image credit: House Industries)

Image of Ascent by Barber Osgerby

Product nominee: Ascent, London, UK by Barber Osgerby for Haunch of Venison

(Image credit: Peter Mallet)

Image of Botanic, Eindhoven

Product nominee: Botanic, Eindhoven, Netherlands by Studio Formafantasma

(Image credit: Luisa Zanzani)

Image of pq Eyewear

Product nominee: pq Eyewear, by Ron A-frame line and Corbs line by Ron Arad

(Image credit: Ron A-frame line and Corbs line by Ron Arad)

Image of Shade by Simon Heijdens

Product nominee: Shade, London, UK by Simon Heijdens

(Image credit: Simon Heijdens)

Image of TMA-1 Headphones

Product nominee: TMA-1 Headphones by KIBiSi

(Image credit: KIBiSi)

Image of Totem by Bethan Laura Wood

Product nominee: Totem, London, UK by Bethan Laura Wood and Pietro Viero

(Image credit: Ruy Teixeira)

Image of 787 Dreamliner

Transport nominee: 787 Dreamliner by Boeing

(Image credit: Boeing)


The Design Museum
Shad Thames
London, SE1 2YD


Lauren Ho is the former travel editor at Wallpaper*. Now a contributing editor, she roams the globe, writing extensively about luxury travel, architecture and design for both the magazine and the website, alongside various other titles. She is also the European Academy Chair for the World's 50 Best Hotels.