Designed by Sam Hecht, Kim Colin, Romain Voulet, Luca Corvatta and Mattiazzi Srl
Discover the most innovative designs across fashion, architecture, digital, transport, product and graphic design, as nominated by the public and design experts from around the world.
Experience the best moments in design from January 2019 to the moment global attention shifted in late January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
Discover futuristic technology for health and sanitization, explore projects tackling inequality and racism and dive into questions around water and food security including mainstream veganism.
Designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné, Dimitri Roussel and OXO Architectes
Architecture / L’Arbre Blanc
This multipurpose tower, located in the French coastal city Montpellier, contains housing, as well as a restaurant, art gallery, offices and a common area. Designed by Japanese architecture practice Sou Fujimoto, the building’s name translates from French as ‘the white tree’. Hundreds of generous balconies fan out from its facade, like leaves soaking up sunlight – designed to encourage residents to gravitate outside. The architects were inspired by Montpellier’s outdoors culture and warm climate. Designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné, Dimitri Roussel and OXO Architectes.
Image Francesca Torzo
Architecture / Z33
Located in Hasselt, Belgium, Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture’s original 1958 building is one of a group of structures that once housed the city’s ‘beguinage,’ a house for religious laywomen. The new extension reinterprets the surrounding eighteenth-century buildings and faces largely away from the street towards a central garden. The unit of the building is the rhombus brick, which is cast in three types of clay. In contrast to the classical layout of the original building, the extension offers an ensemble of galleries that vary in size, proportion and lighting. Designed by Francesca Torzo.
Image Royal Gilbert
Fashion / Adrift
Since the fashion brand’s launch early in 2019, Rui Zhou has concentrated on making the most intimate of clothing. Using an elastic knitted fabric, her garments create the illusion of an opaque ‘second skin’. Through it, the beautiful imperfections of the wearer’s actual skin are visible. The fabric is factory-knitted, with the imitation pearls and metal accessories that link the pieces together sewn by hand. This collection uses an organic silhouette, a minimalist aesthetic and detailed craftsmanship. The title, Adrift, refers to a young soul wandering the city, alone but open to encounters. Designed by Rui Zhou.
Designed by Nkwo Onwuka
Fashion / Dakala Cloth – A New African Textile
Dakala cloth is a fabric that was developed by Nkwo Design Studio, based in Lagos, Nigeria, to reduce textile waste and preserve a traditional craft form. The team developed it through a technique that involves stripping and sewing together sections of waste fabric. The ‘Be Us, Be Them’ collection displayed here arranges the cloth on to a mesh and into a form that appears like a set of solar panels. Designed by Nkwo Onwuka.
Stormzy’s stab-proof vest / Designed by Banksy
Graphics / Stormzy’s stab-proof vest
Banksy’s customised stab-proof vest aims to re-interpret the ‘John Bull’ gentleman’s waistcoat – a symbol of traditional British identity – to reflect the realities of modern urban life. Musician Stormzy took both the vest and the opportunity of being the first Black British solo artist to headline the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury to create a defining cultural moment. The commanding yet vulnerable performance raised multiple questions and statements, both overt and implied. Stormzy successfully conveyed how the Union Jack can seemingly be both a patriotic symbol and target. A genuine former police issue garment, in addition to making a fashion statement the vest is capable of stopping bullets of up to .45 calibre. Designed by Banksy.
Designers: Eric Timothy Carlson and Aaron Anderson
Graphics / Cover art for i,i by Bon Iver
The musical and visual components for Bon Iver’s fourth studio album were created in unison. Designer Eric Timothy Carlson spent six weeks at Sonic Ranch recording studio in El Paso, Texas, with the American folk band. The resulting artwork is made up of many parts: drawings and illustrations, icons, logos and typography, with the packaging of the album incorporated into the design process. The front features a collage of incense smoke over a photograph of the band in the desert. Designers: Eric Timothy Carlson and Aaron Anderson; Photography: Graham Tolbert; Record Label: Jagjaguwar.
Miquela / Founder and CEO: Trevor McFedries
Digital / Miquela
The character Miquela Sousa, or Lil Miquela, is the creation of LA start-up Brud and continues to be managed by a team of artists and technologists. She is a computer-generated virtual musician, social activist and model who has come to be hailed as a ‘global pop star’ and ‘Gen Z icon’. Her entirely virtual existence spans Instagram, TikTok and TV, with five million followers and more than fifty million streams across platforms. Miquela identifies as a ‘change-seeking robot’ and the character has supported the Black Lives Matter movement since her launch in 2016. The figure has been called out for perpetuating oppressive beauty standards and coopting minority identities. Founder and CEO: Trevor McFedries; Co-founder: Sara DeCou; Chief Content Officer: Nicole de Ayora; Head of Design: Isaac Bratzel; President: Kara Weber; General Manager Lauren Goulston.
Design: Reporters Without Borders in collaboration with DDB Germany
Digital / The Uncensored Library
The Uncensored Library is an open library within the computer game Minecraft. It contains journals and articles that are banned in several countries where the media is controlled, thus bypassing press censorship by oppressive regimes. The library houses information on all 180 countries on the Press Freedom Index. It also contains virtual ‘exhibition halls’ on five countries that are notorious for their press censorship: Russia, Vietnam, Mexico, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Designed by blockworks, an architecture firm that works uniquely on Minecraft, it is the creation of twenty-four builders from sixteen countries. Design: Reporters Without Borders in collaboration with DDB Germany; Architect: blockworks; Production: MediaMonks; Strategy: The Humblebrag.
Designed by Alice Wong with Aryan Javaherian
Digital / US & THEM
The video installation US & THEM brings together a host of visual and auditory sources, from historical photographs to examples of pop culture such as The Simpsons, to dissect problematic stereotypes of ‘the Asian.’ Originally presented at Dutch Design Week, the video is shown on a loop, with no distinct beginning or end, and is projected on gauze to give the images a dreamlike quality. As the sequence rolls around, the notion of a singular Asian ‘other’ is revealed as a figment of the Western imagination. Designed by Alice Wong with Aryan Javaherian.
Designed by Joe Beal, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Stefan Henrix and Stuart Hilliker (Sound), SISTER, The Mighty Mint and Word Games (Production), HBO and Sky Atlantic (Networks
Digital / Chernobyl Sound Design
Centred around the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant in Soviet Ukraine, this award-winning drama series recreates a number of sound details. The sound designers used an array of bespoke recordings, manipulated audio effects, recordings of everyday sounds and re-recorded dialogue to design an immersive, multi-layered soundscape. They worked with a sound team across Europe to record authentic analogue sounds, including Ukrainian fire-engine sirens and Russian tape-machines. Designed by Joe Beal, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Stefan Henrix and Stuart Hilliker (Sound), SISTER, The Mighty Mint and Word Games (Production), HBO and Sky Atlantic (Networks).
Designed by Scott Urban
Product / Reflectacles Privacy Eyewear
Reflectacles are glasses designed to counter the use of non-consensual facial recognition systems. Using infrared-blocking lenses and reflective frames, they defeat surveillance cameras that use infrared for illumination and more advanced systems that create 3D maps with infrared lasers. Each model offers a different degree of privacy: while IRpair uses infrared-blocking lenses alone, Phantom and Ghost have the added feature of reflective frames, which block surveillance further. The IRpair and Phantom models reflect infrared, while Ghost reflects both infrared and visible light. Designed by Scott Urban.
Designed by LEGO Foundation and LEGO Group in collaboration with official partners in the international blind community
Product / LEGO Braille Bricks
The studs of LEGO Braille Bricks are arranged to correspond to individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet, while also remaining fully compatible with the other LEGO bricks. Each brick features a printed letter or character, allowing sighted teachers, students and family members to interact on equal terms with the blind or visually impaired in an expanding set of languages. The LEGO Braille Bricks are distributed as part of a toolkit, free of charge, to organizations that educate blind and visually impaired children. Designed by LEGO Foundation and LEGO Group in collaboration with official partners in the international blind community.
Designed by Magnus Jakobsson and Mattias Alfborger
Product / DO Black
DO Black is the first credit card with a CO2 emission limit that allows users to monitor the environmental impact of their transactions. Conceived as a tool to combat climate change, DO Black combines three main functions: it can measure the carbon impact of transactions, set a CO2 emission limit calculated per country or per person, and overrides an account’s financial credit level based on the limit. The function, although integrated into the credit card, can also be applied to existing bank accounts internationally. Designed by Magnus Jakobsson and Mattias Alfborger.
Designed by Gabriela Medero and Samuel Chapman
Product / K-Briq
The K-Briq is a sustainable building brick with the highest recycled content of any brick currently available. At least 90 per cent of its content is recycled construction and demolition waste. The brick takes 24 hours to manufacture and does not require fossil fuel or firing to produce. This means that it releases a tenth of the carbon emissions in its production compared with a traditional fired-clay brick. This brick is Kenoteq’s first in a range of products that strive to establish a circular economy by utilising waste and recycled materials. Designed by Gabriela Medero and Samuel Chapman.
Designed by Sam Hecht, Kim Colin, Romain Voulet, Luca Corvatta and Mattiazzi Srl
Product / Fronda Stool
This stool was designed by Industrial Facility for a furniture collection celebrating ten years of Mattiazi, a family-owned Italian furniture manufacturer. UK-based designers Kim Colin and Sam Hecht wanted to design a ‘new typology’ for the company. They included a pinewood shelf below the stool’s seat, and inverted Mattiazzi’s traditional style by using wood for the stool’s structure and metal for its seat, as opposed to the other way around. Designed by Sam Hecht, Kim Colin, Romain Voulet, Luca Corvatta and Mattiazzi Srl.
Designed by artists Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello with Colectivo Chopeke
Transport / Teeter-Totter Wall
Architecture studio Rael San Fratello has been researching the border that separates Mexico from the USA since 2009. Viewing the boundary as a site that severs relationships between the two countries, they wanted to create a place where citizens across the border could connect, so they designed three bright pink ‘teeter-totters’ (see-saws) to slot into gaps in the steel border wall. One designer worked from Juárez in Mexico and another in El Paso, USA. For just under twenty minutes on 28 July 2019, residents of El Paso and the Anapra community in Mexico could, for the first time, unite through play. Designed by artists Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello with Colectivo Chopeke.
“Beazley Designs of the Year, will offer a vital chance to recap where we were when the virus took hold. It will require careful construction and precise story telling in order to establish the big themes and preoccupations from that period. The show will be arranged chronologically, suggesting a countdown from January 2019 to the moment our attention shifted in late January 2020. More than merely an assessment of the past, it will be a frame for exploring the future.” –Emily King, curator of Beazley Designs of the Year 2020.
The physical exhibition will be closed from December 16, 2020. Following the announcement that London will be in COVID Tier 3, the museum and its exhibitions will be closed until Government guidance changes.
The Virtual Experience will continue through the announced dates: Explore a complete 360 degree 3D rendering of this year’s Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition and go beyond the objects with footage of the designers talking about their work and contextual articles explaining how the designs were made.