This year's Designs of the Year jury have chosen their crème de la crème of the world's most cutting-edge design. Since London's Design Museum announced the 76 nominees in February, the competition has narrowed down to seven category winners.
In the final step of the competition, one of these category winners will be announced as the overall winner by June 30 at an event hosted by St. Martins Lane London.
Check 'em out along with jury comments right below.
ARCHITECTURE: HEYDAR ALIYEV CENTER, BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
Designed by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
"‘An intoxicatingly beautiful building by the most brilliant architect at the height of her office's powers. It's swooning fluid on the outside and inside, believing its size and complexity. The thousand and one geometrical junctions are consummately mastered and segue seamlessly into each other. Sitting atop a swooping zigzag landscape that would be a winner even without the building, It is as pure and sexy as Marilyn's blown skirt. Without an ounce of awkward argumentative modernism in its bones. It rather reads like a sweet love letter to Zaha's homelands.’ — Piers Gough, CZWG Architects LLP
‘It’s beautiful, it’s inspiring, it’s the clear vision of a singular genius and we thought it was a remarkable piece of work.’" — Ekow Eshun, writer, journalist and broadcaster, Chair of the jury.
DIGITAL: PEEK (PORTABLE EYE EXAMINATION KIT)
Designed by Dr. Andrew Bastawrous, Stewart Jordan, Dr Mario Giardini, Dr Iain Livingstone
"‘This is more than an app with a positive purpose - it cleverly integrates extra accessories for the smartphone with digital diagnostics, creating an effective medical tool that communicates with experts far away. It's a great example of how digital design can make a difference in remote healthcare – by not stopping at the object, by connecting services, agencies, territories and education... Four dimensional thinking!’ — Kim Colin, Industrial Facility
“What’s great about PEEK is that being digital helps it do things that we couldn’t do before. It’s a portable optician – the camera can look at your eyes, the flash from the camera can hit the back of your eye and get a picture, you can use it as an eye test sight card, and you can then send the results to wherever you want in the world. It also feels like it can scale, you can get the kit to millions of people really quickly in one go - another advantage of digital. PEEK is enabling teachers in schools to test the eyes of kids without having to go to an optician and that feels like a really good use of digital technology.” — Ben Terrett, Government Digital Service
‘It uses high design and high technology for a really fundamental purpose, which is ideally to make people’s lives better. I think we felt that it had a very strong chance of doing something that could make a difference in the world, and ultimately that’s the biggest test that design faces.’" — Ekow Eshun, writer, journalist and broadcaster, Chair of the jury.
FASHION: PRADA S/S14
Designed by Miuccia Prada
"'Prada's SS14 collection loudly declares the joy of being a modern woman. It mixes colours, textures, and paintings to leapfrog over the world of tasteful bland fashion. This is serious clothing that doesn't take itself seriously.’" — Frith Kerr, Studio Frith
FURNITURE: PRO CHAIR FAMILY
Designed by Konstantin Grcic
"‘No one on the jury had to argue the case for this exceptional chair - we just had to sit in it. Instantly its effect on the body is tangible and the mind can be satisfied with the balance struck between its material finesse, presence and purpose. It should absolutely shake up the educational sector and give students a truly happier experience in the classroom because it is seriously comfortable and joyous without risk of becoming a cartoon.’ — Kim Colin, Industrial Facility
‘Giric makes it look so easy to design a generous chair for children which they can sit at all angles on but with the possibility of good posture when they want it. The slightly exaggerated swooping back give it a grown up sophisticated feel. The various practical unfussy undercarriages offered allow the seat to do the talking. One hopes it will stoop to conquer the classrooms of the world.’" — Piers Gough, CZWG Architects LLP
GRAPHICS: DRONE SHADOWS
Designed by James Bridle / booktwo.org
"'James Bridles 'Drone Project' treads lightly through complexity. Expertly demonstrating the power of graphic design, the simple outline requires no caption, no text, no explanation. Like a reverse conjuror he makes the invisible visible, this project is as far reaching as it is uncompromising.’ — Frith Kerr, Studio Frith
‘It’s a provocative work, it’s a playful work, it’s also a political work that asks us to look at the world around us that we think we know and see something different there. We thought it was an important piece of work and we also thought it enabled graphics as a category to really expand, and to ask new questions in new ways.’" — Ekow Eshun, writer, journalist and broadcaster, Chair of the jury.
PRODUCT: THE SEABOARD GRAND
Designed by Roland Lamb and Hong-Yeul Eom
"‘This intriguing new digital instrument is the first I've seen that departs from an analogue piano typology and adds something new via its surface interface and design - lending some new musical freedom within a very controlled aesthetic. As a result of its design, the player knows the instrument can do the 'something else' that digital can uniquely provide, that an analogue piano doesn't. Apparently it's very intuitive for musicians and makes experimentation easy - I think we all enjoyed having a go.’" — Kim Colin, Industrial Facility
TRANSPORT: XL1 CAR – Designed by Volkswagen
"‘Here is a car that seems like it’s come out of a dream of the future, it’s refined, it’s elegant, it can go for miles and miles on a single tank of petrol and it looks beautiful, dangerous almost, in its dramatic shapes and lines. Nothing has gone to waste here - all of this is about going as far as you can on as little as possible. It succeeds as a concept for what a car could be, for almost what a car should be in the future, except it exists now.’" — Ekow Eshun, writer, journalist and broadcaster, Chair of the jury.
All category winners and this year's nominations are currently displayed at the Design Museum until Aug. 25. The public can participate and pick their favorite designs with the Visitor Vote (for Museum goers) and the new online Social Vote for the Museum's Facebook and Twitter followers.
All photos courtesy of Designs of the Year 2014.