London Brit Insurance Design Awards 2011

Whilst talk­ing about con­tem­por­ary art, new media art, IT, the most inter­est­ing ideas nowadays and the inter­re­la­tion of it all, whether you like it or not, you face the field of design. Design is an industry, which always bal­ances on the crit­ical edge, is not allowed into saint world of artists, though, at the same time often seen with sus­pi­cion from the per­spect­ive of “ser­i­ous” pro­fes­sion­als. Design is some­where there – between cre­ativ­ity, know­ledge, tech­no­logy and innov­at­ive thinking.

Not long ago, the “Brit Insurance Design Awards 2011” exhib­i­tion opened up. The main goal of this exhib­i­tion is to present year’s best and most inter­est­ing design­ers in dif­fer­ent fields: archi­tec­ture, fash­ion, fur­niture, graphic, inter­act­ive, product and trans­port design. Exactly today, in London, the win­ners of every cat­egory were announced. I have to admit that usu­ally I famil­i­ar­ize myself with recent design innov­a­tions while surf­ing online, so the “Pecha Kucha” even­ing, where par­ti­cipants talked about their ideas and the oppor­tun­ity to see the design exhib­i­tion after­wards was a great occa­sion to eval­u­ate the objects in per­son and feel how, why and in what point cre­ativ­ity, art, con­cep­tu­al­ity and design con­tact this year.

Left – win­ner (fash­ion) Jil Sander “+J”, right – win­ner (trans­port) “Barclays Cycle Hire”
Serco” mem­ber tells about “Barclays Circle Hire” pro­ject and how its design should become just as typ­ical to London as the red busses and black taxi cars

First of all, this exhib­i­tion was one of the best exhib­i­tions that I’ve seen in the past three months. I don’t remem­ber when was the last time I was so engaged in the inquiry of the exhib­its and descrip­tions of the con­cep­tions. The flip­ping through the graphic design press as much as the present­a­tion of the iPad applic­a­tions, the pos­sib­il­ity to try them out as much as video mater­ial, telling about archi­tec­tural, inter­act­ive, light­ing objects, immensely got my attention.

Pecha Kucha” even­ing was nice as well — I prob­ably won’t sur­prise any­one by say­ing that some announ­cers were more inter­est­ing than oth­ers. About 20 per­cent of the present­a­tions were just great, 50 per­cent were OK and 30 per­cent were bit bor­ing. However, keep­ing in mind that the most import­ant event is the exhib­i­tion and the announce­ment of the best design, the “Pecha Kucha” even­ing remains a tasty bonus for the gour­mands, who are more into design and want to get a bit more inform­a­tion than given in the exhib­i­tion descrip­tions. You can also talk with the author per­son­ally if you want.

Well, below you will find the objects, which drew my atten­tion the most.

Architecture. An open lib­rary, “Karo Architekten”, Germany
Architecture. An open lib­rary, “Karo Architekten”, Germany

I got a chance to read an opin­ion of one jury mem­bers of last year’s “Brit Insurance Design Awards” poll about the presen­ted pro­jects of 2011. One of the main minuses men­tioned this year was the abund­ant num­ber of the appeared com­mer­cial pro­jects, when, mean­while, last year there were sort of more social. However, if this argu­ment is valid then the field of archi­tec­ture is a com­plete excep­tion. The win­ner of the archi­tec­ture design was an open lib­rary pro­ject in Germany, which was cre­ated in very aban­doned, and we could say isol­ated part of the city. This pro­ject became the focus point of the city and gathered the com­munity, which in a short period of time col­lec­ted more than 20 000 books. Eventually, the pro­ject received the atten­tion of the gov­ern­ment too. Now, here it’s a lib­rary that is open for 24 hours and an open space for relaxation.

iPad – not that long ago presen­ted device. In the “Brit Insurance Design Awards” exhib­i­tion, there were a couple of iPad applic­a­tions presen­ted. I am per­son­ally very inter­ested in the dif­fer­ent exper­i­ence whilst read­ing and tak­ing in the inform­a­tion provided by iPad. Magazines could enrich the con­tent by thou­sand times and provide a com­pletely dif­fer­ent exper­i­ence to the read­ers, allow­ing you to flip through a load of illus­tra­tions, watch rel­ev­ant video record­ings, listen to music etc. I cer­tainly would use iPad for read­ing books, but it’s a shame that, in the mean­time, the access­ible pub­lic­a­tions as well as book resources are quite small. Well, and for now, all we are left with is to enjoy the design pub­lic­a­tions that accom­mod­ate the iPad pro­grams first, even though, the “pur­chase” of such magazines into your iPad costs the same as the paper edition,(which is a bit sad after get­ting attune with the free inform­a­tion in inter­net web­sites), how­ever, the inter­act­ive read­ing brings thoughts that we wasted a whole etern­ity read­ing flat books and we can only envy the future generations.

So, the win­ner of the inter­act­ive design field was one of the iPad applic­a­tions, “Flipboard” – it’s the first social magazine for iPad.

Graphic design

The graphic design cat­egory was not less deli­cious, mostly delight­ing the ones who were tired from the iPad devices and their applic­a­tions. The presen­ted books and pub­lic­a­tions invited to remem­ber the enjoy­ment of touch­ing qual­ity design, paper and press edi­tions and to famil­i­ar­ize with the most cre­at­ive design decisions that covered the com­mer­cial pub­lic­a­tion design as well as per­sonal artists’ port­fo­lio, spe­cial­ized books or even fiction.

The graphic design winners

Furniture design some­times is quite inter­est­ing but often, in my opin­ion, it’s bor­ing. Lamps, chairs, tables and all sorts of other often quite mono­tonic and just by one or another line dis­tin­guish­ing from each other con­struc­tions that we often looked at so much in our every­day life that it’s hard to sur­prise or to interest. In my opin­ion, this year’s win­ner was chosen wan­tonly, so instead of him I present a chair design that seemed the most inter­est­ing to me. This chair, in my opin­ion, is ideal for the brain­storm­ing. The con­stant swinging turns you pleas­antly, it seems that you will fall down right this moment but still you lean to the other side, just like those ser­i­ous decisions.

Not a win­ner but sup­posed to be one

Well and another pro­ject that attrac­ted my atten­tion was from the field of archi­tec­ture design. Benjamin Garcia, was great with his present­a­tion at “Pecha Kucha” even­ing. He presen­ted a forest pro­ject, cre­ated inside of a house. The archi­tect emphas­ized that archi­tec­ture to him is not just a non­liv­ing link with per­son­al­ity. He began the present­a­tion of this house with a story about his mother, who, whilst she was still young built a house her­self. This house, from which mother Helen could watch the moon every night became an inspir­a­tion to B. Garcia to cre­ate a new pro­ject. Whilst work­ing in London, he saved 10 thou­sand pounds and together with local dwell­ers in Costa Rica real­ized this pearl him­self. His mother now can watch the moon and enjoy nat­ural light­ing, which thanks to the com­pos­i­tion of the con­struc­tions and the selec­ted mater­i­als is dis­trib­uted just fabulously.

This example is very inter­est­ing in the pos­i­tion of the archi­tect him­self. Often we see archi­tects on the top, never phys­ic­ally involved in build­ing the pro­ject itself. Whereas, this case is com­pletely dif­fer­ent. B. Garcia hon­estly real­ized his pro­ject him­self from begin­ning till the end.

Hope you enjoyed some of my impressions!

B. Garcia
B. Garcia
Benjamin Garcia
Architecture design
Architecture design
Pecha Kucha night
Fashion design

More info here.

Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
About author:
Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
Gintare Zitkeviciute is Art Pit’s thinker and doer. In her work practise, she values lean approach, creativity and quick decisions. She doesn't like working with random people and thinks that a team is a heart of successful project. For that reason, she carefully picks people she works with on everyday basis. She is mostly interested in innovatio... Read further >
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