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Designs of the Year 2015 Winners Announced


Design Museum, London is currently showing Designs of the Year. Now in its eighth year, the exhibition is made up of designs from across the sector chosen by people working in design. The work is selected on the basis that it promotes change, enables access or captures a contemporary spirit.

The exhibition has 76 nominees over six categories, including architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport. The projects are all recent, from the last year, and there are also seven awards.

Our Director, Nathalie Weadick was asked to nominate designs that she considered exemplary. She nominated architect Alejandro Aravena who was then selected to be part of the exhibition. His practice Elemental have won the category of architecture.

Here’s what Nathalie had to say about him: “My rationale for choosing Alejandro Aravena begins with an on-going admiration of his work through Elemental, an architecture and research practice, with worldwide renown and influence, based in Chile.”

Aravena is an architect from Santiago, Chile. He graduated from The Universidad Católica de Chile in 1992 and established Alejandro Aravena Architects in 1994. He is director of Elemental.

“Elemental, is a not for profit company with social interest that strategically nourishes projects of infrastructure, transportation, public space and housing, and extends beyond the traditional consideration of the look of a building into theories of participation, sustainability and use. The Innovation Center UC is a 14 story concrete building stacked high and deep, with impressive large recessed openings in the façade that provide for natural airflow. As well as creating the right environment for knowledge creation, this design has reduced energy costs by two thirds,” said Nathalie.

The Universidad Católica de Chile is home to The Innovation Centre UC, in its San Joaquin Campus. The center is a meeting point where companies and businesses can converge with researchers to create a process of transferring know-how, identifying business opportunities, adding value to existing resources or registering patents in order to improve the country’s competitiveness and its development.

“Aravena designs structures and spaces, which aim to get the best possible outcome for the client, for innovation and for extending design practice. These are high ideals indeed, achievable only because the driving force to attaining these is fuelled by common sense and responsibility,” said Nathalie of Aravena’s design.

Nathalie as a nominator or ‘design scout’ suggested potential projects for the awards and exhibition and provided her rationale which is published in the Designs of the Year catalogue. The jury members judge the seven awards, one for each of the categories and one overall Design of the Year 2015.

Among the other exhibitors are Irish architects O’Donnell + Tuomey for their Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, London.

The exhibition runs from 25 March to 5 July 2015. See the other exhibitors here.

Image: Elemental’s Innovation Centre UC – Anacleto Angelini