What sets us humans apart from animals is our inherent curiosity.
Add this to our primal desire to make things & what started out a million years ago as a stone handaxe, today culminates in the Beazley Designs of the Year at the Design Museum.
Now in its 11th year, this annual extravaganza of ideas is like looking through a window into the future. A future of social consciousness, where supermarket aisles are plastic-free & you can grow a pair of space boots out of mushrooms using human sweat. Seriously!
Of the 87 nominees, here’s my Top 3:
Name: Burberry Rainbow tartan
Designer: Christopher Bailey for Burberry
Taking the classic Burberry tartan and reinventing it for our time, Christopher Bailey’s rainbow-hued stripes support & celebrate LGBTQ+ communities. Speaking about his final collection before leaving Burberry in early 2018, Christopher wrote “in our diversity lies our strength, and our creativity.” Borne from this, the rainbow tartan symbolises Burberry’s commitment to donate to three LGBTQ+ charities.
At NIXEY we love tartan. We create many bespoke tartan bags & know from how our customers respond that it is more than just a fabric. Cultural identities are woven through its fibres. Bailey has recognised this power & transformed Burberry’s traditional tartan into a emblem of inclusiveness for a modern & diverse clan. He has created something visually iconic to represent the social responsibilities of a big corporation & for that we salute him.
Name: Choose Love shop
Designer: Help Refugees in partnership with Glimpse
Choose Love is the Soho pop-up where you can shop til you drop & leave empty handed, but full hearted. Every penny you spend in there is not for you or your loved ones, but for a complete stranger who you will never meet. Set up by the charity Help Refugees, it is the world’s first shop where you can buy real products for those in need. From medical supplies to a child’s winter coat, the charity sends the items you buy straight to refugees across Europe & the Middle East.
In terms of donating, we are a very charitable nation in the U.K. with November being our peak giving month from Children in Need to the Poppy Appeal. Through the Choose Love store, Help Refugees have upped the human-to-human element of donating which goes beyond money. It reminds me of Harvest Festival as a child; carefully selecting non-perishables from the supermarket aisles for someone unknown & hoping that these small offerings would make life a little easier for those receiving them.
With the season of goodwill just around the corner, Choose Love’s current pop-up is in Covent Garden & the online store is coming soon.
Name: Bad News game
Designer: Gusmanson and DROG
What’s the cure for the Fake News pandemic? The Cambridge researchers behind the online game Bad News believe in prevention rather than cure. The game’s aim is to ”immunise” players against the spread of untruths in the real world, by encouraging them to replicate the tactics used by “fake news tycoons”.
Through a simulated Twitter-esque platform, players compete to amass as many followers as possible. Trolling, discrediting, conspiracy theories, invoking emotion & polarisation will all get you far in the world of Bad News.
The concept of ‘real’ & ‘fake’ is becoming more & more blurred. The internet is a tool of global & social empowerment, a resource we all use to better understand the world we live in & the people we share it with. But, as with so many things us humans put our hand tom there’s a dark side. Propaganda is not something new to humankind but it was once a sphere occupied by corrupt governments & media. Now anyone can become a fake news overlord, reaching thousands if not millions of us with every tweet & post. From Donald J Trump to this entertaining but shady story hitting music news reports this week.
The guys behind Bad News are equipping us with a vital tool; the power to detect disinformation. Could this be the 21st century answer to the handaxe?
This year’s winner will be an announced on the 15th November and the exhibition runs until 6th January 2019. Head along if you get the chance, it’s a great excuse to check out the new Kensington home of the Design Museum too!