How to live like a designer

How to live like a designer

I’ve spent the past month collating text and images relating to the forthcoming Brit Insurance Designs of the Year awards and exhibition. The awards honour the best designs of 2010 in seven categories: architecture, fashion, furniture, graphics, interactive, product and transport. The Design Museum announced the longlist for the award earlier this week – which means I can now talk openly about my fave projects.

Although I don’t have any insight – or influence – into who’s likely to win, I’ve spent many of the past few weeks wishing I owned/lived-in/used many of the products and buildings. So here’s my top ten tips for living like a designer, twenty-first century style.

1. Build an affordable home in the jungle

A Forest for a Moon Dazzler © Benjamin Garcia Saxe

Costa Rican architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe designed the A forest for a moon dazzler house for his mother. The bamboo and tin house offers views of the moon from the bedroom. And the smart modular construction has generated interest from organisations looking for affordable building solutions in tropical regions.

2. Book a designer cottage for your next short break

Balancing Barn © Living Architecture

MVRDV‘s designer holiday home, the Balancing Barn in Suffolk, is part of the Living Architecture scheme, which makes architect-designed properties accessible as holiday lets. There’s currently plenty of availability for the next few months…

3. Make a giant soft play area out of sticky tape

Crawling through Numen/For Use’s cocoon-like Tape Installations, made from industrial sticky tape, looks like good, grown-up fun.

Tape Installations

4. Create animals from paper and lego

I don’t know why I’ve never thought of combining the two before… Genius collaboration between Muji and Lego.

Playing with lego blocks and paper

5. Bake an edible book

The consumable book © Andreas Pohancenik

Andreas Pohancenik collaborated with a chef de cuisine to make this exhibition catalogue out of sugar pastillage. Individual wafer pages are printed with edible ink.

6. Print your own haute couture shoes

The Melonia Shoe © Naim Josefi

Fashion designer Naim Josefi and industrial designer Souzan Youssouf used a 3D printer to Create these designer shoes. Soon you’ll be able to visit a shop, have your foot scanned and walk out wearing an individual, personally-tailored pair of designer shoes.

7. Design your own unique magazine cover

Wallpaper* magazine’s custom covers let anyone design their own unique layout for the front of the August 2010 issue – which was then delivered to their door. Brilliantly executed by Kin Design and a selection of guest designers.

Wallpaper* custom covers

8. Sit in a spinning top

Spun © Heatherwick Studio/Peter Mallett

Thomas Heatherwick’s Spun is a giant spinning top seat, made from steel and copper. It is created with the same manufacturing technique used to make timpani drums.

9. Bike to work on a mini-farthing

YikeBike’s electric bike has a unique sitting position – with the handlebars behind you – and is the lightest and smallest folding bike in the world.

10. Lease a hydrogen-fuelled car

Riversimple car

Riversimple have developed a highly energy-efficient hydrogen vehicle and a business model which could make it a sustainable alternative to ordinary cars – based on leasing not owning.

I’d love it if one of these projects was to win the overall prize but, unlike last year’s obvious front-runner (Min-Kyu Choi’s brilliant folding plug), I think 2010 is a very difficult award to call. Plus, there’s plenty more brilliant and inspiring ideas to be found in the complete longlist.

We won’t know who has won until March 15th but you can see all the nominated designs up close when the exhibition opens on February 16th.


February 2, 2011 1:27 pm

I want to live in the house in the jungle with the spinning top chair in the living room, my own designed copy of Wallpaper* next to me on the forrest floor while I dine on an edible ebook. It looks like this exhibition is going to be fantastic.

Infinitely scandalous: the Natural History Museum’s Sexual Nature « mafunyane
February 21, 2011 1:23 pm

[…] pleasure to read. I don’t usually engage with museum captions (an irony since I’ve just spent two months writing a batch of them…) but here I wanted to digest every word. A couple of my favourite phrases: “From buxom […]

February 28, 2011 9:37 am

I am sold, and definitely going. Hmm… to go before and guess, or after and be taught what is good? Before, I think ;> LT

March 2, 2011 12:35 pm

The category winners are already announced (don’t click on this, if you don’t want to know: but overall winner won’t be revealed until 15th March…

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