The exhibition will be opening its doors to the public October 18, where you’ll be able to see a wide variety of thought-provoking and innovative designs from across the world, spread across six categories.
One of the stand-out themes of this year’s exhibition is activism and protest, with a particular focus on Donald Trump’s presidency, the Brexit referendum and the ongoing refugee crisis. One contender is a 3D interactive recreation of a Syrian torture prison, which is based on the accounts of survivors, plus there’s the ‘Pussyhat’ on display, which was created in reaction to Trump’s sexist remarks.
An overall winner will be chosen from the 62 nominations on January 25, 2018 – last year’s winner was a flat-packed refugee shelter called ‘Better Shelter‘, which was designed in collaboration with IKEA. Here are the highlights from the 2017 shortlist by category.
Name: Mrs Fan’s Plugin House
Designers: People’s Architecture Office
The Plugin House is designed to combat sky-high real estate in central Beijing by providing an affordable prefab module that replaces part of the existing house and adds new functions in the process to improve living standards.
Name: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Designers: Adjaye Associates
The NMAAHC in Washington D.C. was inaugurated by President Obama last year and is the result of a long struggle to recognise the importance of the black community in the nation’s history and identity. Designed by one of the world’s most respected contemporary architects, Sir David Adjaye, is a striking three-tiered building clad in decorated bronze plates that reference traditional African American craftsmanship.
Name: Saydnaya: Inside a Syrian Torture Prison
Designers: Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International
This interactive reconstruction of a torture prison called Saydnaya near Damascus has been recreated by researchers who worked in collaboration with the prison’s survivors. The overall effect is a chilling and uncomfortably intimate experience that confronts the viewer with the harsh reality of these ‘black holes’, where many have been tortured or have died, unmonitored. It’s part of a larger Amnesty International campaign to get the Syrian government to agree to independent monitoring of its detention centres.
Name: Meet Graham: The only person designed to survive on our road
Designers: Patricia Piccinini for Transport Accident Authority (TAC)
‘Graham’ may look bizarre, but he’s actually designed to show what our bodily features would need to look like to survive a low-impact car crash – the interactive sculpture is partly an educational tool but also a conversation piece.
Name: Nike Pro Hijab
Revealed just two days prior to International Women’s Day, this important design was a collaboration between an athletic team and Nike to create a high-performance hijab that could ‘change the face of sport for Muslim women’ and was inspired by Sarah Attar’s 2012 Olympic victory for Saudi Arabia.
Name: ‘Life of Pablo’ merchandise and pop-up stores
Designers: Kanye West and Mat Vlasic for Bravado
This was the first-ever global pop-up event, which spanned 21 stores in different cities across the world to sell limited-edition merchandise based around Kanye West‘s album The Life of Pablo. Each venue was announced just 24 hours before it opened – the UK shop was set up in London’s Old Street.
Name: The Refugee Nation flag
Designers: Yara Said with The Refugee Nation for Amnesty International
Inspired by life jackets, the bold design by Syrian artist and refugee Yara Said was created to represent ‘The Refugee Nation’, the first-ever refugee team to compete in the Olympics in Rio last year.
Name: Me & EU
Designers: Nathan Smith and Sam T Smith
Designed to create a sense of unity, good humour and solidarity after the EU referendum result, this collection of postcards by various UK creatives were sent to 27 countries across Europe to ‘remain in touch’ when Article 50 was triggered.
Name: Nimuno Loops
Designers: Anine Kirsten and Max Basler
Lovers of Lego will enjoy this bendy design from Nimuno Loops, which allows users to construct their Lego creations pretty much anywhere in the home, whether it’s wrapped around walls, on furniture or even the ceiling.
Name: The Pilot translating earpiece
Designers: Waverly Labs
This clever little kit is the world’s first earpiece to instantly translate conversation between its users without interruption. The crowdfunding campaign sourced $5m before it was actually sold and it can work with 15 languages, although it can be updated to include more.
Designers: Local Motors
Not only is this bus 3D printed, it’s also the world’s first self-driving electric vehicle. It can carry 12 people individually, or be used as part of a network of smart vehicles working collaboratively in a self-driving system.
Designers: Alain Thebault
This cute little water taxi is noise and emissions free, plus it has a self-charging dock that puts energy back into the grid and it cleans the waterways.
Beazley Designs of the Year will be on display from October 18, 2017 to January 28, 2018.