R Design
News & Events
R Designs of the Year

Now entering its 7th year, the Designs of the Year exhibition offers a unique opportunity for the public to surround themselves with the most innovative and engaging designs, created by the very best talent on the planet.

The show collaborates the very best in global architecture, fashion, digital, furniture, graphic, product & transport all under one roof. If this isn’t enough to whet the appetite, there’s also an entire floor dedicated to the work of leading British fashion designer, Paul Smith.

To avoid spoiling some of the surprises on show, we have carefully selected a few of our favorites, which we thought we’d share. Each of our picks has a link to more info if you feel inspired!

The exhibition runs until the 25th of August – so no excuses for missing out!

Alison Cobb - Dumb Ways to Die

Designed by McCann Melbourne, a song, a book, a smartphone game, interactive outdoor posters, radio advertising and tumblr GIFs – all designed to get young people to care about safety. Dumb Ways to Die uses black humour to make the point that there are many dumb ways to die, but perhaps the dumbest is doing silly things around trains - in the process it has become an internet phenomenon and Kate Moss’s favourite app.

Gemma Bannister - Fairphone
This sustainable and human-friendly smartphone is more than a clever design – it’s a movement that will help change consumerism for the better.  It brings awareness to those who made such products and demonstrates how ‘fair’ trading conditions can break our current exploitative cycle of manufacturing and start a positive snowball effect on the rest of the world!

Becki Turner - Paul Smith

My favourite piece was from the Paul Smith exhibition. It’s not something I would wear (although I do like sequins!) but during the video playing in one section of the gallery, he comments on how anything can become inspiration, especially during his travels. This piece is a good example of how he chooses not to define his work by a particular style, but instead lets his surroundings inspire him.

In addition to an entire walkway of outfits spanning 40 years, there is a feast of fun for the fashion connoisseur. From a model replica of his studio to a Paul Smith branded mini, an entire bedroom constructed from card and a series of original sketches.

I really enjoyed the exhibition as you just accept objects as they are, you don’t often stop to think how things are made. The other piece I have chosen is the off-cuts of felt from tennis balls. It made up part a segment of the exhibition called ‘In the Making’ where normal, everyday objects are ‘stopped’ at certain stages of production. The shape and regularity of the felt is quite beautiful. It looks deliberately crafted but in reality is simply an off-cut to be discarded.

Dave Edwards - XL1 Concept Car

My personal favorite was the VW concept car that sits proudly in the main gallery space. Not only is this the first car to travel 100km on just one litre of diesel(!!), it seems to have been sent to us from the set of an 80’s science fiction movie. It wouldn’t go amiss hovering alongside one of those cars from The Fifth Element or lurking down some grotty alleyway in Blade Runner.  With more gadgets than Q’s workshop, it operates off a dual diesel-electric engine which, combined with its aerodynamic shape, helps it plod to 44mph in 12 seconds. 

On a serious note, there is a really positive ‘green’ story to be shared in terms of reducing carbon emissions which, in turn, would save us all a fortune on fuel! Just please, please, please make it a tad quicker off the mark! Don’t expect to see them sitting outside your local dealership any time soon - there’s only 250 in the world!