doty2016As a Designs of the Year nominator I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the new Design Museum in London, and seeing three projects I selected for the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition on show.

Now in its ninth year, Beazley Designs of the Year celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year. Someday the other museums will be showing this stuff.

The rationale behind the selection of each of these outstanding projects is featured in the exhibition catalogue, and can be read below:


The University Of Engineering and Technology UTEC
Designed by Grafton Architects

Grafton Architects led by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have long placed education as a key part of their practice, from their nurturing role tutoring an emerging wave of new Irish Architects through to their award winning Bocconi University building in Milan.

Their latest project demonstrates their mastery of manipulating concrete and light to create new landscapes for 21st century learning. Located in the desert climate and seismic zone of Lima, Peru, the new campus blurs the boundaries between inside and outside and teaching and research activities, through an open circulation strategy.

Laboratories are proudly displayed almost as exhibition spaces, placing the educational ethos of the institution at its architectural heart. A concrete cliff faces the sprawling city and Pacific Ocean, while the roofs of lower spaces become cascading gardens reminiscent of the cultivated terraces of Machu Picchu and forming a seamless link to the adjoining residential area.


ARUP Bangladesh Project
Designed by ARUP Ireland

In an age where architecture has often been reduced to a promotional brand for high value property development, it is reassuring to see the discipline engage with real world social and structural problems.

The sudden collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in April 2013 killing 1,132 mostly female workers forced the global garment industry and their customers to question the true cost of clothing.

To ensure there was no repeat of this tragedy, a consortium of clothing brands approached Arup to help assess the structural safety of thousands of garment factories that employ more than four million people and are critical to Bangladesh’s economy.

The resulting project developed a methodology that classified the buildings according to perceived risk of structural failure. This has directly led to safer workplaces, helping address peoples fears and demonstrating what design can do when it focuses on genuine issues.


SS16 Collection
Designed by Richard Malone

Graduating Central Saint Martins in 2014, Malone is rapidly establishing himself as one of the most vital young designers working today. Based in London, his collections are sustainably sourced, made in-house and in limited quantities.

Mining a childhood in Wexford, his observations of working class Irish life and the role of Irish stereotypes provide the inspirational framework for playful structural forms. The SS 2016 collection features woven striped dresses that giddily twist and turn in combination with skirts and dresses in coral nylons, hand embroidered t-shirts and knee high socks.

Malone builds a jamboree of layers to create surprising, directional silhouettes with an eclectic blend of historical details. This is, in essence, fashion as a statement of diversity, individualism and everyday life. This joyfully defiant message is enforced by his street casting, styling and the washable, and therefore, eminently wearable garments. Real is rare in fashion, Malone is just that.


The exhibition is open from the 24th November 2016 – 19th February 2017.


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