designer of the year

I’m sat in my living room typing as I watch the Designer of the Year awards (hooray for wi-fi!). I’m going to make some notes and record some links while I watch.

The program is examining the four finalists, first up is Paul Cocksedge. A very good start. First reaction? Breathtakingly beautiful light designs born of a truly inquisitive and creative mind. Lamp shades formed from melted polystyrene cups – inspired by videoing the deformation of the cup in an oven. Flowers in vases that complete the circuit and switch the light on and off when you take the flower out. Sketch pads that switch lights on and off when you complete a sketch – the current passing through the graphite on the page. I love it. This is a very, very good start.

Daniel Brown, web designer whose work – according to chair of the judging panel on the program – ranks in the top three of the people who have influenced web design internationally. This is news to me, but by the looks of it I appear to have been living in a cave with no broadband connection. The five year old noodlebox and it’s sequel are captivating and wonderfully tactile. The contents of play-create.com is probably the most tactile thing I’ve stroked with my mouse since I found the presstube site. Soooo, it looks and feels beautiful, but what next?

Next up is Sam Buxton and his crazy mikroworld. They’re little guys made out of folded metal. They’re mikro. That’s it. Technically interesting but probably destined for the gadget shop.

Finally we have Craig Johnston. Ex-footballer turned designer and creator of the Predator football boot. After shipping a million Predators, he’s back with the Pig. He has a great story about the first time he stuck the rubber from a table tennis bat onto a football boot to experiment with the way it span the ball. The crowning moment for this item is that he’s designed a cheap strap on option that you can buy to put on any boot.

I think a lot of football boots and team-strips rip off the consumer. The Pig boot will give the right performance at the right price.

Respect. After you’ve seen the Pig, you can’t help but get the feeling that the previous three guys are just messing about. The final point to remember is that he’s also the only one on the list without a formal design education.

The Pig is undoubtedly the star, but I’d like to see Paul Cocksedge take the prize and the encouragement. Partly because he probably needs the cash more than Johnston, but also because I wanted to type his name again.

Vote here: www.designmuseum.org

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