Counter Investigations, an exhibition of work by Forensic Architecture, an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths University London has been named the winner of the Beazley Designs of the Year 2018.
The agency works to uncover miscarriages of justice and international war crimes through the architectural analysis of imagery. From official news and smartphone footage to satellite images, minute clues and fragmentary evidence are painstakingly analysed to create full 3D reconstructions of events, allowing the team to verify disputed information. Like a war crime CSI, Counter Investigations staged Forensic Architecture’s modes of analysis through the use of maps, screens, text, films and other evidence.
Forensic Architecture is also nominated for Tate Britain’s Turner Prize in 2018.
Fashion category winner:
Name: Costumes for The Royal Ballet production of Corybantic Games by Christopher Wheeldon
One line description: A BALLET COSTUME REDUCED TO PURE ROMANCE
Designers: Erdem Moralıoğlu
Womenswear designer Erdem Moralıoğlu created 24 costumes for a new ballet set to Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade, after Plato: Symposium. Inspired by the Classical Greek themes of the piece, Erdem juxtaposed armour-like ribbon detailing with ethereal sheer tutus, while the champagne-coloured satin bodices and careful pleating evoked the 1950s era of Bernstein’s original score.
Architecture category winner:
Name: Zeitz MOCAA
One line description: A MUSEUM CARVED FROM CONCRETE
Designers: Heatherwick Studio
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town strikingly repurposes a former grain silo made obsolete by containerised shipping. For this post-industrial project, designer Thomas Heatherwick carved out a dramatic, skylit central atrium from within the original 42 tightly packed concrete silos to reveal startling geometries, while also converting them for gallery use. Faceted glass windows were also punched out of the building’s grading tower to create a kaleidoscopic effect.
Digital category winner and overall winner:
Name: The exhibition, ‘Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture’, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
One line description: A DOSSIER OF SPATIAL AND DIGITAL FACT-FINDING
Designers: Forensic Architecture Counter Investigations is an exhibition of work by Forensic Architecture, an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths University, London.
Graphics category winner:
Name: Trash Isles for LADbible and Plastic Oceans Foundation
One line description: A CAMPAIGN TO DECLARE THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH A COUNTRY
Designers: Plastic Oceans Foundation with LADbible
An accumulation of plastic waste covering an area the size of France is currently floating in the Pacific Ocean – though little is being done to address it, as it occupies international waters. Involving the creation of a ‘national identity’, complete with passports, stamps and currency, the Trash Isles campaign was launched to enlist citizen-petitioners to persuade the United Nations to recognise the waterborne mass of debris as an official country, forcing the global community to deal with it as a member of the UN Environmental Charter.
Product category winner:
One line description: A LOW-TECH WAY TO PERFORM BLOOD TESTS
Designers: Prakash Lab
Paperfuge is a hand-powered centrifuge made of string, plastic and paper. It can spin biological samples at thousands of revolutions per minute, separating pure plasma from whole blood. This is a critical step in the diagnosis of infections such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. The device costs just 20 cents, weighs two grammes, and can easily be carried in a doctor’s pocket, making point-of-care diagnostics possible virtually anywhere.
Transport category winner:
Name: Falcon Heavy
One line description: A REUSABLE ROCKET FOR COMMERCIAL SPACE TRAVEL
On 6 February 2018, SpaceX successfully launched the world’s most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy. Capable of lifting 64,000 kilograms into low earth orbit, it is more than twice as powerful as its two main competitors. It is also considerably cheaper to launch than other rockets its size: among other reasons, its empty launch boosters are retrieved after lift-off for future use.
The six category winners along with the further 81 other nominations are on display at the Design Museum until 6 January 2019.
The awards presented at the ceremony are designed by OMMX and Europa.
Beazley Designs of the Year 2018 People’s Choice:
In addition, exhibition visitors voted for their favourite design in the exhibition gallery, and Surgibox, an operating theatre that fits into a backpack, received the most votes.
One line description: A BACKPACK OPERATING THEATRE PROTOTYPE
Designers: Debbie Teodorescu, Mike Teodorescu, Stephen Okajima and Team SurgiBox
SurgiBox is an inflatable tent that acts as a sterile operating theatre to be used in remote areas or disaster zones. The tent has a fan and HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter that removes more than 99.9% of contaminants. Once it is placed around the patient, surgeons reach into sleeves to perform their work. SurgiBox can fit inside a backpack, making it a portable and cost-effective solution for people who may otherwise lack access to safe surgical care.
Robert Devereux, Chairman, The Conduit
“In a field of such diversity and brilliance it is invidious to choose the “best” but Forensic Architecture have invented a new paradigm in the search for the truth. Their application of architectural skills to the re-creation of past events is extraordinarily innovative, intellectually rigorous and will make a significant contribution to justice. Their presentation at the ICA was stimulating, engaging and accessible.”
“I am not a design professional and my main concerns were impact – on society and the environment. From this perspective the nominations were extremely encouraging; from pragmatic developments into the medical world to a myriad of approaches to environmental sustainability. It reminded me that design touches every part of our lives and that it potentially holds the solution to many of our current dilemmas. It was an inspiring experience that left me full of hope.”
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
“It was a great honour to be asked by to be a judge by the Design Museum – a hugely prestigious institution at the forefront of contemporary design information and education. It’s always fascinating for me to be with a group of designers from different backgrounds and disciplines – you learn something new every time.”
“Fundamentally, design is about problem-solving and our chosen winner clearly demonstrated this. It is evident that design is becoming a much more eclectic mix of disciplines, coming together to address major problems and needs. Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture was resolving a very complex set of inputs from incredible amounts of data. For me, the era of multi-discipline design has really has commenced.”
Melodie Leung, Senior Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects
“By breaking conventional boundaries and ways of thinking, Forensic Architecture demonstrates how an impressively persistent and creative use of existing data and tools, applied in an open and collaborative manner, can be an effective way to challenge existing narratives and power structures in the pursuit for truth and justice.”
“This year’s selection presented a wide array of projects which question past assumptions in looking towards a more sustainable future, many of which create a new balance by offering solutions empowering the disadvantaged and helping individuals to make a difference.”