Design Museum Announces Contenders for Designs of the Year

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The Design Museum has announced the longlist for this year's Designs of the Year. Previously known as the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year, the awards include designs across seven categories: architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport. Last year, the overall award for Design of the Year went to the London Olympic Torch, designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.

In the digital category, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 has been nominated, the only mobile phone to snag one, as has the stunning Rain Room (pictured above), designed by Random International, a 100 square-meter field of falling water that moves so people walking through it remain dry.

The Wind Map, by Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Bertini Viegas, Patrick Bergel's mobile- phone sharing project Chirp, and Stamen's City Tracking, which released original map designs of the world, are also contenders in the digital category. Six to Start's "Zombies! Run," an interactive running game that guides runners through missions via audio narrations, is also nominated.

In the fashion category, Yayoi Kusama's charming collection for Louis Vuitton, featuring the artist's signature polka dots over every item, has also been nominated.

In graphics, Serviceplan's award-winning Solar Annual Report for client Austria Solar, which was among Creativity's best work of the year, is also in the running. The report is printed with a special ink that is only readable in sunlight.

In the same category, the Australian Government's unique packaging for cigarettes, regardless of brand, has also been nominated. It is an olive-green package featuring an anti-smoking image with plain text.

In the product category, the Varanasi Research Group at MIT's Liquiglide Ketchup Bottle, designed with a super-slippery, edible, tasteless material meant ketchup (or anything else) would never get stuck in the bottle again.

Also in product, Berg's adorable Little Printer, which hooks up to your smartphone to print out anything you want, from a mini social newspaper to crossword puzzles, is also nominated.

Simon Berry's ColaLife, which works in developing countries to open up Coke's amazing distribution channels to carry useful social products like oral rehydration salts or vitamin supplements, was also nominated.

In the transport space, BMW's i3 concept car with eDrive, a sustainable vehicle that is emission-free and ensures a quiet, calm driving experience, was also nominated. The car made an appearance last year in this awesome outdoor/digital campaign out of KBS P.

The contenders are brought together in a Design Museum exhibit in London that runs from March 20 to July 7. Check out all the nominees at Design Museum's site.

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