© Nigel Howard
The London 2012 Olympic Torch, by Shoreditch-based duo Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, has been named the Design Museum’s Design of the Year.
The judging panel, chaired by Dutch designer Hella Jongerious, included Evgeny Lebedev, owner of the Evening Standard, Henrietta Thompson, editor-at-large of Wallpaper* magazine, and Sir George Iacobescu, chairman of Docklands property investment company Canary Wharf Group. They considered 89 nominations for the prize.
'A triumph of symbolism and beauty, the lightness and simplicity of the torch capture the spirit of London as host city'
For Barber and Osgerby, who founded their eponymous design studio in 1996 after graduating in architecture from the Royal College of Art, the award tops an astonishing year of achievements.
Since beating off 700 rivals to win the competition to design the torch, they have been catapulted from relative East End obscurity to global fame as their gold-burnished aluminium creation quickly came to symbolise this year’s Games.
Perforated with 8,000 circular holes, it represents the 8,000 inspirational people who will carry it on a 60-day, 8,000-mile relay round the UK before it arrives in London for the sporting festival’s opening ceremony on July 27.
Hella Jongerious said: “The London 2012 Olympic Torch is elegantly designed and is a triumph of symbolism and beauty, the lightness and simplicity of the torch not only capture the spirit of London as Olympic host city but also demonstrate how design can celebrate traditional qualities in a modern manner.”
Evgeny Lebedev added: “Judging these awards illustrated to me that London is a world leader in design. In the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, this is something that all Londoners should take pride in. We had no shortage of outstanding entries, but Barber Osgerby is a very worthy winner and I look forward to seeing plenty more of its work.”
The winners of six other categories were:
Architecture: the London Velodrome, designed by Hopkins Architects.
Digital design: the Microsoft Kinect motion-detecting device for the Xbox video games console, designed by Microsoft Games Studios.
Fashion: the origami-inspired 132.5 collection by Issey Miyake (right).
Furniture: the 1.3 Chair by Kihyun Kim, made with lightweight and sustainable balsa wood and designed to weigh just 1.3 kilograms
Graphics: Dalton Maag’s font for Nokia Pure.
Transport: a re-design of the London Ambulance by Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art.
A version of the Barber Osgerby torch, along with the other shortlisted designs, will be on show at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, SE1 until July 4 (www.designmuseum.org).