It has become an annual tradition - the Design Museum's Designs of the Year exhibition, showcasing the best designs from the last 12 months across seven categories: architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport. A useful overview of the past year, the long list is compiled by a number of industry insiders.
"As a museum we curate the nominated projects into a show that offers the public a snapshot of design as it appeared in 2012 and we will be actively looking for common themes or narratives across the creative disciplines and consider what influenced their creation," says this year's Designs of the Year curator Pete Collard of the exhibition which opens on 20 March. "The jury then has an unenviable task in the selecting overall category winners but we hope that the Designs of the Year exhibition will offer visitors a chance to see close-up some of the most intriguing design projects from the past year."
Nominations this year include the Rainroom by Random International and Rasberry Pi by Eben Upton in the Digital category, Renzo Piano's The Shard, Europe's tallest building and the Museum of Innocence, designed by Orhan Pamuk with Ihsan Bilgin, Cem Yucel and Gregor Sunder Plassmann in Istanbul for architecture; Craig Green's graduation collection from Central Saint Martin's and the costumes from the recent Anna Karenina film in fashion.
The design category contains a lot of seating, such as the Medici chair by Konstantin Grcic and the Sea stool Studio Swine & Kieren Jones. In graphics the magazine The Gentlewoman gets a nomination, as does the Bauhaus exhibition graphics by A Practice for Everyday Life. The product category features Berg's Little Printer and Form Us With Love's Plug Lamp.
Finally, in the transport category is the Morph folding wheel by Vitamin design, which started out as a Royal College of Art student project in 2006, now developed to be part of a wheel chair and the chainless bicycle Mando by Mark Sanders.
This year there are over 90 nominations and one winner will be announced in each category, on 17 April, when an overall winner is also selected. The idea of comparing projects from such disparate fields and with such different purposes has previously been criticised in the design press, but the exhibition has proven very popular with the Design Museum audience and has also had much coverage in the general press.
"It's important to remember that Designs of the Year is an exhibition, as well as an awards programme," says Collard. "The projects are nominated by an independent group of trusted industry experts that come from four main groupings – practicing designers and architects, curators from other institutions, academics/tutors from design schools and journalists/writers. This ensures that we receive a democratic selection of projects from around the world that are perhaps chosen for very different reasons."