Tag Archives: Designs of the Year

Conran & Company’s: Hot and Not from Designs of the Year (mostly Hot!)

Just in case you missed Designs of the Year at the Design Museum which closed last weekend here’s a quick summary from the team at Conran & Company.

The Thomas Heatherwick Spun chairs (last seen here in our post on the Milan Furniture Fair 2010) were a hit – you really have to trust that you don’t fall backwards onto your head!

Still, they are really fun and surely a great solution for outside – available to buy at the Design Museum shop!


In the ‘Interactive’ category the crowdsourced Johnny Cash project was really intriguing and beautiful – such a great idea. (Crowdsourcing and crowfunding is rather a hot topic at the moment – see our post from the debate we held here a few weeks ago– with full report to come…)


There’s more than one cycling enthusiast in our offices and the Transport section gave us plenty of food for thought when it came to new designs and innovations in this category.

We became slightly obsessed with the videos of people using the rather unusual but very fun looking Yike Bikes


– but some were less impressed by the new ‘super commuter’ offering from Vanmoof  – which while very practical (especially loving the integrated heavy-duty lock) was deemed to be slightly ugly – still, anything to stop your bike getting nicked!


In general the Graphics category was much admired, not in the least the eventual winner, the amazingly simple, almost Feng-Shui type images for a Swedish Cookery book: Homemade is Best by Forsman & Bodenfors for IKEA- carefully composed graphic still lifes that bring the ingredients centrestage.

Of course it goes without saying that we loved the overall winner, the now ubiquitous Plumen light bulb by Sam Wilkinson and Hulger (read our exclusive Q&A with Sam here….)


If you missed Designs of the Year do not fret there’s an equally brilliant exhibition on Kenneth Grange (you’ll know more of his products than you think) – and watch this space for details of a very special exhibition later in the year…all about Terence!

Celebrating his 80th birthday in September, it’s entitled THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and will feature work from over 60 years including original habitat pieces, Terence’s sketches and bestselling products from over the eras.


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Conran: Q&A with ‘Designer of the Year’ Sam Wilkinson

We’ve caught up with Sam Wilkinson, designer of the Plumen Light bulb which has just won ‘Designs of the Year’  – known as ‘the oscars of the design world’ to those in the trade – at the Design Museum.

Sam is an old Conran friend having worked here on a couple of projects over the last year and we are delighted his and product company Hulger’s design has won. Here’s Sam on the right pictured here with Michael-George Hemus of Hulger.

What gave you the idea for the Plumen light bulb?

The idea of doing a ‘designer’ lightbulb originally came from Hulger in 2007, who then approached me to design it. Most low energy bulbs have such a cold form as if designed by an engineer. We aimed to put a little ‘joy’ back into the form.

The shapes were inspired by patterns made by a rhythmic gymnasts ribbon and filaments of early incandescent bulbs.

How does it feel to win ‘Designs of the Year’?

It is very exciting. It was a bit of a surprise to even win our category as we were up against some amazing products including the Ipad and Dyson fan.

What other pieces from ‘Designs of the Year’ did you like or admire?

I really like Thomas Heatherwick’s UK pavilion and the Branca Chair by Industrial facility

What’s your favourite piece of design?

Always a very difficult question, as its always changing. I love the Bouroullecs ‘Slow’ chair for Vitra. It’s beautiful, lightweight and very technical due to its special knitted sling fabric.

What are you working on at the moment (if you can say!)?

Working on quite a few pieces, including a chair, candelabra, parasol, credenza and some new lights. Also a new production version of the Vessel light for DecodeLondon will launch soon.

What would be your dream project?

To work on a project with Vitra would be amazing or to work some large scale project like a hotel, where I can design the environment as well as the furniture!

Find out more about Sam and his work at www.samuelwilkinson.com

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