Forensic Architecture wins the 2018 Beazley Design of the year award

Published 15th November 2018
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Forensic Architecture wins the 2018 Beazley Design of the year award
Written by Jacopo Prisco, CNN
"Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture," an exhibition at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, has won the 2018 Beazley Design of the Year, an annual award and exhibition run by London's Design Museum.
The exhibition presented a selection of investigations conducted by Forensic Architecture, which doubles as the name of a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, and an investigative practice that spans various fields, including architecture, journalism, law and politics. It is designed to unearth miscarriages of justice and international war crimes by analyzing various types of imagery, such as news broadcasts, satellite footage and smartphone videos.
The agency, which is also nominated for Tate Britain's 2018 Turner Prize, painstakingly creates 3D reconstructions of certain events, looking for the smallest of clues to verify disputed information, in a way vaguely reminiscent of the procedure seen in the "CSI" TV shows.
"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," Robert Devereux, one of the judges, said in a statement.

The category winners

Five more prizes were awarded for each of the categories of nominees, except for the Digital category, which was also won by Forensic Architecture.
In Fashion, the Royal Ballet costumes for Christopher Wheeldon's production of Corybantic took the prize. Womenswear designer Erdem Moralıoğlu created 24 costumes for the ballet, inspired by the classical Greek themes of the piece.
In Architecture, the winner was Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa One of Cape Town. Designed by Heatherwick Studio, the striking building repurposes a former grain silo rendered obsolete by modern shipping methods.
In Graphics, Trash Isles, a campaign designed by Oceans Foundation with LADbible, was the winner. The project aims to turn the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into a UN-recognized nation, complete with passports and currency, so that the problem will have to be dealt with by the UN Environmental Charter.
In the Product category Paperfuge, a low tech centrifuge to separate plasma from blood -- an essential step in diagnosing infectious diseases such as HIV and malaria -- emerged triumphant. It's made of nothing but paper, plastic and a string.
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Finally, in the Transport category, the prize went to SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. First launched in February 2018, the Falcon Heavy is currently the world's most powerful rocket, and its launch boosters can astonishingly land back to Earth after lift-off for later use.

The shortlist

Among the nominees for the award, now in its 11th year, were Rihanna's inclusive makeup line Fenty Beauty, a bio-leather made from yeast, Sony's Aibo robotic dog, the new Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, a video game that trains players to spot fake news, Palomo's gender-bending men's fashion line and the world's first plastic-free shopping aisle, showcasing a wide variety of entries across the six categories.
Rihanna arrives at an event in New York to celebrate the launch of her beauty brand Fenty in September 2017.
Rihanna arrives at an event in New York to celebrate the launch of her beauty brand Fenty in September 2017. Credit: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
"One of the things I like about design is the fact that it's all-encompassing and there's so many ways of defining it. Its parameters are always expanding," said Aric Chen, the guest curator who shortlisted this year's 87 entries out of hundreds pitched by a group of nominators.
"There is a very pervasive thread that goes throughout the show, which is how designers are embracing the uncertainties that the world is currently confronting."
In 2017, architect David Adjaye emerged as the winner for his National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, out of a politically charged shortlist. In 2016, the award went to an emergency refugee shelter designed by Ikea.
Beazley Designs of the Year, the exhibition, is on display at London's Design Museum from Sept. 12, 2018 to Jan. 6, 2019.