I.D. Design Review Winners: From Wall-E to Wall Plugs

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This week marks the 55th iteration of I.D. magazine’s Annual Design Review, a competition presenting the best and brightest of the past year’s design goodies, from the iconic to the obscure. The jury is comprised of I.D.‘s editorial staff along with leading practitioners in the fields of product, furniture, graphic, and environment design. The 2009 winners, also profiled in the July/August issue and shot by photographer Noah Kalina, are on exhibition until August 9 at Material ConneXion near Madison Square Park. After the jump, pictures of our favorite objets.

One factor that keeps the Annual Design Review in check is price; in other, purely cerebral design competitions, a pricetag isn’t considered as criteria at all, limiting the field’s real world application. And though the selection seems random at times (a Belkin surge protector?) it speaks to the diversity and pervasiveness of design, which we can’t champion enough.

Coca Cola’s cheeky aluminum bottle manages to both subvert its own logo and supersede the recent memories of the much-maligned Arnell Pepsi campaign and the New Coke disaster. Link, the playful yet thoughtfully conceived desk lamp by Peter Stathis for Pablo, Inc., combines a Wall-E aesthetic sensibility with smart features like a small footprint and flexible arm.

The Spinn multimedia player and “dainty” Domino USB port, both for iriver, are sexy enough to challenge Apple in an electronics-off – brushed silver casing and a sly inset turnwheel on the former, poppy color accents and the revered Helvetica font on the latter. Student Shelly Shelly designed the Loft chair for uber-manufacturer Bernhardt, the most obvious pick for future design classic, especially for the seating-obsessed (and we are many). The form is versatile and the construction incorporates traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery as translated by cutting-edge digital laser cutting. Students also earned kudos for last year’s Pratt yearbook (subtitle: “An Institute of Modesty and Convention”), which reimagines the stale memento as a hilarious anthropological survey of yesteryear.

Our personal favorite is the 22 Series by Bocci, a collection of electrical outlets flush-mounted to the wall sans coverplate. The simple, seamless system is so brilliant one can only wonder why it wasn’t invented before. And that, friends, is a hallmark of great and lasting design.

Annual Design Review Exhibit June 25 – August 21 9 am – 6pm, Monday through Friday ———— Material ConneXion 60 Madison Avenue, 2nd floor New York, NY 10010