JUDGES' AWARDS 2021
Wallpaper|February 2021
Our highest honours span six special categories, adjudicated by this mighty jury. Meet the judges and winners on the following pages, and see full profiles and shortlists on Wallpaper.com
Larry Fink

ISA AC JULIEN

Artist and screen idol

IV Y ROSS

Hardware honcho at Google

SABINE MARCELIS

Wallpaper* Designer of the Year 2020

KJETIL TR ÆDAL THORSEN

Visionary architect, Snøhetta supremo

CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS

Trailblazing fashion designer

AND THE WINNERS ARE. . .

A JUDGE

ISA AC JULIEN

ARTIST

ART In a year when racial injustices reached a tipping point, Julien saw some of his works take on a new urgency. Rediscovered images from his very first film, Who Killed Colin Roach? (1983), showed at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and reflect on the death of a Black man shot at the entrance to a London police station. Lessons of the Hour – Frederick Douglass, a 2019 video installation about the African American abolitionist and writer, is now showing in San Francisco. We invited Julien to join our judging panel out of admiration for his art, and the ways in which he has shown the importance of representation, but also because of his abiding love of architecture and design. ‘My artist studio in London was designed by David Adjaye and my apartment was designed by a Black conceptual designer called Layton Reid,’ he says. His advice for designers in uncertain times? ‘Be true to their vocation even under duress.’ Lessons of the Hour – Frederick Douglass is at McEvoy Foundation of the Arts, San Francisco, until 13 March, mcevoyarts.org; isaacjulien.com

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

FORMAFANTASMA

Formafantasma’s Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin embody what design means today. They bring together exquisite forms, unusual materials (among them plant-based polymers, volcanic ash and electronic waste), analytical thinking, and a conviction that design is a redemptive and revolutionary force, one that points us towards more responsible citizenship and a better world. Their Cambio project, presented as an exhibition at London’s Serpentine Galleries last year, explores the ecological impact of the timber industry through research, installation and film. ‘It’s an invitation to start to think about what we do on the planet as a shared experience,’ they say. It is fitting that they head up the new GEO-Design master’s programme at Design Academy Eindhoven, which investigates the social, economic, territorial and geopolitical forces that shape the practice of design. Their aim is to educate the next generation to look beyond products and transform broader ecosystems. It’s a game-changing proposition. formafantasma.com

LIFE-ENHANCER OF THE YEAR

PORTABLE HANDWASHING STATION,

BY NMBELLO STUDIO

When Lagos-based designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello asked local medical professionals to identify the challenges of fighting Covid-19, they told him that effective handwashing can be difficult at overburdened healthcare facilities. Moving from one patient to the next quickly leaves little time to dash to the sink. Marcus-Bello’s solution was to create a portable, modular handwashing station, using a grant he’d received from Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall* and artist Daniel Arsham. The station’s frame of tubular steel, the same material used for local hospital beds, can be replicated by any welder. A sink, bin, and the casing for the pump and touch-free sensor are created by local ceramicists, though Marcus-Bello hopes to partner with a local recyclable plastic firm on future iterations. Caster wheels and 25-litre water kegs (one for clean water, one for used) are readily available. With a battery-powered micro submersible pump that can run for 48 hours on a two-hour charge, the station, dubbed ‘For the Community by the Community’, can be pushed from ward to ward. nmbello.com

JUDGE

IV Y ROSS

VP DESIGN FOR HARDWARE, GOOGLE

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