Leisure dominates in ‘Designs of the year 2015’ shortlist

by Katie Buckley | 20 Feb 2015

Sport, museum, culture, recreation and mixed use schemes all feature on the shortlist for this year’s Designs of the Year award.

Of 76 nominated projects, representing the work of the best global design talent, an overwhelming number are leisure-related.

Organised by the Design Museum, London, the Designs of the Year awards have been running for the past eight years. Awards are presented in six categories; architecture, digital, fashion, product, graphic and transport.

The judges say the awards celebrate design that “promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year.”

We take a closer look at the leisure nominees in the architecture category:

• Herzog & de Meuron’s Arena de Morro – a new gym attached to an existing sports centre in north-east Brazil – was the first leisure project to catch the judges eye. A key feature of the new development was the generous roof which has been constructed to allow light and air in, but keep water out. Now completed scheme now includes a sports field, tiered seating, multi-purpose rooms, a terrace, changing rooms and other facilities.

• The next leisure project to attract attention is by Frank Gehry and Gehry Partners – the Foundation Louis Vuitton. Constructed as gallery, museum and entertainment space for LVMH, the glass cloud-like structure opened in late 2014.

• Atelier Deshaus' design for the Long Museum West Bund, in Shanghai China, has also been chosen for Designs of the Year 2015. Located next to the Huangpu River, Xuhui District, on a site that was formerly used for coal transportation, the museum’s design symbolises the area's industrial past.

• Another innovative leisure building featuring on the shortlist is MVRDV’s Markthal in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This project is a covered food market situated in the centre of the city. It has 228 apartments built into its vast structure. Inside, walls and ceilings are covered with LEDs to create an adaptable and versatile space.

• One Central Park in Sydney was designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel. As the second phase of the One Central Park development, two landmark towers are being integrated into a public retail and recreation area. The towers will be eco-friendly, with vertical landscaped gardens by Patrick Blanc which will cover almost 50 per cent of their facade.

• A final leisure project on the Designs of the Year 2015 is the Philharmonic Hall in Szczecin in Poland, which was created by Barozzi/ Veiga. Occupying the former site of Szczecin’s ‘Konzerthaus’ – this new building has a symphony hall with seating for a 1,000-strong audience. Its elegant design is in-keeping with a musical sequence from Fibonacci, allowing visitors to feel a strong sense of place and enjoy the building as it was intended, for beautiful classical music.

The Designs of the Year 2015 awards will be exhibited in the Design Museum, London, from the 25 March to 23 August, 2015.


The Design Museum is due to relocate to the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, London in 2016.

The new Design Museum Kensington will aim to be the world’s leading museum of contemporary design and architecture, an international showcase for the many design skills at which Britain excels, and a creative centre – promoting innovation and nurturing the next generation of design talent.

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Sport, museum, culture, recreation and mixed use schemes all feature on the shortlist for this year’s Designs of the Year award. Of 76 nominated projects, representing the work of the best global design talent, an overwhelming number are leisure-related. Organised by the Design Museum, London, the Designs of the Year awards have been running for the past eight years. Awards are presented in six categories; architecture, digital, fashion, product, graphic
Frank Gehry's Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris / Iwan Baan
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