Annabel Maguire was named the winner of The Big Design Challenge, the Sky Arts design competition run in partnership with Lexus, in last night’s series finale (14 March). Her winning piece, Orbit, will be on public display at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, in Gallery 127, from this Wednesday (16 March) until 4 April.
The series, hosted by DJ, author and presenter, Lauren Laverne, saw eight top creatives battle over six weeks to win the coveted prize. Each week, the competitors were set design challenges by guest judges, overseen by artist and designer Morag Myerscough and industrial designer Tej Chauhan.
Sponsorship of The Big Design Challenge has been a flagship activity in Lexus’s 18-month partnership with Sky Arts. Design and craftsmanship are at the heart of the Lexus brand and this unique competition was an opportunity to promote and encourage emerging and innovative talent.
In the final episode, held at the V&A, electronic dance duo Orbital asked the contestants to create an object or product inspired by their music.
Maguire drew inspiration from her lifelong love of dance music to build a kinetic sculpture. The piece can be scaled up, as a set design for an Orbital concert which would spin above the crowd to further immerse them in the music. Her piece can be scaled up as a set design for an Orbital concert, spinning above the crowd and further immersing them in the music. Alternatively, it can be scaled down and sold as kinetic artwork for the home, to provide a visual experience while listening to music. Maguire hand-sculpted the piece from waste materials, fine-tuning the balance and composition so that when spun it creates a dance of lights and shadows, capturing the meditative and energising experience of listening to Orbital’s music.
Judge Morag Mysercough said of the winning design: “I thought using scraps to make the piece was such an inspired idea, which resulted in beautiful, exquisite balance.”
Fellow judge Tej Chauhan said: “I felt the piece really came into its own when the shadow play came through. I found that quite mesmerising.”
Paul Hartnoll from Orbital commented: “The emotional connection to this piece really made it stand out to me.“
The full series of The Big Design Challenge is available to view on catch-up, on Sky Arts and NOW.
Notes for Editors:
About Annabel Maguire
Annabel spent eight years running the collaborative set design partnership Studio Lune, working with clients such as Burberry, and the BBC, creating joyful, handmade, and sustainably focused work, with colour, texture and character.
In March 2020, unable to work owing to the Covid 19 pandemic, she co-founded the Scrub Hub movement which empowered tens of thousands of craftspeople across the country to sew much need uniforms for NHS staff. Ultimately the movement’s work was shown at the V&A Dundee, and is now archived in the permanent collection at the Museum of Hackney.
Maguire has spent the last year with a return to design research at the University of Arts and now the Royal College of Arts. She has focused on the intersection of art, craft, design and care.