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A lot has happened in the last 33 years, but one thing remains the same: The SEGD Global Design Awards program is still a key indicator of how the practice of experiential graphic design is evolving by annually setting the bar for excellence in the field. Representing the best projects and most innovative designers in the field, the awards also provides recognition on a global platform, but only one project each year can be awarded the coveted Best of Show award.
While the awards program has a rather long history, Best of Show has only been awarded the past five years to give special recognition to projects that embody unmistakable excellence in EGD practice. While it isn't easy for the jurors to select the final round of awards, a clear Best of Show winner seems to always emerge. Scroll through the slideshow above and read below to see what it takes to be the best, year after year.
2014 Best of Show: LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal
Design Firms: MRA International, Sardi Design, Moment Factory, Digital Kitchen
Category: Placemaking and Identity / Transportation
With the new Tom Bradley International Terminal, Los Angeles World Airports also sought to elevate the passenger experience using new and innovative applications of digital media. A multidisciplinary team including MRA International, Sardi Design, Moment Factory and Digital Kitchen created an epic digital landscape called the Integrated Environmental Media System. The $40 million system consists of seven architecturally-scaled media features designed to create a one-of-a-kind passenger experience, provide a revenue platform for the airport, develop dynamic brand expression for LAX, and provide an intelligent media environment programmed for future expansion. A sponsorship-based revenue platform, the first of its kind in an international airport, provides the basis for an ongoing, ever-evolving experience.
Jury Comment: “A total immersive and experiential installation that conjures the emotion and excitement of travel. Important logistics are displayed as they are needed and helpful to the traveler. We are entertained and captured by the tower. And we begin to anticipate the culture and adventure of the places we are going as we walk to our plane.”
Conclusion: The LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal experience was certainly a first-of-its-kind in 2014 and dazzled the jurors through its use of scale, media, technology and dynamism.
2015 Best of Show: Platform Summit 2014
Design Firms: Pentagram
Category: Placemaking and Identity / Education
Platform is a non-profit organization with the important mission to increase the interest and participation of underrepresented groups in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on African-Americans, Latinxs and women. In October 2014, the second annual Platform Summit was held on the grounds of Morehouse College, the famous black men’s liberal arts college in Atlanta. Pentagram Partner Eddie Opara and team were tasked with designing the collateral, wayfinding and digital experience for the summit and teamed up with Molly Heintz of Superscript to devise and develop the overall strategy. Building on the previous year’s graphic program, the designers developed a new interior and exterior wayfinding system for the event.
Jury Comment: “This project builds a highly sophisticated bridge between relevance and aesthetics. Sidestepping all visual cliches that might be associated with a conference for underrepresented groups in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship, it establishes a holistic design approach that generates its uniqueness through visual boldness, yet formal constraint. Special kudos for an innovative use of real-time and low-resolution dynamic media, which add visual intrigue to the speakers on stage.”
Conclusion: The Platform Summit 2014 placemaking and wayfinding system impressed jurors with its sophisticated solutions, strong typographic identity and clever use of inflatables.
2016 Best of Show: INFORMATION
Design Firms: Design Studio H2E
Category: Exhibition / Exhibitions
The role of information in modern society is constantly growing and the discipline and role of information design continues to evolve. This was the basic concept for INFORMATION, an exhibition at the Art Academy of Latvia focusing on the products, services and processes of graphic design in Latvia. The exhibition demonstrated 12 different applications of information design in Latvia, including packaging, visual identity, book design, data visualization, interactive and digital tools, etc. The exhibit included 66 works by Latvian designers—all very different, but united by a passion for graphic design.
Jury Comment: "From concept to implementation, this exhibition stays deftly true to its educational and experiential goals. It would be easy to see this as just beautiful layout or typography only, but the depth with which this exhibition explores and layers the elements of design in Latvia viscerally enunciates how information design enables our access and ability to address the world around us. Every move is intentional, and most importantly it acknowledges that the audience is what matters. Human interaction/movement adds yet another interpretative layer to the narrative."
Conclusion: INFORMATION appealed to the panel with its simplicity and clarity of intention— using minimalist typography-driven visuals and devices like mirrors and hanging elements to elicit participation.
2017 Best of Show: Kunstmuseum Basel Light Frieze
Design Firms: iart ag
Category: Placemaking and Identity / Civic and Urban
The light frieze was co-created by iart’s engineering and design team and architects Christ & Gantenbein. It was already part of the design for the extension to the Kunstmuseum Basel in 2010, located in the city center of Basel, Switzerland, at the intersection of five streets. From the very beginning of the project, instead of using banners, flags or screens, the design team searched for a media solution that is both architectural and facilitates the external communication of the museum. To the designers, a building’s facade is always more than just a wall and a framework for the entrance. It always reflects—albeit in very different ways—the aspirations, the essence and the functions of the building.
Jury Comment: "This project is simply breathtaking. It redefines what it means to integrate digital environmental graphics with architecture in the public realm. It totally blurs the lines between communication design and built environment design where both are read as one unified expression."
Conclusion: The Kunstmuseum Basel Light Frieze rose to the top of many inspiring projects without any doubt from the jury, who were amazed by the expertly engineered interplay of light and shadow that form moving type on the facade of the museum.
2018 Best of Show: Archive Dreaming
Design Firms: Refik Anadol Studio
Category: Digital Experience Content / Exhibitions
How can we dream of an archive in new ways to multiply its layers of meaning and accessibility? Commissioned to work with SALT Research collections, artist Refik Anadol employed machine learning algorithms to search and sort relations among 1,700,000 documents. Interactions of the multidimensional data found in the archives are, in turn, translated into an immersive media installation. This installation transgresses the normal boundaries of the viewing experience into a user-controlled, three-dimensional kinetic and architectonic archive space.
Jury Comment: "This installation took my breath away, pushing limits to bridge old and new, physical and digital, present and future. The complexity of accessing, processing and making connections hidden deep within an archive is beautifully visualized and explored in a fully immersive context. Bravo!"
Conclusion: Archive Dreaming singularly inspired the panel to ponder the future of archives, exhibitions and how we use and collect information through its seamless blending of data science and machine learning, the visual and the kinetic in situ.
2019 Best of Show: Aluskne Banitis Station
Design Firms: Design Studio H2E
Category: Exhibition / Exhibitions
This multimedia exhibition is dedicated to a unique narrow-gauge railway line in Europe that is not only a place for the preservation of collective memory but is still operational today. The goal of the exhibition design was to create a virtual journey within a stationary space by means of a story about the history of the railway and its technical aspects, which would highlight the importance of local industrial heritage in the context of broader transport history. When it came to the exhibition design, the challenge was to create the impression of movement in a static space.
Jury Comment: "This project has it all: a strong sense of place and character, a successful deployment of a broad range of interpretive strategies (large motor skills, analog, digital, media, graphics) and an overarching visual coherence that pulls it all together. This is a great example of a variety of design disciplines being deployed and integrated in the creation of a full-bodied, compelling visitor experience."
Conclusion: Aluskne Banitis Station instantly won over the jury because it was exacting in its storytelling—creating a clean, well-rounded exhibition with a strong sense of character, which employs many interpretive strategies but looks entirely cohesive.
[Did you know you can browse SEGD Global Design Awards galleries dating back to 1998? Simply visit the SEGD Global Design Awards main pageand browse the right sidebar for projects by practice, by industry and by year.]
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Conclusion: You can't win if you don't enter—make your move to impress the 2020 jury today!