initiated by designboom and abitare magazine, with patronage by the milan city council, THE DESIGN PRIZE is an annual award program that celebrates excellence on a global scale. the inaugural edition of the initiative, presented during milan design week 2017, recognizes both the extraordinary achievements and little sparks of beauty and delight that have emerged over the past 12 months.


you may be thinking, another design award? yes…but this one has an unusual format, positioning itself as a contemporary and provocative alternative to the formalism of our times. from backstage to center stage, THE DESIGN PRIZE is created from the inside out. 





THE DESIGN PRIZE recognizes design culture ‘from within’ by asking a worldwide scientific committee of designers, journalists, curators, critics, lecturers, scholars and institutional figures, to help draw up the nominations. here’s what some of the creative backstage had to say about the award:


carlo rattithanks so much for thinking at me for THE DESIGN PRIZE’s scientific committee – and congratulations for such a brilliant initiative.


konstantin grcic you can count on me, I’m on board! I like your initiative behind THE DESIGN PRIZE and will do my best to support you.


alice rawsthorn — what a good idea to launch the prize.


marcel wandersthis is a great new initiative.


bjarke ingelscongrats on the initiative.


barber & osgerbyreally excited to hear news of these new awards.

THE DESIGN PRIZE award ceremony is at teatro gerolamo and will be live streamed on designboom
image © designboom



this international network of over 150 acclaimed professionals presented a ‘longlist’ of more than 750 nominations, with selections distributed across 10 award categories:




see the shortlist of nominees in each category and videos outlining the selected projects below, and on instagram at @thedesignprize.

we’re getting ready at teatro gerolamo!
image © designboom



the winners have been selected by an international jury comprising: silvia botti (editor-in-chief of abitare); birgit lohmann (editor-in-chief of designboom); cristina tajani (councillor for employment policy, economic development, university and research at the municipality of milan), curators alexandra cunningham cameron, ingeborg de roode, and maria cristina didero; spanish land art/architecture studio ensamble; chinese architect ma yasong; and jeffrey schnapp (founder and director of metaLAB harvard). 


THE DESIGN PRIZE award ceremony is taking place at 10:00pm on april 4 during a gala evening at teatro gerolamo, milan and will be live streamed on designboom. the VIP event has been organized in collaboration with EDISON, one of the main energy providers in italy and europe, and the main partner of THE DESIGN PRIZE. the ceremony, produced by PRY, will be presented by giacomo nicolella maschietti and holly mumford and will end with a live musical performance by special guest amp fiddler — a singer-songwriter and sound designer from detroit. the evening will continue with fiddler’s own DJ set to the accompaniment of veuve clicquot champagne.




the nominees in each of the 10 categories are:


SOCIAL IMPACT — improvements in the public realm, like public spaces, mobility, infrastructure:


christo and jeanne-claudethe floating piers, lake iseo
shigeru banpaper partition system, amatrice
david adjayesmithsonian national museum of african american history and culture, washington d.c.





DISTRIBUTION — shop design and retail, packaging:


aesop stores (worldwide)
intervention for valextra in milan — snarkitecture
RED valentino — india mahdavi





COMMUNICATION — branding, advertising campaign, print & online magazines.


célinespring/summer 2016 ad campaign by juergen teller
ravi naidoodesign indaba

better shelter refugee project – a collaboration with UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency, funded by the IKEA Foundation






ARTISTIC REALM — (limited) design/art edition:


philippe malouin‘the speed of light’ at design district miami
bethan laura wood
didier faustino – cosmogonie for hermès’ haute bijouterie collection « HB-IV Continuum » designed by pierre hardy.





EXHIBITION — concept and spatial design


alejandro aravenabiennale venezia ‘reporting from the front’
amanda leveteMAAT lisbon
design anatomy exhibition — taku satoh, 21_21 design sight, tokyo





EXPERIMENTATION — research, education, labs:


dirty art department
olafur eliasson‘little sun’ and ‘little sun diamond’





DESIGN CURATOR & DESIGN CRITIC — exhibition / design event / design week:


alice rawsthorn
aric chen
andreas angelidakis







muller van severen
faye toogood







michael anastassiades
yves béhar
ronan & erwan bouroullec





LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT — it is a long process, but you don’t need to be over 65 to be considered a pioneer in your career. THE DESIGN PRIZE recognises a creative contribution which has left a significant mark on the field, indicating new directions of innovation and paving the way for future generations to come.


konstantin grcic
marc newson
naoto fukasawa





each year, THE DESIGN PRIZE statuette takes on a new shape, with subsequent versions adding to an ongoing artistic embodiment of the city of milan. for each iteration of the award, we approach an artist, designer or architect to reinterpret a milanese landmark into a limited edition statuette. over the years, milan will be immortalized as a collection of precious artworks that map out the vibrant history of a city that is always growing and never stands still. in this way, THE DESIGN PRIZE is inextricably linked to the city of milan.



designboom and abitare magazine present THE DESIGN PRIZE

THE DESIGN PRIZE madonnina statuette designed by vasily klyukin



this year’s statuette takes the form of milan’s madonnina. perched atop the duomo at the heart of city, the golden figure was designed and built by giuseppe perego in 1774. traditionally, no building in milan may rise higher than the statue, and so the city’s tallest building bears a small replica at its peak. for THE DESIGN PRIZE 2017, the golden madonnina, symbolizing the pinnacle of excellence, has been designed and conceived by banker-turned-artist, vasily klyukin. the russian philanthropist, co-founder of sovcombank, and recent author of ‘collective mind’ has conceived a limited edition of 12 stainless steel art pieces. forming part of his ongoing ‘live sculptures’ series, the statuette for THE DESIGN PRIZE comprises a sequence of independent parts that intersect to create the three dimensional form of the golden madonnina.






THE DESIGN PRIZE is energized by EDISON.  


when it comes to the development and promotion of smart cities and homes, EDISON is an experienced and well-equipped partner.


the company employs its unique knowledge and know-how — developed over 130 years  of activity in the energy sector — in collaborative projects with architects and designers  that look to creating a sustainable future.


the solutions, business models and technologies proposed by EDISON to its clients and partners are designed and developed in response to their specific needs, resulting in tailor-made energy systems that aim to improve and simplify the lives of people worldwide.