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Designs of the Year exhibition opens rubs shoulders with the Shard.

February saw the announcement of the Designs of the Year shortlist and last week the concurrent exhibition opened at London’s Design Museum, where it will run until 7 July. 

Since 2008, Designs of the Year has been an industry measuring stick for where design stands now. Ambition, innovation, and a bit of pizzazz tend to win across the seven categories for Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic, Product and Transport. An overall winner will be announced on the 17 April. This year’s shortlist was chosen by a panel of distinguished judges and comprises near 100 projects. 

Last time, the London 2012 Olympic Torch (designed by Barber Osgerby) scooped the top prize. Another iconic object of the Games - Heatherwick Studio’s Olympic Cauldron - is honoured with a nomination this year. Other nominees include much-applauded works like The Rain Room (rAndom International), A Room for London (David Kohn Architects in collaboration with artist Fiona Banner) and The Shard (Renzo Piano); while at the less-well heeled end it’s grand to see the year’s favourite condiment meme Liquiglide Ketchup Bottle (Dave Smith/Varanasi Research Group MIT) cozying up alongside the gorgeous data-meets-art interaction Wind Map (Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Bertini Viegas) and Lisa Immordino documentary on fashion empress Diana Vreeland, The Eye Has To Travel.

And in a unexpected gesture of art-political solidarity, the jury gave a nod to the new government services and information website Gov.UK (designed by Government Digital Service), which replaced the user unfriendly Direct Gov in October last year. Conceived as a “one website to rule them all” super-destination, with ambitions of drawing together the web presences of all government departmental and public by 2014,’s clean and navigable site deserves its design kudos. Frost your cupcake with that one, Mr Cameron.

For a full list of the nominations click here

Charlotte Simmonds is a writer and blogger living in London. She was formerly an editorial assistant at the New Statesman. You can follow her on Twitter @thesmallgalleon.