Wallpaper* Design Awards 2020: Designer of the Year Shortlist

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

The coveted Wallpaper* Design Award for Designer of the Year 2020 shortlist includes world-leading innovators, disruptors and thinkers.




Sabine Marcelis


We’ve seen plenty of Sabine Marcelis’ candy-coloured resin designs popping up over the past year. The New Zealandborn, Rotterdam-based designer has gained an impressive fan base since her graduation from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011, when she was spotted and signed up by Etage Projects gallery founder Maria Foerlev. In 2019 alone, Marcelis has worked with the likes of Fendi, GQ Middle East, MSGM and Givenchy to produce installations, furniture pieces and minimalist sculptures. She has also cemented herself as a firm favourite among design collectors, and has exhibited at major fairs including Nomad St Moritz, Design Miami/Basel and Copenhagen’s Chart.


Marcelis’ ‘The Shapes of Water’ installation for Fendi




Biocontributing packaging by Hæckels wins Wallpaper* Design Awards for Best New Grooming Product


Bio packaging from the UK’s Margate-based wellness brand Hæckels wins our coveted 2020 Wallpaper* Design Award for Best New Grooming Product



Biocontributing packaging, by Hæckels




A cosmetic brand’s good reputation is increasingly dependent on the use of recycled materials, but there are also notable efforts being made towards zero-impact and ‘closed loop’ sustainability. For Margate-based wellness brand Hæckels, sustainability has been on the agenda since day one, when founder Dom Bridges created a bar of soap from seaweed. This year, Hæckels overhauled the packaging for its products, making protective boxes from mycelium (the thread-like root system of fungi) and agricultural waste, with product information printed on recycled paper studded with seeds. This ‘living, breathing’ material performs like plastic, but can be grown, recycled and readily decomposes. ‘You can just throw the whole thing out of the window,’ says Bridges. It’s a bold move, but proves respect for the planet doesn’t mean compromising on function or aesthetics.




Ruby City by Adjaye Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Award for Best New Public Building


This year’s Wallpaper* Design Awards 2020 shortlist for the Best New Public Building spotlights structures that haven’t just won our hearts with their exceptional architecture but provide examples of how innovative design can support local communities and heritage – like our winner, Ruby City, US, by Adjaye Associates



On the edge of San Pedro Creek in San Antonio, southern Texas, Ruby City rises. The 14,500 sq ft art centre, clad in colourful precast concrete, is the city’s latest cultural venue, designed by Adjaye Associates in partnership with local firm Alamo Architects. The project was conceived 12 years ago by the late art collector and philanthropist Linda Pace, who sketched her idea for the project after waking from a dream. David Adjaye’s goal was to translate this idea into a building that would do justice to her legacy. The result? A jewel-like structure that provides inspirational space for the community and interacts with its surroundings. Ruby City’s skin uses a glass and mica aggregate made south of the border in Mexico City. At ground level, the concrete has been polished to create a smooth, tactile finish; 3m above, a coarser aggregate using shards of varying shades has been used. Inside, there are three white walled galleries filled with light, courtesy of two pitched rooflights.




Under wins Wallpaper* Design Award for Best New Restaurant


Designed by Oslo-based architects Snøhetta, Europe’s first underwater restaurant has won the coveted Wallpaper* Design Awards 2020 for Best New Restaurant, as selected by our discerning jury



Breaking the surface of the water to rest directly on the seabed 5m below, Snohetta’s 34m-long monolithic building features a rough concrete shell designed to function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it.

Photography: Ivar Kvaal




Designed by Oslo-based architects Snøhetta, Europe’s first underwater restaurant, submerged 5.5m below sea level at the southernmost tip of Norway and resembling a periscope, features a reinforced, convex concrete shell and thick acrylic windows to ensure you won’t get so much as your hair wet. Inside, guests are welcomed into the warm arms of strippedback Scandi design, while Danish chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard has conceived a menu to match the view. In terms of content, it makes adventurous use of what’s swimming past the glass, but Ellitsgaard is also carving out his own gastronomic territory and is armed with Michelin stars to prove it. Menu prices are robust, but Under is well worth the waiting list, connecting flight and cross-fjord expedition.