Human Organs-on-Chips, designed by Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun Huh at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, has won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award for 2015 – the first medical device to win this prestigious reward.
The Human Organs-on-Chips were nominated by Paola Antonelli, MoMA’s Senior Curator of Architecture & Design and Director of R&D, who called the project “the epitome of design innovation – elegantly beautiful form, arresting concept and pioneering application.”
The Organs-on-Chips are microdevices lined with living human cells that mimic the complex tissue structures, functions and mechanical motions of whole organs, promising to advance personalised medicine, accelerate drug discovery and decrease development costs.
2015’s winner was chosen from over 70 nominated designs by a specially selected jury chaired by the artist Anish Kapoor. All of the nominated projects, which span architecture, digital, graphics, fashion, product and transport design are on display in an exhibition at the Design Museum until 31 March 2016.
“One of the most important things about the Designs of the Year award is the chance that it gives the museum to explore new territory”, explains Design Museum Director Deyan Sudjic. “The team of scientists that produced this remarkable object don’t come from a conventional design background. But what they have done is clearly a brilliant piece of design. They identified a serious problem; how do we predict how human cells will behave, and they solved it with elegance and economy of means, putting technology from apparently unrelated fields to work in new ways. They have perhaps unintentional created something that for a lay man seems to symbolise the essence of life and also happens to be beautiful to look at.”