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Design of the Year 2015

October 30, 2017

By Matthew Corcoran Associate Director, Content
By Matthew Corcoran Associate Director, Content


The Design Museum in London, which awarded our Organ-Chip Design of the Year

Design of the Year 2015

October 30, 2017

Organs-on-Chips take home Design of the Year award from Design Museum in London

The idea behind our Organ-Chips is straightforward: to create an environment for human cells in which they behave just like they do in the body. And leaders in the world of design recently recognized our innovative work in a big way, when the Design Museum in London named our Organ-Chips “Design of the Year.”

Our Organ-Chips were the first design from the medical field to win the honor.


Our award-winning Organ-Chip

Finalists included Google’s Self-Driving Car and a system to remove tiny particles of plastic from the ocean. The Museum received 76 nominations from leaders in the field of design. Nominations were divided into six categories: architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product, and transport.

“This winning design is a great example of how design is a collaborative practice embracing expertise and know-how across disciplines,” said Gemma Curtin, Curator of the Award. The selection of the Organ-Chip “also signifies a desire to recognize and award design that can significantly impact society now and in the future.”

“This is the epitome of design innovation — elegantly beautiful form, arresting concept, and pioneering application.”

Function and Form

Organ-Chips feature tiny channels packed with living cells. The chips recreate the fundamental properties of organs at their smallest functional unit — all inside a clear window that gives researchers a dynamic, data-rich view of the organ’s response to chemicals and drugs in real-time.

Organ-Chips and our Human Emulation System are being used today to test the way medicines, foods, and chemicals affect the human body — and they are more accurate than testing on animals or on human cells in a dish.

“Removing some of the pitfalls of human and animal testing means, theoretically, that drug trials could be conducted faster and their viable results disseminated more quickly,” said Paola Antonelli, Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design and the Director of Research and Development at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “This is the epitome of design innovation — elegantly beautiful form, arresting concept, and pioneering application.”

The Organ-Chip is “a really big idea” that combines technology and design to address the problem of using animals to test products, said Anish Kapoor, Chair of the prize jury. “It feels like one of those questions of the future.”

It sure does feel like the future — only it’s happening today.