Vice City, iPod, iMac nominated for design award

The violent PlayStation2 game and Apple's gadgets are competing with crystal chandeliers and jewellery for a new £25,000 prize

Apple hardware and the video game Grand Theft Auto III: Vice City have been nominated for a new British design award alongside works in more traditional media such as jewellery and crystal, although the game's violent content means it will be censored for the purposes of the award.

Two out of four of the nominees for the £25,000 Designer of the Year award, organised by London's Design Museum, are from the high-tech field. The new award is intended to honour "the UK designer or design team which made the biggest contribution to design in 2002."

Vice City, on the PlayStation2 platform, became the UK's fastest-selling video game in history when it was released in November. It is published by New York-based Rockstar Games, founded by Londoners Sam Houser, Dan Houser and Terry Donovan, and was designed by Edinburgh's Rockstar North.

The jury praised the game's technology, imagery and narrative, and in particular its use of architecture, but said that concerns about its violent content did not come into play. The game is set in a 1980s city based on Miami, and follows the story of a hoodlum who rises through the ranks of the criminal underworld by carrying out carjackings, stabbings, shootings, beatings and the like.

Visitors to an exhibit centred around the nominees will be able to play other Rockstar games, but not Vice City. Objectionable scenes have also been left out of a DVD showing highlights from the game.

Another nominee was London-born Johnathan Ive, Apple's vice president of industrial design, for the iMac PC and iPod digital music player. Both devices have had an impact on the PC and consumer electronics industries far out of proportion to their relatively small market share.

Apple showed off two more Ive designs -- possible nominees for next year's award -- at this week's Macworld trade show in San Francisco. Apple's new range of laptop computers includes a model with a 17-inch widescreen display, illuminated keyboard and a shell of anodised aluminium.

The other two nominees were Solange Azagury-Partridge, a jewellery designer, and Tord Boontje, who has designed chandeliers and mass-produced lighting.

The work of the nominees will be on display at the Design Museum from 1 March to 29 June, with the winner to be announced in June. The prizewinner will be selected by a jury of prominent people in the fashion, museum and design industries, but the public will also have a vote via the museum or its Web site at www.designmuseum.org.


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