RSA announces Royal Designers for Industry for 2008

Thursday 27 November 2008

Five of the UK's best designers are to become the latest Royal Designers for Industry at an award ceremony held today at the RSA.

Recognised for their outstanding contribution to design, Max Fordham, Sam Hecht, Sarah King, Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd will join a select group of designers who currently hold the RDI award.

Regarded as the highest honour a designer can receive in the UK, four honorary RDI awards will also be given to international designers including Andrea Branzi, James Carpenter, Dries Van Noten and Sori Yanagi.

Following the announcement of the new Royal Designers, the RSA’s Bicentenary Medal 2008 will be awarded to Tom Bloxham MBE for his commitment towards the regeneration of Britain’s inner cities.

As Group Chairman and Co-Founder of Urban Splash, the property development company, Bloxham has been instrumental in transforming inner cities into vibrant places to live, work and play. Addressing the RDI at John Adam St, his speech is entitled "Can good design survive the economic downturn?"

Commenting on the RDI awards, RSA Director of Design Emily Campbell said:

"The RSA has vigorously supported design since it emerged as a professional discipline in the early 20th century and continues to reward excellence in a very specific way through the distinction of Royal Designer for Industry. The RDIs are integral to the contemporary account of design and social progress which the RSA is developing now." 

Jaguar Director of Design and recipient of this years Walpole Award for ‘British Luxury Design Talent’ Ian Callum said:

"Design is at the very heart of Jaguar's philosophy to create Beautiful, Fast Cars and both the XK and recently introduced XF models represent a new and exciting direction for the brand. It is natural therefore that Jaguar should support the RDI Awards which celebrate excellence across all fields of Design and it is an honour for our brand to be amongst such esteemed company".

The distinction Royal Designer for Industry will be conferred to the following designers for 2008:

Max Fordham (Engineering Design)
Max Fordham has been a pioneer of environmental engineering design for buildings in the UK for more than 40 years and remains a leader in the development of a new sustainable architectural aesthetic. His high profile projects include Tate St Ives and the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Visit Max Fordham's website.

Sam Hecht (Product Design)
Sam Hecht’s studio Industrial Facility applies intellectual rigour, high design values and vision to mass-produced items – from household whitegoods to electronics, and for companies such as Epson, Magis, Lexon, Whirlpool, and Muji, where Hecht is European creative director. His work is in the permanent collections of MoMA, New York, and the Centre Pompidou. Visit Sam Hecht's website.

Sarah King (Textile Design)
Sarah King is one of the most skilled and prolific textile designers in the UK and has worked in the industry for over 25 years.  Her technical expertise, spectacular use of colour and particular sensitivity to cloth construction gives her fabrics unique character. King’s clients have included Heals, Joseph, Liberty, Colefax and Fowler, Crafts Council, and Bloomingdales, New York.

Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd (Product Design)
PearsonLloyd became a partnership in 1997. Masters of proportion, scale and colour, they bring great technical rigour to the design of products and environments and a total integration of functionality and aesthetics. They have recently been selected as product designers for Transport for London until 2009. Visit the PearsonLloyd website.

Honorary Royal Designers for 2008


Andrea Branzi (General Design)
Branzi has been working in industrial design, architecture, urban planning, education, cultural promotion and research for over 40 years. A partner of the internationally known avant-garde group Archizoom Associati from 1964 - 1974 , he was Co-founder and director of the Domus Academy in 1982, and remains an influential teacher, critic and researcher in the theory of design at the Politecnico di Milano. Visit Andrea Branzi's website.

James Carpenter (Glass Design)
Carpenter’s work is a synthesis of creative ideas and technical expertise that straddles art, architecture and engineering. Glass and light in transmission, reflection and refraction are his medium and guiding principles in the design of architectural projects. He has played a leading role in teams that have produced a number of progressive contemporary buildings. Visit James Carpenter's website.

Dries Van Noten (Fashion Design)
Described by the New York Times as one of fashion’s most cerebral designers, Van Noten presented his first collection in London in 1986 as part of ‘The Antwerp Six’.  Renowned for sophisticated prints and an outstanding sense of colour, he designs collections ‘item by item’, rather than creating a collection around one silhouette. In 1985 he opened his first shop in Antwerp selling men’s and womenswear in the same fabrics, and now has five stores and 400 outlets worldwide. Visit Dries Van Noten's website.

Sori Yanagi (General Design)

One of the most respected designers in the world, Sori Yanagi is also regarded as the father of industrial design in Japan. After working with Charlotte Perriand in the early 1940s he founded the Yanagi Industial Design Insitute in 1952, which generated a prolific number of products and furniture for daily use, characterised by a combination of  western industrial design and Japanese native artisanal tradition. Yanagi has also designed lighting, glass objects, cutlery, toys, metro stations, cars, and motorcycles.

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