Royal Designers for 2012

The distinction Royal Designer for Industry will be conferred on the following designers for 2012:

Brian Eno (Designing with Sound)


Brian Eno has been pushing the boundaries of experimental sound for over four decades and has consistently created an innovative and inspiring body of work that has influenced generations of architects and designers as well as musicians, producers, and artists. Rather than specifying the notes that are played or words that are sung Eno creates an audio presence or atmosphere in his compositions. He can be more accurately described as a designer who uses sound as his chosen medium. Eno occupies a unique place in a field that he has defined and is the first practitioner to receive the RDI for designing with sound, a discipline already recognised in film, television, theatre, online, and in music production. Eno is a pioneer of generative music and has designed apps including ‘Bloom’, and ‘Scape’ for Apple; sonic drawing boards that allow everyone to create ‘soundscapes’ on an evolving colourful interface. He has worked across many disciplines and has supported issues that impact on society including the environment and arts education. Eno is also co-founder of The Long Now Foundation, an organisation to educate the public about long term thinking for the purpose of fostering responsibility for the future of society.

"I'm very honoured to receive an RDI Award for Sound Design - the first time that there has been an award in this field. This represents a recognition of my own work - for which I am grateful - but also a recognition of this new field of creative endeavour. Our lives are increasingly permeated by noise and music: Sound Design is the decision to take that fact seriously." – Brian Eno

Mark Fisher (Production Design)

Mark Fisher design

Mark Fisher’s work in the design of major public and global events transmutes the character and function of stadia and otherwise empty public buildings into palaces of popular culture where gymnasts, athletes, and musicians working with temporary infrastructure replicate the artist’s scenery and architecture of theatre. His work is of exceptional quality, creativity, complexity and ambition and often takes the experience of a production to a new level. The events he has designed for Olympic opening and closing ceremonies have delivered increasingly bold artistic statements to audiences that number in the billions. His work has been definitive in reshaping live music as an artistic, communal, and visual experience. Pink Floyd's The Wall and U2's ZooTV are two examples in a long list of his ground breaking productions. The power and impact of his work has helped to shape our cultural identity, and the experience of attending his productions has had a positive and transformative effect on those people who experience it. A committed educationalist, Fisher has acted as tutor and mentor to generations of students and graduates, and supported the training of vast numbers of performers with the charity Circus Space, renovating a derelict electricity generating hall for use as a training facility and volunteering his time and the services of his studio to design and assist on new projects for The Generating Company, one of the largest non-subsidised producers of physical theatre in the UK. Visit the Stufish website.

"I am delighted to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry. After many years in the rough and tumble world of show business trying to deliver good design, thoughtful engineering and social value to mass audiences, it is an unexpected pleasure to have my work recognized in this way. The Faculty includes many men and women whose achievements inspired me when I was a student. I hope that this endorsement of my unconventional work in popular culture will be a similar inspiration to design students today." – Mark Fisher

Mark Fisher OBE RDI, 20 April 1947 - 25 June 2013. Read Mark Fisher's obituary in the Telegraph.

Andrew Grant (Landscape Design)

Andrew Grant design

Andrew Grant’s pioneering work in landscape architecture is extensively concerned with sustainability incorporating fundamentals of ecological planting, biodiversity, water use and the sensitive and empirical needs of architects and environmental engineers. Andrew has developed a global reputation for a range of extraordinarily innovative work such as the acclaimed Gardens by the Bay attraction in Singapore which opened this year. His ability to translate ambitious ideas from sketches into creative realities sets him apart from his contemporaries. Andrew’s expertise has been influential; shifting the landscape design industry from flowering borders to a major force in the public realm. His early work established a holistic approach to systems thinking at an ecological scale. His planning demonstrates an understanding of the potential to use the environment as a platform to engage and educate people on the complex issues of a project. His ideas flow not only through a planting scheme but through the site’s water and waste cycles, its natural energy systems and even with the visitor’s experience through landscapes that may require all five of their senses. Andrew promotes ‘Planet Landscape’ where his treatments of 3D ecological systems are not generic but site specific responding directly to local conditions and cultures now defined by his extensive activity in temperate, desert and tropical environments where he is promoting the lasting value that landscape design may bring to our lives. Visit Andrew Grant's website.

"This is an amazing honour and one that I would never have anticipated. I hope the award helps to shine a light on the essential interface between 'design' and the natural environment. Landscape Architecture is nothing if it does not connect human imagination with the life force of nature. I look forward with great anticipation to working with the RSA and the other RDI's in promoting an imaginative and ecologically enlightened future." – Andrew Grant

Bob Greenberg Honorary RDI (Digital Design)

Bob Greenberg design

Bob Greenberg is a digital design pioneer whose outstanding body of work has had transformative impact across many creative disciplines. Greenberg has been a major figure in motion graphics for over three decades and in interaction design for over fifteen years, having founded R/GA in 1977. Working with some of the most celebrated directors in Hollywood his early works include innovative and ground-breaking visual effects sequences for the films Alien, Predator, Seven, and Zelig, which helped change the way motion graphics are perceived by industry and audience alike, and paved the way for the seamless integration of live action and CGI that is the accepted norm today. Known for his pioneering use of technology in an industry rooted in analogue production, he made a bold and visionary move to a comprehensively digital studio in the late 1980s, signalling his on-going desire to consistently work with new media. He then took another decisive step by refocusing on interaction design in the second half of the 1990s. His commitment to exploit the creative potential of emerging digital media and explore the potential of new platforms of communication is exemplary. Selected by Bloomberg BusinessWeek in 2010 as ‘one of the world’s most influential designers’, Greenberg chooses to use his vast knowledge, expertise and industry experience to give back to both the industry and education. He serves on numerous industry and educational boards in US and Europe, including the AdCouncil, where he has been responsible for a number of initiatives to improve social awareness, lobby government over global social issues, and fundraise for communities in need of aid. Visit the R/GA website.

"It really is a privilege and an honour to receive this award, in what is a highlight of my professional life. The RSA is an organisation that I’ve always held in the highest esteem, representing not just excellence in innovation, but also demonstrating an understanding of how design can make a positive contribution to wider societal issues." – Bob Greenberg

Toshio Iwai Honorary RDI (Interaction Design)

Toshio Iwai designToshio Iwai is a hugely influential Japanese interaction designer of responsive installations, video games, television programmes and musical instruments. His first works of the early 1980s recalled pre-cinematic techniques like the zoetrope and combined them with digital technology to create large scale motorised stroboscopic installations which evoke the magic of animation through the illusion of movement. His games are more about play, experimentation and discovery and have inspired many others to develop games in this direction. Iwai has published several commercial video game titles and is one of the first artist/designers to combine a successful arts career with a career designing video games. Following Otocky in the 1980s, he went on to create Sound Fantasy for Nintendo's Super Famicon, which was finally released as Sim Tunes for the PC. He created a multiplayer drawing game for Playstation called Bikkuri Mouse and an audio sequencer called Tenori-on for the Namco Bandai handheld console. In 2005 Iwai's Electroplankton for the Nintendo DS was released - a highly original and universally acclaimed game which blurred the boundaries between video games, interactive art and musical instruments and redefined what a commercial video game could be. Most recently Iwai has created a new version of Tenori-on with Yamaha - a new electronic musical instrument based on a 16x16 grid which allows the composition of complex sequences and soundscapes. Iwai has extended our idea of what a video game can be. They can be educational, creative and inspiring for users. He has insisted on play as a creative force and has demonstrated that the video game does not have to be limited to violent and brutal themes but can be used to amplify creativity and create new forms of beauty.

"I am very honoured to receive such a prestigious prize and grateful that my games and instruments are being enjoyed by people in many parts of the world." – Toshio Iwai

Jonathan Speirs and Mark Major (Designing with Light)

Speirs and Major design Speirs and Major designSpeirs and Major are one of the pioneers of the rapidly growing profession of architectural lighting design in the UK, and recognized as one of the top five companies in the world who specialise in designing with light. They have combined their creative and technical skills to deliver the highest quality of aesthetic design through the manner in which they use both natural and artificial light. They respond sensitively to their projects, not simply by illuminating space and form, but by creating special experiences for people and providing new interpretations and meanings for the built environment after dark. They have addressed a wide range of social and environmental issues through their work and have made a considerable contribution to the development of the lighting profession. Social awareness includes their pioneering work in the field of urban lighting where they have produced innovative thinking around the issues of identity, character, safety, security and accessibility after dark. Speirs & Major have addressed the issue of the environmental impact of light over many years having consistently argued against over-illumination in the built environment and of the importance of retaining darkness in our lives. This not only saves energy, limits light pollution and mitigates adverse effects on bio-diversity but also improves our wellbeing, as we need both the physiological and psychological benefits that darkness can bring to our lives. Visit the Speirs and Major website.

"I am really delighted and honoured to have been invited to become a Royal Designer for Industry. Even more so that my late partner Jonathan Speirs has also been recognised in this way. Both of us strived hard over many years to improve the quality of light for people within the built environment. It is therefore a real achievement for this work to be recognised by our peers." – Mark Major

Charlie Paton (Engineering Design)

Charlie Paton designCharles Paton is a product developer, maker and designer whose early success was the invention of motorised lighting, which dramatically reduced the number of lamps needed to light concerts, plays, music theatre or experimental art. For the past 20 years he has been developing his Seawater Greenhouse concept; a low-cost agricultural building designed to produce food and water on barren land in hot and arid coastal regions. It harnesses solar energy, photosynthesis, evapo-transpiration and the condensation potential of cool seawater in a unique and inspired way to create a virtuous cycle that produces fresh food and fresh potable water in locations where food and water shortages are a significant problem. Paton has built the pilot projects himself in four locations around the world to prove his concept; simple and elegant it is potentially life changing for huge numbers of people living in deprived coastal regions. The design has received many awards; most recently the Climate Change Product of the Year and it has attracted attention from all over the world, including from the National Geographic and New Scientist. Other projects in development include a prototype of a rooftop glasshouse for urban food production based on recycled materials as growing media and rainwater harvesting. Visit the Seawater Greenhouse website, or visit the Rooftop Greenhouse website.

"I am honoured to be awarded the Royal Designer for Industry. As one who operates outside the mainstream of industrial design, I am absolutely delighted that my work has been nominated and accepted by such an eminent group of people." – Charlie Paton

Dan Pearson (Landscape Design)

Dan Pearson Dan Pearson is one of the UK’s most respected landscape and garden designers who has an international reputation for design and planting excellence. His work is characterised by an instinctive response to the sense of place resulting in the creation of unique site-specific environments. He works with subtlety towards the goal of refining the connection between society and the enormous benefit the grown environment brings with a deep understanding of how plants relate to their surroundings and their natural growing conditions. This understanding together with an appreciation of natural landscapes and landforms are the primary inspiration for his work. Explicit examples of a clear contribution to the public’s wellbeing include the therapeutic landscapes and gardens he has created for the service of mental and physical health; for London’s Maggie’s Centre, Evelina Children’s Hospital and the Aldinbourne Trust. In his landscapes and parks at The Millenium Dome, Tokachi Millenium Forest and Handyside Park he has helped to educate the public about conservation, botany, sustainability and environmentalism. Dan has also been hugely influential through his books, magazine features, television appearances and lectures. Visit Dan Pearson's website.

"I feel very privileged to receive this honour and am humbled to have been chosen. It is very exciting for us as landscape designers to see our discipline being recognised seriously by our peers in other disciplines, when it has, until recently, rather languished in the shadows. A symbiotic relationship between the built and natural environments can only result in an enhanced public experience of cities, towns and countryside." – Dan Pearson

Tomas Roope Honorary RDI (Interaction Design)

Tom Roope design Tom Roope is one of the most respected interactive communication designers in the world and has developed a particular reputation for taking interaction design beyond the desktop and into real environments. In the fifteen years since co-founding the seminal multimedia collective Antirom, from which he went on to establish the internationally acclaimed Tomato Interactive, his name has become synonymous with all that is innovative and exciting in interactive media and interactive installations. Through his active role in promoting a young digital design industry in the early 1990s he helped to define the ways in which designers could respond to one of the most significant creative and commercial challenges in recent years. Roope brings an innovative and experimental art sensibility to the digital arena, using technology in a ground breaking, creative, and more memorable way than his contemporaries. He is a lateral thinker and brings together digital work which involves people to bring an engaged and social element to his work. Roope’s hallmark is to co-create a project with a target audience so that they are actively part of the work and not observers of it. Some examples of this approach can be seen in his work with the singer, Lily Allen for X-Box 360, and in an online broadcast campaign created for the X-Factor TV show sponsor, Talk Talk. Visit the Rumpus Room.

"It is a great honour to become a Royal Designer for Industry. It's fantastic that the RSA is giving recognition to digital practitioners, as our industry would really benefit from the rigour and excellence embodied in the Faculty. On the flip side I hope my experience and knowledge may be of use to the RSA’s ongoing championing of design as a force for good in this turbulent and challenging world." – Tomas Roope

Sarah Wigglesworth (Architecture)

Sarah Wigglesworth design Sarah Wigglesworth has established herself as one of the most significant architects of her generation, spanning the disciplines of teaching, research and practice, with a reputation based on design excellence and on a radical approach to the role of the architect. Setting up practice in London in 1994 after working for a variety of international firms her work has included a broad range of building types within the new build, historic and refurbishment sectors and has extended into territory beyond architecture. The challenges offered by each project result in a wide range of solutions but the common theme is a highly sensuous use of new materials and an innovative approach to ecological architecture using low-cost, sustainable and recycled products. (The Straw Bale House being one example and the Sandal Magna Community Primary School in Wakefield, another for being one of the most carbon efficient schools in the UK). Her focus on users, materials, appropriateness and sustainability make her projects more humane, accessible and unpretentious than other architect’s work. As an educator of 28 years’ experience (Professor of Architecture at Sheffield university since 1998) Sarah has helped shape a more socially-responsible and politically engaged architect able to situate themselves in the vast network of forces that bear upon the discipline. Through her books and articles Sarah has demonstrated an active interest in engaging with the public in a debate about architecture and to make architectural issues accessible to the lay person and expert alike. Visit Sarah Wigglesworth's website.

 "I am honoured to join the distinguished company of Royal Designers for Industry. I hope to use the role as a platform to communicate the value of design, emphasising that good design helps improve our wellbeing, productivity, health and educational attainment, makes systems work smoothly and supports our identity as a civic society. The RSA has been championing these values for many years, and I look forward to contributing to this goal." – Sarah Wigglesworth

Peter Zumthor (Architecture)

Peter Zumthor design Peter Zumthor has developed a worldwide reputation and an influence on our appreciation of buildings which goes beyond the architectural profession. His work reminds us that buildings should appeal to our senses, as well as responding to the necessities of a brief and the demands of the site. In a world where architecture practices can be vast in size and global in reach, Zumthor has maintained personal and individual control over the relatively modest output of his practice over three decades, yet achieved international recognition for a range of extraordinary projects. The demonstration of sensibility to the qualities of the site, the simplicity and precision of the detailing, the sensitivity to materials and to natural light give each of his buildings a spiritual quality which is universally recognised and admired by designers and architects from all over the world. His work is rooted in the particularities of place expressed through the use of local, natural and sustainable materials, and the use of local labour and skills. The Thermal Baths at Vals have become a pilgrimage site for architects and a destination for visitors from all over the world seeking to explore its qualities of space, light and sound. The nearby chapel at Sumvitg exudes spirituality from a simple and apparently effortless approach to design and materiality. His first project in the UK was the pavilion he made for the Serpentine Gallery in 2011. Zumthor’s structure was characteristically minimalist and unostentatious. His concern for place and client is unusual for its intensity. The buildings that he designs have a positive effect on how the public feel and interact with them. Spanning the worlds of art, architecture and sculpture, philosophy and poetry, he is an inspiration to designers by leading as an example to others in these professions. Additionally, the majority of his projects are in the public realm – not restricted to the privileged few.