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Eight of the UK's best designers were recognised for their outstanding contribution to design and society by becoming Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) at an award ceremony held at the RSA on Wednesday 14 November including:

  • Brian Eno for his ground-breaking use of sound in technology and media and long term sustainable thinking

  • Mark Fisher for his influential contribution to production design and British popular culture, and his pioneering education work

  • Andrew Grant for his pioneering work in sustainable and ecological landscape architecture

  • Mark Major for his innovative use of light to create positive public spaces

  • Charlie Paton for his invention of energy saving lighting for film, TV and theatre, and innovative energy reducing pilot projects around the world

  • Dan Pearson for his leading work in therapeutic garden and landscape design and impact on public and private horticulture

  • Sarah Wigglesworth for her pioneering approach to community collaboration and use of sustainable materials

The late Jonathan Speirs of the partnership Speirs and Major will receive the RDI posthumously. Regarded as the highest honour a designer can receive in the UK, four Honorary RDI awards will also be given to:

  • Bob Greenberg for his sustained innovation in interaction design and for using his expertise to promote action on international aid and development

  • Toshio Iwai for his pioneering work in creating progressive and non-aggressive video games and innovative interactive installations

  • Tomas Roope for his innovative work in taking computer interactions beyond the desktop and into communities and shared spaces

  • Peter Zumthor for his innovative and contemplative spaces using traditional methods and materials in a radical new way

Commenting on the RDIs, RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor said:

“The RSA has vigorously championed design excellence since its foundation when the design profession was in its infancy. We remain committed to encouraging and recognising outstanding designers who strive to make the world a better place. The work of these twelve fantastic practitioners has made a significant benefit to society and I’m delighted to welcome them into the faculty.”

The distinction Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) was established by the RSA in 1936 to enhance the status of designers in industry and to encourage a high standard of industrial design.

It is given to practising designers who have shown sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society. Only 200 designers are able to hold the distinction RDI at any one time, there are now 140 RDIs and 61 Honorary RDIs. Members of the Faculty include Terence Conran, Jonathan Ive, James Dyson, Vivienne Westwood, and Thomas Heatherwick.

The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry was formed in 1938 as the association of Royal Designers with the object of furthering the excellence of design and its application to industrial purposes. Many of the Royal Designers give their services to the RSA both individually and as a body, for example serving as jurors in the RSA's Student Design Awards scheme, and contributing their design expertise to the RSA Academies.

Following the RDI presentations, Mark Fisher OBE production designer and incoming RDI will give the annual RDI lecture entitled ‘Armies of Pleasure’ which will focus on the development of the industry and the technology that supports large-scale touring live entertainment.

View quotes from the new RDIs and additional background information about their work. You can contact Melanie Andrews at for further information.


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