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Four of the UK’s best designers are to be recognised for their outstanding contribution to design and society.

The Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) are awarded their titles at the RSA on Thursday 27 November including:

  • Fernando Gutiérrez RDI for raising awareness of challenging social and political issues through design, and for promoting the visual arts in the international cultural sector

  • Richard Rogers RDI for his pioneering and influential approach to urban design and improving the quality of public spaces to create thriving and resilient cities

  • Helen Storey RDI for pushing the boundaries of fashion and design and making challenging scientific concepts accessible to the public

  • Neil Thomas RDI for excellence and innovation in structural design and for sustained ingenuity as a structural engineer in collaborations to create ground-breaking public art

Regarded as the highest honour a designer can receive in the UK, an Honorary RDI award will also be given to a non-UK designer:

  • Gilles Clément Honorary RDI for his creative and progressive application of ecology and science to sustainable landscape design 

Commenting on the RDIs RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor said:

“The world’s greatest designers consistently challenge convention, discover new insights, and improve people’s lives. These five outstanding practitioners from different disciplines all share an inventive and unshakable commitment to educate, inform and enrich the public realm through design.” 

The distinction Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) was established by the RSA in 1936 and is awarded annually to designers of all disciplines who have achieved sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society. Only 200 British designers can hold the title RDI, and non-UK designers are awarded the honorary title Hon RDI. There are now 146 RDIs and 56 Honorary RDIs. Members 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 for Industry. Many of the Royal Designers work with the RSA both individually and as a body, for example, serving as jurors in the RSA Student Design Awards scheme, and sharing their design expertise with the RSA Family of Academies. 

Following the RDI presentations, production designer Alex McDowell RDI will give the 2014 RDI Address entitled, ‘Building New Worlds’. Alex will describe his work on the Rilao Project, a fictional city and narrative laboratory that allows us to imagine an alternative trajectory of social, political and technological development. 

Alex McDowell has 30 years’ experience working in feature films, working with directors David Fincher, Steven Spielberg, Terry Gilliam, and Anthony Minghella amongst others. He is founder and director of 5D Global Studio, the design studio at Wondros, and professor of practice at the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California (USC) and Director, USC World Building Media Lab. 

For quotes from the new RDIs and additional information please view the Royal Designers for Industry  project page or contact Melanie Andrews.

View the full list of nominations here.

Notes to editors

1. For more information contact RSA Head of Media Luke Robinson on 020 7451 6893 or 07799 737 970 or


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