Five of the UK's best designers are to be 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 Thursday 25 November in association with Jaguar.
Patrick Bellew, Peter Clegg, Sir Terence Conran, Edward Cullinan, and David Watkins will join a select group of designers who currently hold the RDI, regarded as the highest honour a designer can receive in the UK.
Patrick Bellew (Environmental engineer) for his leadership in the field of eco-generation and his contribution to the environmental performance of buildings said:
"I am both delighted and proud to have been nominated as an RDI for 2010. In many ways the work of the environmental engineer is invisible; it is through collaboration and communication with architects and other designers that we deal in the media of air, light and water to deliver more efficient buildings. It is particularly pleasing that the contribution of the engineer to this collaborative process is recognised through this award".
Peter Clegg (Architect) for social and environmental design in the UK and Africa said:
"I am honoured to be awarded the title of RDI, and in particular that this should be in recognition of the work of my practice in the area of sustainability. I welcome the opportunity to join this distinguished group of designers and look forward to the synergy that will emerge from it."
Sir Terence Conran for his lifetime's work in using good design to improve the quality of life of many people said:
"I am very proud to have been appointed a Royal Designer for Industry and that my lifetime in design has been acknowledged in this way. I have spent over fifty years in design, business and retail working to demonstrate the importance of intelligent design not just to the economy but also to the quality of people's lives, which is why I am especially delighted to accept this award recognizing innovation and industry."
Edward Cullinan (Architect) for his leadership in the design of buildings as a social force said:
"I am delighted to be presented with this award. It is a pleasure to have had my contribution to architecture and the building industry acknowledged in this way. My work has always tried to show evidence of experimentation, playfulness, and above all, architectural eloquence, coupled with a deep sense of both social and environmental responsibility. My commitment to sustainability is not a recently acquired reaction to global warming fears; it is part of a broad humanist grounding that lies behind all of my work and that of Edward Cullinan Architects. I extend my thanks to the RSA for inviting me into its prestigious Faculty of Royal Designers".
David Watkins (Jeweller) for his education work, his link with manufacturing and his innovative use of design and materials to make jewellery more accessible said:
"To be appointed to the Faculty of the Royal Designers for Industry is an extraordinary and unexpected honour. The idea that I shall be associated with so many admired and influential designers I find both thrilling and humbling."
Commenting on Jaguar's association with the RSA, Jaguar's Director of Design Ian Callum RDI said:
"At Jaguar, design has led the revitalisation of our product line-up over the past three years. We consider design and innovation to be one of the most important attributes for the brand and have created a new wave of beautiful and modern cars, cars that Sir William Lyons a man of great vision and incredible understanding of form and function would be proud of. I am delighted that Jaguar is once again working with the RSA to support these awards, it is fitting as Sir William himself was awarded an RDI in 1954."
Commenting on the RDI awards Andrew Summers, Chairman of the selection panel said:
"The RSA awards the distinction of RDI to practising designers who have shown sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society. This year we were pleased to have the involvement of RSA trustees and council members, as well as existing Royal Designers, in the selection process. The work of these five is varied but they have the common link of having made a significant benefit to society as well as demonstrating design excellence."
The distinction Royal Designer for Industry will be conferred on the following designers for 2010:
A visionary leader in the field of environmental engineering Patrick Bellew has spent his life increasing the sustainable performance of buildings. His pioneering contribution to tackling the twin global challenges of climate change and sustainable living has a global impact with significant benefits for all. Bellew's projects, mostly in the public domain, are noted for their innovation as well as their sustainability, often reducing the energy demands and carbon footprint of buildings by more than 50 percent. His environmental prototypes inspired by nature and bio-mimicry have been used in many projects worldwide, with civic and cultural sector work at all scales including the Herbarium Laboratory and Alpine House, Kew Gardens, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia and the British Pavilion Shanghai 2010, China. Bellew's company Atelier Ten were chosen as Sustainable Consultant of the Year 2009 by the UK Green Building Council.
Peter Clegg is a senior partner of one of the country's leading sustainable architecture practices, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Since it began 30 years ago in a shop front office in Bath, FCBS has been guided by social and environmental principles. Following a Masters in environmental design at Yale during the oil crisis of the 1970s, Clegg led the practice to develop a commitment to energy saving in architecture and design long before the significance of CO2 emissions and global warming was recognised. Notable works include the New Environmental Office for the Building Research Establishment and the National Trust Headquarters in Swindon, both of which became precedent low energy buildings. In terms of social responsibility, the practice traditionally located itself firmly in the public sector and the Community Architecture movement, and it now extends beyond this to creating and supporting projects in the developing world which include a new clinic at a University in Mzuzu, Malawi, an outdoor stage and teaching area for an orphanage in Chennai, homes for AIDS orphans in South Africa, and two new schools in Uganda.
Edward Cullinan has worked for over 50 years with an increasing and sustained excellence as an architect/designer, displaying a sensitive aesthetic from which his concern for social benefit follows. He conceived his architectural practice as a co-operative in the 1960s enabling all practice members to have a stake in the quality of design, and additionally to have a commitment to social quality. This is an essential element of an altruistic architecture that rates social opportunity above form, without losing sight of the pleasure and enlightenment to be had from aesthetic surroundings. Cullinan has designed numerous places to a social agenda which have been recognised as exemplars; from the buildings of the University of East Anglia and Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge, to the Community Care Centres in Lambeth and Wembley and Maggie's Centre at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle.
Sir Terence Conran
Terence Conran's contribution to design has touched most disciplines, operating for 60 years across furniture, textiles, products, print, architecture and interiors. His CV traces a remarkable journey of triumphs and challenges from the Soup Kitchen of 1953 through to the opening of the Design Museum in 1989. These bear witness to a tenacious and determined person with faith and a passion and commitment to the idea that good design is essential to our quality of life and that it should be spread around as widely as possible. To do this he has made it, commissioned it, specified it, sold it, built it, printed it and made museums out of it. One of the founding fathers of the British post-war design community, the sustained excellence can be seen in his consistent influence on the ordinary domestic interior which cannot be defined by a particular collection of objects or rooms or even houses. His lifetime's work has enabled ordinary people to want, to buy, and then to live with and enjoy good design.
David Watkins, jeweller and Emeritus Professor and Director for the Centre for Jewellery Research at the Royal College of Art has established a reputation for design excellence and an influential body of work over the past 47 years. In his search for a new aesthetic language and purist expression in jewellery, he devised new forms by utilising unconventional materials pioneering the manipulation of steel, aluminium, acrylic and Colorcore melamine. Through his progressive and innovative use of materials and processes he has enriched and extended the possibilities of form and composition for all designers. The core of David Watkins' contribution to society is his commitment to teaching over the past twenty five years. Sir Christopher Frayling has referred to David's tenure at the RCA as "The Watkins Era", a tribute to his influential contribution to the education of generations of young designers. This augments his ongoing commitment to education and promises that further research will continue to benefit both students and the wider world of design.
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