The London Design Medals pay annual tribute to designers who are making, or have made, a significant difference to our lives through their innovation, originality and imagination.
There are four Medals awarded each year; each recognising the contribution made by leading design figures and emerging talents to London and the industry. Previous winners include David Adjaye, Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Margaret Calvert, Dieter Rams, Paul Smith and Bethan Laura Wood.
A panel of established designers, industry commentators and previous winners meet to debate the possible recipients of the four Medals including Paul Thompson (Rector of the RCA), Tony Chambers (Wallpaper* Magazine), Justine Simons (Deputy Mayor of Culture), Tristram Hunt (Director of the V&A), Nadja Swarovski (Board Member of Swarovski) and Es Devlin (Designer).
The winners will receive their medals at The British Land Celebration of Design on Monday 17 September at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. In addition, London Design Festival presents an exhibition at the V&A featuring the work of the four winners from 15-23 September 2018.
The British Land Celebration of Design Medal Exhibition illustrates the breadth of work and scale of achievement of each of the winners. Visitors are invited to the Clore Study Area, Room 55 in the British Galleries, where they can explore and be inspired by the work of each Medal winner. Admission is free.
PANERAI LONDON DESIGN MEDAL: Hussein Chalayan
The Panerai London Design Medal is awarded to an individual who has distinguished themselves within the industry and demonstrated consistent design excellence.
Hussein Chalayan is a Cyprus born British/Turkish Cypriot fashion designer. Known for his innovative approach to design, beautiful tailoring and an elegant minimalist aesthetic, Chalayan built a reputation for being one of the industry’s intellectuals – inspired by architecture, art, politics, nature and sculpture. His designs are some of fashion’s most experimental: with frock coats that build themselves (autumn/winter 2007-08); coffee tables that morph into skirts (autumn/winter 2000-01); dresses with wings to mimic those of aeroplanes (spring/summer 2000); and pieces that can be folded up into an envelope (spring/summer 2000-01).
DESIGN INNOVATION MEDAL: Neri Oxman
The Design Innovation Medal, supported by SAP, celebrates entrepreneurship in all its forms, both locally and internationally. It honours an individual for whom design lies at the core of their development and success.
Hailed as Nature’s Architect, Neri Oxman is a designer, inventor and professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she and her team–The Mediated Matter Group–operate at the nexus of fields such as generative design, digital fabrication, materials science, synthetic biology and ecology. Her teams’ works include the Silk Pavilion (2013) a biologically augmented bucky dome woven by 6500 free-ranging silkworms on a robotically fabricated silk scaffold, as well as Vespers (2016–18) a series of 3D-printed death masks augmented with pigment-producing micro-organisms. Both projects explore what it means to design with, by and for nature in the bio- digital age, pointing towards the inevitable unification of “natural” and “artificial” in a future where we mother nature by design.
EMERGING DESIGN MEDAL: Grace Wales Bonner
The Emerging Design Medal, supported by Storey, recognizes an individual who has made an impact on the design scene within five or so years of graduation.
Grace Wales Bonner graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014, and just one year later was awarded Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards, followed by the LVMH Young Designer Prize.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL: Eva Jiř ičná
The Lifetime Achievement Medal supported by Fortnum & Mason honours an individual who has made significant and fundamental contributions to the design industry over their career.
Eva Jiřičná is a Czech-born architect based in London since 1968 – this year celebrating 50 years in the UK. Jiřičná is best known for her innovative use of industrial materials in retail and commercial spaces.
A Royal Academician, CBE and royal designer for industry, she began her career at the Greater London Council, before moving on to the Louis de Soissons Partnership and Richard Rogers Partnership, where she was responsible for the interior design of the Lloyds of London building
IMAGE: Neri Oxman by Noah Kalina