A highlight of the annual London Design Festival is the presentation of the London Design Medal; given to a designer who has made a significant contribution to design and London having achieved international acclaim for their work. The 2010 London Design Medal was presented by Sir John Sorrell, Chairman of the London Design Festival, at a dinner held at London’s Andaz Hotel on Monday 20th September.
This year, Thomas Heatherwick was honored with the LDF Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to design.
Ben Evans, Festival Director said: “Thomas Heatherwick is a designer who defies definition whether he is working in in the fields of architecture, product design, sculpture and urban planning. He has developed a considerable reputation for his practice, creating a range of extraordinary objects and buildings; from rolling bridges to seaside cafes to spinning chairs. His stunning British Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo demonstrates to the world that British design is innovative, creative and good for business.
Thomas Heatherwick’s British pavilion, is a giant pin cushion of 60,000 plastic rods. The rods sway in the breeze like one of those fiber-optic toys, and at the end of each one inside the building is a tiny seed. The Expo’s theme is “Better City, Better Life,” and the Brits interpreted it by referencing their tradition of urban parks and gardens. According to Heatherwick, “The U.K. has pioneered the integration of nature into cities as a way of making them healthier places, in which to live and work.”
Thomas Heatherwick commented: “It’s a huge honour and a great surprise to be given the London Design Medal. London is the city I was born and brought up in; an endlessly exciting mish-mash of a place that inspires me and my team in the projects we do.”
The eighth London Design Festival, which runs until Sunday 26 September, reinforces London’s pre-eminence as the as a leading world capital of design.
Today, UK designers are firmly at the forefront of national consciousness and their influence is felt around the world. A glance at the global leaders in design will reveal many a Brit, such as Jonathan Ive at Apple, Jasper Morrison, Paul Priestman, Peter Saville and Tom Dixon… to name but a few. There is no doubt that the country remains abundant with creativity in all areas, from fashion to furniture, from digital technology to graphic design.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in London during September. When London Fashion Week draws to a close, the London Design Festival continues to celebrate and promote creativity with a wide array of events, installations and exhibitions, showing design at its best.
The medal has been designed by Domenic Lippa of Pentagram. Domenic is also responsible for all London Design Festival branding. Thomas Fattorini Ltd, a long established British medal manufacturer based in the West Midlands, are producing the double-sided medal which is 75mm in diameter, made from Sterling Silver with a gold plate finish.
Judges are selected by the London Design Festival, not just for their creative insight but also for their commitment to making The London Design Medal a true reflection of the quality and diversity of design in London.
Heatherwick was chosen by a prestigious judging panel which includes Tony Chambers Editor-in-Chief, Wallpaper* magazine; Ilse Crawford Creative Director and founder StudioIlse; Brent Hoberman Founder mydeco.com; Mark Jones Director, Victoria & Albert Museum; Munira Mirza The Mayor’s Advisor for Arts and Culture; Gwyn Miles Director of Somerset House Trust; Alice Rawsthorn Journalist, design critic for International Herald Tribune; Chris Sanderson Strategy and Insight Director, The Future Laboratory; Sir Paul Smith Designer and winner of the 2009 London Design Medal; Paul Thompson Rector, Royal College of Arta and Peter Wallis Chairman of SRU. Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans were on the panel in a non-judging capacity
A packed Andaz Hotel saw Thomas Heatherwick accept the London Design Medal, dedicating it rather touchingly to his grandmother who was there at the dinner.
Tony Chambers, editor-in-chief of Wallpaper*, who was one of the judges, said “that it was Heatherwick’s work on the UK Pavilion at this year’s Shanghai Expo that had really made it Heatherwick’s year. ‘It was an amazing feat of design, feat of engineering, feat of creativity. When someone has done something exceedingly well, I think it’s time we shouted about it more in this country, and Thomas has done something worth shouting about.”