Quentin Blake is perhaps best known for his illustrations of Roald Dahl’s books, but his distinctive pen, ink and watercolour drawings have also accompanied the work of many other children’s authors like Michael Rosen and Joan Aiken. He has illustrated Dickens, Carroll and Lear as well as originating his own characters including Mister Magnolia, Mrs Armitage and Clown.
Since his first drawings appeared in Punch when he was 16, Blake has become recognised around the world in a 60-year career. He became widely known in the 1970s, presenting the BBC’s Jackanory, where he illustrated the various stories on screen. He became the first ever Children’s Laureate in 1999.
Two of this year’s nominees received Special Commendations from the judges: Sir David Chipperfield CBE RDI, one of the UK’s most distinguished architects and this year’s winner of the Royal Gold Medal from RIBA and the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, and Saeed Zahedi, one of the world’s leading designers of medical prosthetics, who has been at the forefront of breakthroughs which improve quality of life for people, including military personnel treated at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.
This year’s nominees also included:
- Cecil Balmond, winner of the Gretna Landmark on the England-Scotland border, and co-designer of the Orbit for London’s 2012 Olympics, is hailed as one of the greatest structural engineers and designers
- Tim Brown, the leading pioneer of ‘design thinking’ and the CEO of global design and innovation firm IDEO.
- Dinah Casson RDI, FRCA, FCSD, one of the world’s most respected environmental and exhibition designers.
- Stephen Jones, one of the UK’s foremost milliners, who has transformed millinery since first opening a salon in 1980, and who has trained other leading designers including Philip Treacy and Noel Stewart.
- Sir Paul Smith, arguably the most successful British fashion designer ever. Since opening his first shop in Nottingham in 1970 he has built an international business that has defined the way three generations of men – and latterly women - have dressed.
- Shane Walter, the co-founder of onedotzero, which since 1996 has been at the forefront of digital design and culture with festivals, public events and publishing projects, and an education programme for emerging talent.
- Chris Wilkinson OBE and Jim Eyre OBE, co-founders of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the first practice to win the Stirling Prize twice and the only one to have won it two years in a row.
The work of the nominees provides a snapshot of the creative and commercial strengths of the UK design industry. Their biographies and examples of their work can be viewed on the Design Council’s website at www.designcouncil.org.uk/ppdp
This is the final year that HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will deliver the Prize. Having headed up the judging panel and presented the Prize since its inception in 1959, he will be stepping down from the Prize as he reduces his work-load and royal responsibilities in his 90th year.
David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council, commented: “No-one can be in any doubt of the extraordinary dedication to promoting and celebrating design which has been shown by His Royal Highness during more than half a century of expert and insightful leadership of the Prince Philip Designers Prize. This year’s winner and nominees likewise demonstrate a dedication to creative excellence, but they are also exemplars of the international commercial success which springs from that creativity. Now more than ever, we must celebrate our world-leading designers, innovators and creatives, and their vital contribution to our economic future.”
To mark HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s contribution to the promotion of UK design, the Design Council has commissioned two very special gifts which will be presented to Prince Philip at the Prize-giving this evening. The first is a unique hand-drawn certificate (similar to that which has been presented to all Prize-winners for the last half century) - created by this year’s winner Quentin Blake, featuring a cartoon of Prince Philip in the artists’ inimitable style.
The certificate is accompanied by a one-off book of original artworks drawn by over forty of the Prizes’ previous winners, nominees and judges including Sir Terence Conran, Vivienne Westwood, Jeff Banks, Lord Norman Foster, Kenneth Grange and Sir Paul Smith.
The Prince Philip Designers Prize has been in existence since the early days of the Design Council. It was created by HRH as a response to post-war austerity, and aimed to stimulate and reward elegant solutions to design problems. For 52 years the Prize has been awarded for the best in UK design from products and graphics to buildings and feats of engineering, and has put the spotlight on designers for influencing and shaping our daily lives.
Former winners of the Prize include Bill Moggridge (2010) who designed the world’s first laptop, Thomas Heatherwick (2006); the architect Lord Foster of Thamesbank (2004); Habitat founder Sir Terence Conran (2003); Pentagram founder Kenneth Grange (2001) and inventor Sir James Dyson (1997).
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