London Design Festival 2021 Medal Winners
Each year, London Design Festival recognises the contribution made by leading design figures and emerging talents to London and the industry with four London Design Medals awarded:
The London Design Medal: the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual who has distinguished themselves within the industry and demonstrated consistent design excellence.
Design Innovation Medal: 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.
Emerging Design Medal: recognises an impact made on the design scene within five or so years of graduation.
Lifetime Achievement Medal: honours a significant and fundamental contribution to the design industry over the course of a career.
London Design Medal: Ilse Crawford
Ilse Crawford, is a designer, academic and creative director. Over two decades she has pioneered humanistic design in its real life application to environments, objects and experiences, by identifying and addressing fundamental human needs. Crawford has championed design’s ability to support and enhance the human experience: as founder of eponymous design studio Studioilse; the founding editor of Elle Decoration; the founding head of the Man & Wellbeing department at the Design Academy Eindhoven; and as author of three seminal books on the role and value of design in everyday life.
Crawford studied history with history of architecture at university, developing her beliefs at an early age from understanding the symbiotic relationship between architecture, design and human behaviour. When she launched Elle Decoration in 1989, her “modern and emotional" approach to living was radical in the industry. Intelligent and historically attuned, yet warm and inspiring, Crawford’s interpretation of architecture and interiors, and how design could enhance the lives of people who reside in them, was revolutionary.
A progressive collaborator, Crawford has partnered with some of the world’s most recognisable companies, introducing the power and potential of design to their worlds: from IKEA to the Soho House group; Cathay Pacific’s global airline lounge concept to the blueprint for the branches of Fidelity financial services in the US; Ett Hem in Stockholm to The Carlyle club in Hong Kong. She has delivered several social projects including Refettorio Felix and the Anna Freud Centre/Kantor Centre of Excellence in London, pushing for the inclusion of design into sectors where it is frequently excluded yet needed most.
Design Innovation Medal: Eyal Weizman MBE
Few designers or architects have been more truly innovative than Eyal Weizman, who has reinvented design and architecture as tools of restorative social justice through his work at Forensic Architecture, where he is Founding Director.
A research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, Forensic Architecture investigates human rights violations including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations. They work in partnership with institutions across civil society, from grassroots activists, to legal teams, to international NGOs and media organisations, to carry out investigations with and on behalf of communities and individuals affected by conflict, police brutality, border regimes and environmental violence.
Their investigations employ pioneering techniques in spatial and architectural analysis, open source investigation, digital modelling, and immersive technologies, as well as documentary research, situated interviews, and
academic collaboration. Findings from their investigations have been presented in national and international courtrooms, parliamentary inquiries, and exhibitions at some of the world’s leading cultural institutions.
The author of over 15 books, Weizman has also held positions in universities worldwide including Princeton, ETH Zurich and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He is a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court and the Centre for Investigative Journalism. In 2020 he was elected the Richard von Weizsäcker fellow at the Bosch Academy.
Emerging Design Medal: Mac Collins
Mac Collins is a British designer, maker and artist from Nottingham. Collins graduated with a degree in Three-Dimensional Design from Northumbria University, Newcastle, in the summer of 2018. In the years since graduating, Collins has been committed to designing and making narrative-rich and impactful furniture and objects. In this pursuit, Collins focuses on manipulating, yet still celebrating, the inherent beauty of the materials that he works with.
Alongside this material driven approach, Collins brings personal and cultural narratives into his work, and deems his practice as a means of exploring his own identity and position within the African Diaspora. As a designer of Jamaican descent, Collins draws on his Caribbean lineage to create artefacts that are often informed by the stories and the charisma of his elders. Wider to this, Collins responds to his social surroundings and experiences, using his work to convey and evoke particular mind- sets in response.
While researching ideas for his graduate project at Northumbria University, Collins developed the Iklwa Chair, an afrofuturist furniture piece which won the designer the 2018 Cræftiga prize and went on to be produced by revered furniture maker Benchmark. His upcoming projects include a piece for ‘Discovered’ at the Design Museum – curated by Wallpaper* Magazine and the American Hardwood Export Company (AHEC), and debut pieces created for Finnish brand Vaarnii, which exclusively crafts its collections in Finnish pine and will be launching at this year's London Design Festival.
Mac Collins is a lecturer in Furniture and Product Design. He has previously lectured at Nottingham Trent University and will begin teaching at Northumbria
University, Newcastle in 2021, where he is also currently a Resident Designer. Collins is also a Steering Committee member for Design Can, London.
Lifetime Achievement Medal: Michael Wolff
Michael Wolff is one of the key trailblazers of British graphic design. Across more than six decades, he has remained a passionate advocate for design’s essential role in improving every aspect of our lives.
After studying architecture, Wolff worked in product and interior design before co- founding Wolff Olins with Wally Olins in 1965. One of the world’s most iconic design companies, clients included Apple Records, Volkswagen and Audi, and sowed the seeds of what we now call ‘branding’.
Bringing wit, imagination, art and humanism to corporate identity, Wolff has been a pioneer in the field of graphic design. He has worked at grassroots level with emerging designers and communities and has inspired and influenced generations of creatives. A powerful advocate for inclusive design, addressing issues around dignity and fairness, his work is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s.
Wolff is Patron of the Inclusive Design Challenge with the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the RCA, was a member of the Government sponsored Design and Technology Alliance against crime and former Chairman of the Legible London initiative with Transport for London, a visiting Professor at the University of the Arts in London and a Senior Fellow of the RCA.