London Design Festival has announced the winners of this year’s London Design Medal, considered one of the highest accolades in the design industry. Tom Dixon, who turned 60 this year, has been given the top award – a notable 18 years after being given an OBE for services to design. Despite that, the famously dry-humoured Dixon commented on his win: “I’m still confused as to why I won’t be getting the Emerging Design Medal, as it still feels very much like I have only just started – I’ve so much left to design! But I’m very touched to be noticed by this super Jury, thank you very much.”
Having established his name in the 1980s making welding salvaged steel into postmodern furniture, his other career landmarks include designing the S chair for Cappellini in the 90s, then becoming creative director at Habitat, before starting his own brand in 2002 – arguably one of the best known British furniture brands in the world. He later set up the interior and architectural arm to his brand, Design Research Studio, known for designing Shoreditch House among many other projects. Last year he launched a collection for Ikea, which was subject of a BBC documentary on the brand, and spoke alongside Ikea’s head of design at It’s Nice That’s event on the future of customisation in design.
Dixon follows Hussein Chalayan, Es Devlin, David Adjaye, Barber & Osgerby, the Bouroullec Brothers and Peter Saville in winning this prize.
LDF also awards three other medals alongside the London Design Medal. This year’s Design Innovation Medal was given to Daniel Charny, known best for curating the Power of Making show at the V&A. This led to him setting up learning programme Fixperts, now taught in universities and schools worldwide.
The Emerging Design Medal, which recognises an impact made on the design scene within five or so years of graduation, was awarded to Ross Atkin. His work focuses on two areas: helping disabled people to live more independently, and introducing design and engineering to children.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Medal winner was Vivienne Westwood.