The designer of the iconic Brompton folding bicycle, Andrew Ritchie, has been named the winner of the 2009 Prince Philip Designers Prize, awarded annually to recognize a lifetime contribution to design.
The announcement was made by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at a reception celebrating 50 years of British design genius this evening, Thursday 15th October, at Buckingham Palace.
Ritchie's ingenious folding design has won him a loyal following, with owners pointing to the Brompton's lightness, portability, smoothness of ride, and the sense of freedom it bestows. An engineer by profession, Ritchie has spent 21 years perfecting the Brompton, which is manufactured in the UK and sells throughout the world.
"In this special year we celebrate 50 years of innovation, the design evangelism of The Duke of Edinburgh and the value of the designer in our society," commented David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council. "In the current economic environment it is timely to remind ourselves that the UK has such great creative capabilities."
This year's nominees are internationally renowned in their field for shaping the world around us and for defining design today and for future generations. They cover a wide range of disciplines - from architecture to industrial, graphic and fashion design - and between them provide a snapshot of the creative and commercial strengths of the UK design industry. The nominees included architect David Adjaye, fashion designer Hussein Chalayan MBE, entrepreneur and designer Wayne Hemingway, architect Eric Parry, graphic designer Peter Saville and husband and wife graphic design team Jay Smith and Howard Milton.
Two Special Commendations were also awarded by the judges: to Jeff Banks CBE, who has for decades combined fashion design with outstanding skills as a communicator and a businessman; and to graphic designer Michael Peters OBE, who in a 40-year career has played a substantial role in design being seen as vital to business success.
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 early winners, such as the Prestcold Packaway refrigerator by Charles Longman (1959) stood out from the largely functional designs of the era. These days the emphasis of the Prize is on the outstanding contributions of designers themselves to design among businesses and the public.
In its half century, the prestigious award has rewarded the best in 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 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).