Celebrating British Design attracted more than 173 delegates from across the design spectrum to hear contributions from global fashion icon Sir Paul Smith, Deyan Sudjic of the Design Museum, the RCA's Dr Paul Thompson, journalist Rosie Millard, Sue Timney and others. The Conference also saw the Institute present Honorary Fellowships to Sir Paul Smith, Zandra Rhodes, Dr Paul Thompson, photographer Andreas von Einsiedel and Graham Watts, OBE, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Council.
"This Conference has been a tremendous success," commented BIID Past President, Diana Yakeley. "All the speakers were informative and thought provoking. Their thoughts on the success of British design, past and present, and their views on the future challenges it faces were by turns, revealing, inspiring and singularly provocative. I would like to thank everyone involved. 'Celebrating British Design' proved to be an exceptional day for designers."
Glenn Adamson, Head of Research at the V&A, began the event with a talk entitled, "The British Interior: Views from the V&A." Glenn captivated the audience, discussing modern British design, in connection with recent landmark V&A exhibitions. Katy Lithgow, Head Conservator at the National Trust followed with a presentation which explored how the conservation of historic buildings and their interiors has enriched cultural influences on which modern designers can draw.
Then, Sir Paul Smith took part in a special "in conversation" session with acclaimed journalist, Rosie Millard, which looked back on his career as a British designer, and his inspirations. Sir Paul also shared his insights on fashion, its influence on interiors and the global view of British design.
A panel discussion, intelligently chaired by Paul Finch, OBE, then posed the question, "What makes British Design Worth Celebrating?" Offering their perspectives were Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art, Sue Timney, Designer and Vice President of the BIID, and Christine Losecaat, Creative Industries Adviser to UK Trade & Investment. The panel explored the reasons behind the UK's design reputation and examined the issues it faces in maintaining its status.
Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, closed the event with a presentation on "Design and its Futures." This looked at the role of British design and its standing in the international arena. Using the former Commonwealth Institute as an example, Deyan discussed how the iconic Grade 2 listed building will be reworked to accommodate the new Design Museum, due to open in 2014.
"The conference has been an exceptionally constructive, educational and entertaining event for the design sector," enthused Sue Timney, newly elected President of the BIID. "We are delighted that so many designers attended the Conference and the feedback has been universally positive. It gives us a great platform to build on for next year's event which we anticipate to be every bit as engaging and successful as this year's Conference."