Andrew Grant, founder and director of Bath-based landscape architects Grant Associates, is to be recognised for his pioneering global work in sustainable and ecological landscape architecture by becoming a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI).
Grant is one of two British landscape designers honoured in this year’s RDI Awards, the other being Dan Pearson. They are only the second and third British landscape architects to receive the award since it was introduced in 1936. The first was Kim Wilkie in 2009.
Grant’s pioneering work in landscape architecture is extensively concerned with sustainability, incorporating fundamentals of ecological planting, biodiversity, water use and the sensitive and empirical needs of architects and environmental engineers.
Andrew has developed a global reputation for a range of extraordinarily innovative work which fuses elements of nature, technology and design, such as the acclaimed Gardens by the Bay attraction in Singapore which opened this year. Other notable projects he has worked on include Accordia in Cambridge, Wessex Water Operations Centre in Bath and Kuala Lumpur’s new international finance district, the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).
The distinction Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) was established by the RSA in 1936 to enhance the status of designers in industry and to encourage a high standard of industrial design. It is widely regarded as the highest accolade for designers in the UK, given to practising designers who have shown sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society.
Only 200 designers are able to hold the distinction RDI at any one time. There are now 140 RDIs and 61 Honorary RDIs. Other current holders of the Award include Terence Conran, Jonathan Ive, James Dyson, Vivienne Westwood and Thomas Heatherwick.
Alongside Grant, the other 11 recipients of The Royal Designer for Industry in 2012 include:
– Brian Eno for his ground-breaking use of sound in technology and media and long term sustainable thinking
– Mark Fisher for his influential contribution to production design and British popular culture, and his pioneering education work
– Mark Major for his innovative use of light to create positive public spaces.
– Charlie Paton for his invention of energy saving lighting for film, TV and theatre, and innovative energy reducing pilot projects around the world
– Dan Pearson for his leading work in therapeutic garden and landscape design and impact on public and private horticulture
– Sarah Wigglesworth for her pioneering approach to community collaboration and use of sustainable materials
The late Jonathan Speirs of the partnership Speirs and Major will receive the RDI posthumously. Regarded as the highest honour a designer can receive in the UK, Honorary RDI awards will also be given to:
– Bob Greenberg for his sustained innovation in digital design and for using his expertise to promote action on international aid and development
– Toshio Iwai for his pioneering work in creating progressive and non-aggressive video games and innovative interactive installations
– Tomas Roope for his innovative work in taking computer interactions beyond the desktop and into communities and shared spaces
– Peter Zumthor for his innovative and contemplative spaces using traditional methods and materials in a radical new way
Andrew Grant, director, Grant Associates, said:
“This is an amazing honour and one that I would never have anticipated. I hope the award helps to shine a light on the essential interface between ‘design’ and the natural environment. Landscape Architecture is nothing if it does not connect human imagination with the life force of nature. I look forward with great anticipation to working with the RSA and the other RDI’s in promoting an imaginative and ecologically enlightened future.”
Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, RSA
“The RSA has vigorously championed design excellence since its foundation when the design profession was in its infancy. We remain committed to encouraging and recognising outstanding designers who strive to make the world a better place. The work of these twelve fantastic practitioners has made a significant benefit to society and I’m delighted to welcome them into the faculty.”