Hot fifty Introduction

This year’s Hot 50 is surprisingly without themes. In the past we have seen art, politics or key issues such as sustainability driving the choices of people, organisations or phenomena that have had a big impact on design, but this year there is no strong slant. All are in there, but to equal degree.

Thus we see politicians like Prime Minister Gordon Brown reappearing, largely on the strength of his reconfiguring of Civil Service departments following the disbanding of the Department of Trade & Industry and the inspired appointments he made in putting design aficionados James Purnell and Margaret Hodge in key posts at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. All has changed since then, politics being what it is, and it is debatable whether he will appear in the 2009 listing. But his presence here is by way of encouragement and a timely reminder that design can make a difference to the economy, given the right environment.

On the sustainability front, we introduce Three Trees Don’t Make a Forest as a great example how design – or in this case designers – can help make a difference by sharing information and experiences. The website and blog raise issues and invite comment on environmental topics impacting on design.

And fine art? Well, this year it doesn’t feature as such, though the Beck’s Fusions enterprise makes the grade for blending digital art with music in a public performance format.

There are a handful of regulars in the charts – Audi Design Foundation, Sir George Cox, the Helen Hamlyn Centre and the Wellcome Trust, for example. All have been consistent in their support of design over time, notching their commitment up a rung year-on-year.

Some are there in honour of a lifetime’s contribution, notably the late Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, while others, such as the Murray family, are there for an inspired bit of commissioning, in their case Thomas Heatherwick’s East Beach Café in Littlehampton. Some, like Mike Dempsey and Anthony Simonds-Gooding, are design industry figures who’ve gone the extra mile for design, while others, like Mike Collier, deputy headteacher of Newcastle’s Walker College of Technology which featured prominently in the local Designs of the Time initiative, are ‘civilians’ – ordinary people who have espoused design.

Then there are phenomena like blogging, opening up opportunities for design, while challenging its traditional role.

There are inevitably omissions – we can only include 50 contenders from a more extensive trawl. There are those that are bubbling under, whose achievements over the coming year might earn them a place in the 2009 listing, and those who have fallen short of the promise they showed earlier.

I would like to thank all who nominated contenders and the members of the panel who selected them for their interest and support. We hope you enjoy the outcome.

Lynda Relph-Knight, Editor, Design Week

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  • Elizabeth A Lockwood November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I am very pleased to see that Land Securities are named in this year’s Hot 50. And whilst it is great to see that I was given the credit as the architect of the roster and indeed the scale and breadth of the design work commissioned, I have to say that on this occasion and on others there is the most important credit missing. Mike Hussey (Managing Director of LS London Portfolio) is the true hero of this piece both from day one and now. It was Mike who shared the vision and fought to enable it to become reality in a market and business that was steadfastly against design as a business-enabler. Without his insight, vision, leadership and quite frankly, sheer determination, Land Securities would never have been mentioned in Design Week in 2004, or now. He is the reason that LandSec continue to be nominated for design awards and continue to devote time and money to raising the bar with design. Please can I ask that before I or the incumbent Richard Glassborow or indeed Jan Casey, get lauded with praise, a credit is given to the person who truly deserves it: Mike Hussey, for at the moment, it is like you crediting Apple but never mentioning Steve Jobs.

  • karl aussia November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    We gratefully thank the team at Design Week for including onedotzero in this years top 50, alongside such distinguished and innovative design talent.

    The team here works extremely hard to promote innovation in moving image + other motion arts, delivering new opportunities for creators, helping them to push the boundaries of their often hybrid art forms.

    This type of recognition hugely encourages us all and goes a long way towards helping us to rally much needed support. We thank and salute you!

    media team at onedotzero

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