Robin Levien is included in the Hot 50 for two reasons. We pay tribute to him as a worldclass product designer dealing with industrial ceramics; and we offer him encouragement in his new role as Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers, taken up in November.
His consultancy Studio Levien, set up with his wife designer Patricia Stainton in 1999, is renowned for tableware for clients such as Villeroy & Boch and Rosenthal Thomas, for which he designed the Trend range some 25 years ago while at Queensberry Hunt, but he is perhaps best-known as a bathroom designer. He and Dave Tilbury, a colleague of 20 years, claim to have designed 15 per cent of all British bathrooms, and Levien has yielded influence as non-executive design director of Ideal Standard in the UK since 2006.
His mastership of the RDIs comes at a time of flux for the faculty. Residing within the Royal Society of Arts, it has been fighting its corner as the RSA changes its emphasis in its approach to design following the appointment of Emily Campbell as director of design by chief executive Matthew Taylor. Issues such as the future of the RDI Summer School are central to the debate.