Last night I was lucky enough to attend the award ceremony for the 2009 Prince Philip Designers Prize in Buckingham Palace. In addition to taking place at The Palace, it was really well organised by the Design Council and attended by the great and the good of the design world to celebrate 50 years of the Prince Philip Designers Prize.
Special commendations were given to Jeff Banks and Michael Peters but I was really pleased when the award for 2009 was given to Andrew Ritchie, the man behind the Brompton folding bicycle. I’ve had a Brompton for about 11 years and love its simplicity and functionality – apart from pumping up the tyres and giving it the odd drop of oil it just keeps going. Children in the rougher parts of town do make the odd funny comment when you whiz past them but you soon get your own back when it folds into a tiny package to fit behind the seat of the train or into the boot of a car.
Also interesting during the presentations was hearing about the origins of the Award. Launched in 1959 the original drive was to encourage manufacturers to make use of design to develop affordable and desirable products that could compete on the World stage – we’ve come a long way since then but it does still sound rather familiar.