Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell has been awarded this year’s London Design Medal, while PhD student Joycelyn Longdon received the emerging designer title.
The four medals are awarded by the London Design Festival to established and emerging designers who have contributed to London and the design industry.
The London Design Medal is described as “the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual who has distinguished themselves within the industry and demonstrated consistent design excellence”.
This year’s winner is south London-born Powell, who has designed costumes for over 50 films and received Oscar and BAFTA awards for her work on films The Favourite and Shakespeare in Love, among others.
Winning the London Design Medal was “exciting,” Powell said.
“In film, it’s the people who have worked on the right project that year who get awarded,” Powell said.
“I’m very grateful and appreciate the fact that my work is recognised, but the London Design Medal is more exciting because it’s design across the board, not just me and other costume designers.”
Powell is the 16th recipient of the award, which has been given out annually since 2007. Previous winners include designer Ilse Crawford, who won last year, as well as designers Thomas Heatherwick and Es Devlin and architect David Adjaye.
This year’s Emerging Design Medal, which is awarded to work created within five years of the recipient graduating, was awarded to Cambridge University student Longdon.
Longdon is completing a PhD in the Artificial Intelligence For Environmental Risk (AI4ER) programme and is also the founder of online education platform Climate In Colour.
Her interdisciplinary research includes fieldwork carried out in Ghana, where Longdon is working with local people to install acoustic sensors with the aim of recording ambient forest noise and wildlife.
She plans to revisit the country next year and hopes to build an interactive tool that helps the communities she has worked with to engage with the ecological data taken from the sensors.
“I’m drawn to working on problems that are affecting those who live closest to nature but are going to be the most vulnerable to it,” said Longdon.
“If technology is going to play a bigger part in conservation, then I think people need to build that technology in equitable and respectful ways.”
Johar will take home the Design Innovation Medal, which “celebrates entrepreneurship in all its forms, both locally and internationally”.
More recently, the architect founded Dark Matter Labs, a “field laboratory” with a focus on the power structures at play within the built environment.
“We’re in a moment where most of the world around us is going to have to be reimagined,” said Johar.
“Design is an act of synthesis, so I think it will play a central role across the material, social and institutional, and how they interweave. I see the discipline growing.”
Photojournalist McCullin has won the Lifetime Achievement Medal, which “honours a significant and fundamental contribution to the design industry over the course of a career”.
Known especially for his war photography as well as his work documenting people in urban Britain, McCullin won the British Press Award in 1961 for his essay on the construction of the Berlin Wall and was the first photojournalist to be awarded a CBE in 1993.
“Everything you do with the camera is creative. It can be a lethal weapon, telling ugly truths, but it can also tell happy stories,” said McCullin.
“Whatever I was doing, I always made sure I did it peacefully. Instead of a rifle, I took the camera.”
The four creatives will receive their medals at an awards ceremony held at St Bartholemew’s Hospital in London on Thursday 22 September as part of the London Design Festival.
London Design Festival 2022 takes place from 17-25 September 2022. See our London Design Festival 2022 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.