The designer of the iconic Brompton folding bicycle, Andrew Ritchie, has been named the winner of the 2009 Prince Philip Designers Prize, awarded annually to recognize a lifetime contribution to design.
The announcement was made by the Duke of Edinburgh at a reception celebrating 50 years of British design genius this evening, at Buckingham Palace.
Ritchie’s ingenious folding design has won him a loyal following, with owners pointing to the Brompton’s lightness, portability, smoothness of ride, and the sense of freedom it bestows. An engineer by profession, Ritchie has spent 21 years perfecting the Brompton, which is manufactured in the UK and sells throughout the world.
The nominees for this year's prize included design provocateur Peter Saville, husband and wife graphic design team Jay Smith and Howard Milton -- plus architect David Adjaye, fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, entrepreneur and designer Wayne Hemingway, architect Eric Parry.
Two Special Commendations were also awarded by the judges: to graphic designer Michael Peters OBE, who in a 40-year career has played a substantial role in design being seen as vital to business success, and to fashion designer Jeff Banks.
The Prince Philip Designers Prize has been in existence since the early days of the Design Council. It was created by HRH as a response to post-war austerity, and early winners, such as the Prestcold Packaway refrigerator by Charles Longman (1959) stood out from the largely functional designs of the era. These days the emphasis of the Prize is on the outstanding contributions of designers themselves to design among businesses and the public.
Previous winners of the Prize include Pentagram founder Kenneth Grange, Thomas Heatherwick, the architect Norman Foster; Habitat founder Terence Conran; and inventor James Dyson.
More on the prize can be found at www.designcouncil.org.uk/ppdp.