Awards – who needs them?
The above is, obviously, rhetorical.
In the UK design industry – architecture, design, craft, manufacturing, fashion, art etc etc etc – we’re not short of talent. In fact, we’re fit to burst with talent. Our little island grows its own and attracts the best from around the world to keep us all on our toes. And in trendy outfits.
Yet there are really a very small number of awards to recognise the people that quietly slog away in offices, studios, factories all week, through their lunchbreaks, after hours and over the weekend creating designs that make the rest of the world sit up and look towards us for inspiration. Our designs are even copied, sorry – emulated, all around the world (imitation…flattery…isn’t that a thing?).
Last week one of the loudest champions of the jobbing designers in the architecture & interiors world, FX Magazine, hosted their annual awards in grand surrounds on Park Lane. Architects peeled their weary eyes away from plans and kicked off their steel toed boots, designers straightened out their backs and stood up from screens of mind-blowingly complicated technical drawings, engineers put their pens down and manufacturers downed tools to scrub up (down?) and put on their best for a night of being celebrated. And in all honesty some may have gone for a bit of rest.
The thing is our award ceremonies are SO important. Because after years of study, of trial and error, of ladder climbing, hard hat wearing, being late for/missing that dinner party or foregoing lie-ins for extra hours to hit a deadline how wonderful to have a room full of your contemporaries look to you and clap their hands together (possibly grudgingly) acknowledging that you did it best. Pretty gratifying, huh?
Not everyone can be a winner. “It’s the taking part that counts!” – this phrase in quotation marks for fear of being credited as saying something so sickly. But awards in our design community are so few and far between that to be nominated, shortlisted or just attend them is to be winning. Well bloody done. It’s not about needing awards. It’s about deserving them.