The London Design Medals have been announced and the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Medal this year was Architect Eva Jiřičná.
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The Lifetime Achievement Medal supported by Fortnum & Mason honours an individual who has made significant and fundamental contributions to the design industry over their career.
Eva Jiřičná is a Czech-born architect based in London since 1968 – this year celebrating 50 years in the UK. Jiřičná is best known for her innovative use of industrial materials in retail and commercial spaces.
A Royal Academician, CBE and royal designer for industry, she began her career at the Greater London Council, before moving on to the Louis de Soissons Partnership and Richard Rogers Partnership, where she was responsible for the interior design of the Lloyds of London building. Jiřičná continued to gain recognition in the mid-eighties. She met fashion designer and entrepreneur Joseph Ettedgui, designing several of his Joseph retail shops in London, and eventually his own Knightsbridge flat. By 1985 she had formed Jiřičná Kerr Associates with Kathy Kerr, a practice which is still operating, now under the name of Eva Jiřičná Architects.
Jiřičná creatively fused her engineering and architecture background with interior design. By utilizing lighting effects and material characteristics, she maximized space in an intriguing manner. The understanding of architecture is perhaps responsible for this, Jiřičná was able to transform the sometimes-unmanageable spaces of London’s old buildings into usable areas. While she gained recognition with architectural projects, her store design commissions were large contributions to her profession. She demonstrated how retail design could be treated with architectural concepts, strengthening the image of interior design.
Talking about her career, Jiřičná said: “I am not specifically proud of anything in my career – I am just immensely grateful to everybody who has worked with me, who has entrusted me with a job. Everything in architecture involves teamwork and I have worked with so many magnificent people.”
Five years ago, Jiřičná also scooped the Jane Drew Prize for her outstanding contribution to the status of women in architecture.
Past winners of the Lifetime Achievement Medal include:
2017: Margaret Calvert
2016: Kenneth Grange
2015: Ken Adam
2014: Richard Rogers
2013: Dieter Rams
2012: Terence Conran
2011: Vidal Sassoon
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