Winning was "immensely rewarding and almost surreal" says past Designers of the Year winner

Dezeen Awards Designers of the Year winners' testimonial

With just one day to put forward a nomination for the Designers of the Year awards at Dezeen Awards 2024, last year’s winners explain how winning boosted their visibility and underscored designers’ responsibility to society.

Architecture firm White Arkitekter said winning a Dezeen Award “definitely increased exposure internationally”, while Parisian interior design studio Uchronia said it was “a great honour, acknowledgement and motivation to keep going”.

“My approach to architecture has often been described as unconventional, and so it means the world to be recognised on a platform such as Dezeen for making an impact in the industry,” said architect Sumayya Vally, who won emerging architect of the year.

“To be recognised for work I felt was missing from my own experience of canon has been immensely rewarding and almost surreal,” she added.

Designer Audrey Large agreed with Counterspace founder Vally, saying winning felt like “the design world embraced my voice”.

Nomination closes on Wednesday 1 May

The Designers of the Year awards recognise those whose innovative work has made a notable impact on the industry in their field.

Public nomination is new for this year, and we are asking readers to put forward designers for consideration, which will then be shortlisted by Dezeen’s editorial team.

The nomination closes tomorrow Wednesday 1 May at 23:59 London time. You can submit nominations using this form.

Read on to see what last year’s Designers of the Year winners had to say:

Dezeen Awards Designers of the Year winners' testimonial
Pearson Lloyd’s trophy for 2023 designer of the year is featured on a shelf in the design studio

London-based Pearson Lloyd, which took home the designer of the year award, believes we must leverage our influence and question existing norms.

“Design can and should be playing a central role in reforming our consumer culture in the service of society and the planet,” Pearson Lloyd told Dezeen. “Celebrating the best of design should always have this in mind.”

“Over the last five years, we have re-formed how we work to bring planetary health to the top of our design process,” added the studio. “This has led to the development of new skills needed to inform our process and respond to the changing nature of the design brief.”

“Design has a unique position in that it interacts with so many different parts of the economic system, giving us a great responsibility to make decisions with the understanding of the scale of their impact across this spectrum – this is both incredibly motivating and daunting.”

Dezeen Awards Designers of the Year winners' testimonial
Designer Audrey Large’s trophy for emerging designer of the year lives on her bookshelf at home

Large, winner of emerging designer of the year, says her practice “doesn’t always fit into a strict design category, which sometimes makes it unclassifiable”.

“As a young designer, it’s so valuable to hear that what you do not only resonates with the public but also is recognised by professional peers,” she told Dezeen. “It has given me a lot of strength and confidence to continue working with the best possible energy.”

Founder of studio Counterspace Vally agreed, saying recognition on platforms such as Dezeen addresses visibility gaps in the architecture industry.

“In my practice, I have found that tradition and innovation can beautifully feed into each other, affirming a conviction I have had since my days as an architecture student,” Vally told Dezeen.

“I’m incredibly honoured, but it’s important to acknowledge that when we have more visibility, it gives others the confidence to participate and engage, which is where the real value of accolades lies.”

Dezeen Awards Designers of the Year winners' testimonial
Uchronia’s trophy is pictured in a vibrant playful space designed by the studio

Vally said we need to see more designers who “demonstrate an imagination from their contexts that has the power to counter the asymmetries and inequities we have”.

“While we are now admittedly in a period of history that is marred by destruction and misinformation, a total disregard for life, creativity is the most necessary tool for imagining new worlds,” she said.

Creative collective Uchronia founder Julian Sebban won emerging interior designer of the year, and considers this year’s Designers of the Year should display “ambition, humour and a need to challenge the status quo”.

“We aspire to try and better the world around us, in our way,” said architect Sebban. “We are passionate about supporting local crafts and savoir-fare and look forward to expanding our already close group of craftsmen collaborators.”

Dezeen Awards Designers of the Year winners' testimonial
The White Arkitekter team celebrating their victory with their trophy alongside wine and cheese

Swedish studio White Arkitekter won architect of the year last year and told Dezeen its mission as a practice is to “enable sustainable life through the art of architecture”.

“We are an employee-owned design and architecture collective,” CEO Alexandra Hagen explained. “Awards are often given to individuals or projects, but rarely to the practice as a whole – it meant a lot for all of us to receive this recognition as a team.”

“We have set the goal to reach carbon neutrality in all our projects from 2030,” said Hagen. “We started our in-house department for sustainability during the 1990s and have been pioneers in the field of sustainable architecture for a long time.”

“One of the projects we are working on is a boardwalk and public park in Bergen, built using excess masses from a nearby infrastructure project. The park spans from land to underwater, we use plants to restore biodiversity on land and water quality in the bay.”

Dezeen Awards 2024 in partnership with Bentley

Dezeen Awards is the ultimate accolade for architects and designers across the globe. The seventh edition of the annual awards programme is in partnership with Bentley as part of a wider collaboration to inspire, support and champion design excellence and showcase innovation that creates a better and more sustainable world. This ambition complements Bentley’s architecture and design business initiatives, including the Bentley Home range of furnishings and real estate projects around the world.

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