From 1959-2011 the Prince Philip Designers Prize celebrated how designers improve daily life by solving problems and turning great ideas into commercial reality.

Winners have made their mark with everything from household products and compelling graphics to buildings and great feats of engineering.

Having headed up the judging panel and presented the prize since its inception in 1959, in 2011 The Duke of Edinburgh stepped down from the prize as he reduced his royal responsibilities in his 90th year.

Timeline of winning designs

The history of the prize

The prize was created in 1959 by Prince Philip in response to post-war austerity. Initially known as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize for Elegant Design, the award recognised products that stood out from the largely functional designs of the late 1950s. Its aim was to stimulate and reward elegant solutions to design problems.

Since then, the Prince Philip Designers Prize has rewarded the best in design from products and graphics to buildings and feats of engineering, and put the spotlight on designers for influencing and shaping daily life. The first winner was Charles Longman, for the ingeniously minimalist Prestcold Packaway refrigerator, designed to fit into cramped kitchens.

From 1990 the emphasis of the prize shifted to recognise the enduring contributions of designers themselves, honouring some of the leading names of British design including James Dyson (1997), Kenneth Grange (2001), Terence Conran (2003), Norman Foster (2004) and Thomas Heatherwick (2006).

Prince Philip with designer Sam Hecht

The judging panel, chaired by The Duke of Edinburgh himself,  chose a winner based on the quality, originality and commercial success of their work, and the designer’s overall contribution to the standing of design, and to design education.

Designer Adrian Westaway explores the prize-winning designs

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