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London Design Medal Winner 2020 Paola Antonelli

The London Design Medal, is the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual who has distinguished themselves within the industry and demonstrated consistent design excellence.


This year’s winner, Paola Antonelli, is Senior Curator at The Museum of Modern Art in the Department of Architecture & Design, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. Antonelli’s goal at The Museum of Modern Art is to promote design’s public understanding until its positive influence on the world is universally acknowledged. Her work investigates design’s impact on everyday experience and possible futures, combining design, architecture, art, science, and technology.


Antonelli has curated numerous shows, lectured worldwide, and has served on several international architecture and design juries. She has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Harvard Graduate School of Design; and the MFA programs of the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her most recent exhibition, Neri Oxman: Material Ecology, opened at MoMA in February 2020. She is also currently working on an iteration of Broken Nature that will be on view at MoMA starting in the fallof 2020, and on @design.emergency, an Instagram and book project on the role of design in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in collaboration with critic Alice Rawsthorn. 


With a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan, Paola Antonelli has also earned Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Royal College of Art and Kingston University, London,the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, and Pratt Institutein New York. She earned the “Design Mind” Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award in 2006, and in 2007, was named one of the 25 most incisive design visionaries by Time magazine. In 2011, she was inducted in the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame and in 2015, received the AIGA Medal. 


Paola Antonelli says, “I realize that the right thing to say would be that I am humbled by this honour, but I’m not! I’m unabashedly proud to have received the London Design Medal and shamelessly boastful. Of all the capitals of design, London is the one that best understands our field‘s breadth, versatility, diversity, and its power to influence society in all aspects of life, everywhere, and at all levels of impact. Design is important, and it is an important moment for design. I thank the jury for recognizing me, as being an effective advocate for design and letting the world understand and embrace it, is my life’s work.”