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ICONIC AWARDS 2018: Innovative Architecture

Architects' Client of the Year – Prada

FW2018 Prada Men’s and Women’s Show – Prada Warehouse (Photo: Prada)

Prada was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada, Miuccia Prada’s grandfather, in Milan. Located in the prestigious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Prada was an exclusive, stylish store selling luggage, accessories and luxury goods, in fine materials and of sophisticated workmanship. The Milan store quickly became a firm favourite with the aristocracy and the most sophisticated members of the European elite. In 1919 Prada received the warrant of »Official Supplier of the Italian Royal Household«, and since then has been entitled to display the royal Savoy coat of arms and figure-of-eight knots alongside the company logo. Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli started working together in the late 70’s, laying the foundations of the international expansion that was to come. Since 1913, Prada is synonymous of an unmistakable style which has always anticipated, and often oriented, new trends in all fields. Its conceptual aesthetic, combining a cutting-edge approach with a strong craftsmanship tradition, perfectly interprets a timeless elegance that is the result of experimentation and constant research. Prada is part of the Prada Group, a leading player in the luxury industry, which also includes Miu Miu, Church’s, Car Shoe and Marchesi 1824.

FW2017 Prada Men’s and Women’s Show - Continuous Interior (Photo: Prada)

Statement of the jury

Prada has for years now adopted an experimental approach to art, in its capacity as a patron of the arts, and has also boldly and methodically engaged with architecture as a discipline. This approach is embodied by the exceptional designs of the company’s flagship stores, as well as its magnificent fashion show settings, giving rise to an extraordinarily distinctive quality. But it’s only possible to exceed the bounds of the everyday if the client gives their architect free rein – which in turn requires total mutual trust between the parties. This kind of profound trust in turn results from a deep understanding of and a close connection to art and architecture – something Prada has achieved for many years now thanks to personalities such as Miuccia Prada. This consistent patronage of outstanding architecture and art greatly impressed us, prompting us to award Prada the »Architects’ Client of the Year 2018« award.

Architects of the Year – Asif Khan Ltd.

UK Pavilion at the Astana Expo 2017 »Future Energy« in Kazakhstan 2017 (Photo: Luke-Hayes)

The architect and industrial designer Asif Khan, born in 1979, whose roots are in Pakistan and Tanzania, displayed interest very early in life in art and science – and realised that becoming an architect and designer would enable him to optimally combine these two fields. He completed his degree at the Bartlett School University College London (UCL) in 2004. Immediately after graduating in 2007 with a degree in architecture from the Architectural Association, Mr Khan founded his own design studio under the name Asif Khan Ltd. But while at university, he had already created quite a stir with his first project,»West Beach Cafe«. The distinctive style of this young architect and designer was already in evidence in the design of »West Beach Cafe« – a style that he has continued to employ in his designs since then and which are notable for their unconventional, ground-breaking approaches that translate into amazing and arresting creations. His most recent projects include the Hyundai Pavilion in Pyeongchang (2018) and the UK’s »Future Energy« Pavilion at Astana Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan.

Hyundai Pavilion in Pyeongchang, 2018 (Photo: Luke-Hayes)

Statement of the jury

Although Asif Khan’s »official« title is architect and designer, these monikers don’t come close to characterising the interdisciplinary and holistically thinking creator of such magnificent projects as the recent Hyundai Pavilion in Pyeongchang (2018) or the intriguing MegaFaces Pavilion in Sochi (2014). Perhaps Mr Khan is simply best described as an artist, given that his projects resemble complex installations in which he combines, with exceptional virtuosity, architecture, interior design, industrial and furniture design, and light and space into something completely new and unseen. But in bringing his projects to fruition, Mr Khan never loses sight of the social dimension, without which his work would be unthinkable. Many people feel that Mr Khan is currently one of the world’s most influential architects, and thus the architectural community waits with bated breath to see what he will come up with next.

Interior Designers of the Year – WGNB

Living design fair 6X6 OPEN HOUSE, Seoul, South Korea (Photo: Yongjun Choi)

WGNB, which is based in Seoul, South Korea, is an international architecture and design firm headed by Sungchil Park (architecture and design) and Jonghwan Baek (interior design). The firm’s work centres around architecture, graphics, branding, display and interior design, realms in which the company has won many international prizes. Founded in 1992 as wallga associates, in 2015 the firm was renamed WGNB (wallga & brothers). The most recent projects of theirs that have created quite a stir in the international design community include Untitledot, Seoul, XYZ Formula Flagship Store, Seoul, Living design fair 6X6 OPEN HOUSE, Seoul, and SUMMIT GALLERY_VOID/ 2F, Seoul.

Untitle dot, Seoul, South Korea (Photo: Yongjun Choi)

Statement of the jury

The outstanding creation from the WGNB studio, which is operated by Sungchil Park and Jonghwan Baek, is highly impressive indeed, embodied as it is by an exceptionally high-quality design and methodically planned and interdisciplinary staging of visionary spaces of immense power and timeless elegance. A tremendous achievement, whose clear design aesthetic and magnificent minimalism embody a characteristic and distinctive style that has inspired designers the world over.