The British Institute of Interior Design’s (BIID) annual conference, ‘Design Invention: Art and Science Collide’ which took place at RIBA HQ, London last week, attracted more than 220 designers with a series of inspirational talks and discussions, which included an enthralling face to face interview with the iconic designer, and BIID Honorary Fellow, Thomas Heatherwick, CBE.

This year’s conference explored the synergy between art and science and the audience heard how new technology and materials are playing an increasingly important role in the work of interior designers today. This prestigious one-day event featured a world-class line-up of speakers and panellists, including a presentation from ground-breaking installation expert, Jason Bruges who spoke about creativity in the age of technology and globally renowned interiors expert Ab Rogers who offered a unique perspective on how technology is changing interior design practice. Other presenters were the academic Penny Sparke on the history of science on modern design and Arup’s Josef Hargrave on the future of buildings and interior design. Meantime, a panel including Daniel Charny, Deyan Sudjic, Sue Timney and Aidan Walker discussed the role of craft in the age of technology.

The conference also featured the presentation of this year’s BIID Honorary Fellowships which saw Sir James Dyson, Angela Brady, Deyan Sudjic alongside Thomas Heatherwick recognised for their exceptional contributions to the industry, through their remarkable achievements.

“Our industry is constantly evolving,” said Sue Timney, BIID President. “As designers, we are influenced and inspired by a range of disciplines. This year’s conference explored fresh thinking in approaches, techniques and materials together with how they are impacting on the changing creative landscape of interior design. We were especially delighted to hear Thomas Heatherwick talk through his design philosophy. I would like to thank everyone involved, including our fantastic range of speakers and panellists, and our event sponsors, Roca, Heal’s and Crestron. “Design Invention: Art and Science Collide” proved to be an exceptional day for designers.”

After the AGM which followed the conference, the BIID announced the winner of its annual Merit award which this year was presented to Iris Dunbar, Director of the International Design School. Iris received the award for her outstanding contribution to the interior design sector and huge support towards the BIID. Sue Timney commented “Iris is a fantastic supporter of our organisation, both in the UK and on the international stage. She has also served the Institute as a very successful President and is currently an Executive Board Member with the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers. This award is in recognition of her tremendous contribution to the profession and I am honoured to present her with this award.”

Katy Graham, Director of London-based practice, interiorbeing, received the BIID CPD Award.

More information about the conference and the BIID is available at

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