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Design Museum Announces Inaugural Winner of Annual Prize to Celebrate Emerging Designers

January 19, 2022
Winning chair design by Mac Collins

Launched in November 2021, the Design Museum recently announced Mac Collins as the first recipient of its inaugural award, The Ralph Saltzman Prize. The new annual international prize aims to support emerging talent through a grant and display at the Design Museum.

Mac CollinsA designer and artist from Nottingham, UK, Collins is committed to designing and making narrative-rich pieces. Alongside his design practice, Collins lectures at both Nottingham Trent University and Northumbria University. The Design Museum will exhibit together three chairs that have helped evolve and develop Collins’ design practice: the Iklwa chair, Concur chair and Jupiter chair. To support these pieces are some of his smaller objects, as well as process material, drawings and models, and the tools used to create his designs.

Created by Ralph’s daughter, Lisa Saltzman, in collaboration with the Design Museum, the prize pays tribute to Ralph’s innovative approach to contemporary design practices, supporting the museum’s mission to champion new talent and nurture the development of a vibrant design sector. Ralph Saltzman founded Designtex, the hospitality industry go-to for textiles, and recently passed away.

Nominations were put forward by established designers, with a brief rationale on how the designer will make an impact on the profession. A review of the nominees’ skill, innovation and sustainable approaches also formed part of the criteria for the award. The judges were impressed by the breadth of all the nominees’ abilities and creativity, though commented that Collins’ “deeply personal design” made him a worthy winner of the prize.

The judges were impressed by the breadth of all the nominees’ abilities and creativity, but they said Collins’ “deeply personal design” made him a worthy winner of the prize.

Justin McGuirk, chair of judges for The Saltzman Prize, and chief curator at the Design Museum, said, “He is breaking away from paradigms and introducing clean decisions, and there is something quite strong in his processes as a designer.”

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Winner of the prize, Mac Collins said, “It is an honor to receive the inaugural Saltzman Prize at the Design Museum. The bursary provides a degree of financial, and thus creative, freedom to communicate a current narrative through a new collection of works. This accolade also provides a physical platform to present work within an institution that carries considerable weight. Though I presented work at the Design Museum for Discovered in September, I am yet to show a solo retrospective of this nature, an opportunity for which I am humbled and grateful – I extend my gratitude to Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of Industrial Facility for the Nomination, and to the Design Museum and Saltzman Family Foundation and for the running, and judging, of the award."

Collins was nominated by London-based studio Industrial Facility. Co-founded by designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin, Industrial Facility is a progressive studio in product, furniture and exhibition design. The duo work for a roster of pioneering clients, including Muji, Emeco, Epson and Wästberg. Their work is held in collections worldwide, including at the Cooper Hewitt, Centre Pompidou and the Design Museum.

Read next: Meet the Winners of the Inaugural Purpose Awards