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Garden Bridge designer named ‘Champion for London’

One of London’s most acclaimed designers, Thomas Heatherwick, has been named ‘Champion for London’ for his plans to create a garden bridge over the Thames.

The designer, who also created the Olympic cauldron and the new Routemaster buses, was praised for once again focusing the eyes of the world on the Capital at the annual London Awards, hosted by business group London First.

Heatherwick’s ‘floating paradise garden’, inspired by Joanna Lumley, has attracted widespread praise, as well as millions of pounds in funding.

Chancellor George Osborne hailed it as a project that would attract visitors from across the globe and showcase the best in British design, creativity and engineering.

Others honoured at the event in the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral included developer Argent.

The organisation won the Improvement to Londoners’ Quality of Life accolade for its transformation of King’s Cross St Pancras from a dilapidated district into a new city quarter.

Film director Danny Boyle took home the award Contribution to London’s Cultural Excellence – voted for by readers of Time Out – for curating Shuffle, a friendly and fun film festival that took over an old psychiatric asylum in Bow.

Thomas Heatherwick said:

“Tonight is thrilling for me because I was born in London. I care about London enormously.

“My passion and my studio’s energy is particularly directed this year at trying to make one particular project happen [the Garden Bridge] that will make a difference to London.

“It’s exciting to win but the title is embarrassingly grand and I don’t know if I can swan around saying that!”

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:

“The London Awards are a great way to recognise and celebrate the people and organisations that make London a great place to live, work and play.

“The vision and creativity we see from both the winners and those that made the shortlist helps keep the eyes of the world focused on the capital.

“They are a constant reminder of London’s dynamism and why it continues to attract the brightest and the best.

The complete list of winners:

Champion for London – sponsored by Thames Tideway Tunnel

• Winner – Thomas Heatherwick, for the garden bridge concept, spanning the Thames between Blackfriars and Waterloo and helping make London one of the greenest cities in the world.

Improvement to Londoners’ Quality of Life – sponsored by UK Power Networks

• Winner – Argent for the King’s Cross St Pancras development, transforming a dilapidated district into a new city quarter.

Investment in London’s Future – sponsored by Grosvenor

• Winner – The International Quarter, Stratford,  for the joint venture between Lend Lease and London and Continental Railways that is transforming the Olympic Park to create a vibrant and dynamic commercial hub.

Contribution to London’s Cultural Excellence – sponsored by Radisson Blu Edwardian, London, as voted by readers of Time Out

• Winner – Danny Boyle, for curating Shuffle, a friendly and fun film festival that took over an old psychiatric asylum in Bow. It was staffed by volunteers and helped keep the Olympic spirit alive in east London.

London First Chairman’s Award:

• Winner – Sir George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group, for his special contribution to making London the best city in the world to do business. Amongst many other projects, he has overseen the regeneration of the Docklands and led the development of the nearby Wood Wharf residential area.

EDITORS NOTES:

The awards and nomination shortlist were as follows:

Champion for London sponsored by Thames Tideway Tunnel

• Professor Dinos Arcoumanis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of City University London
Reason: For devising, launching and promoting the World Cities World Class Universities Network (WC2).
• Thomas Heatherwick, designer
Reason: For the garden bridge
• Sir George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group
Reason: For fronting major developments in London this year, including building the Walkie-Talkie for Land Securities and developing the Shell Centre on the South Bank for the oil giant.

Improvement to Londoners’ Quality of Life – sponsored by UK Power Networks

• King’s Cross St Pancras development
Reason: For the transformation of a dilapidated district into a new city quarter.
• Thames 21
Reason: Thames 21 and their members work tirelessly across London to help make the River Thames, and as a result the city, a better place for Londoners.
• WIFI on Tube
Reason: For enhancing communication networks for Londoners.

Investment in London’s Future – sponsored by Grosvenor

• Francis Crick Institute
Reason: For not only creating 600+ jobs but also taking London to a new level in terms of medical research excellence.
• Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Liew Kee Sin, Chairman of the Shareholders’ Consortium, Battersea Power Station
Reason: For leading Malaysia’s most significant venture into London real estate at Battersea Power Station
• The International Quarter, Stratford
Reason: For the transformation of the Olympic Park.

Contribution to London’s Cultural Excellence – sponsored by Radisson Blu Edwardian, London, as voted by readers of Time Out

• National Theatre
Reason: The NT has made an enormous contribution to the cultural economy of London and the profile of British theatre worldwide. Its 50th anniversary celebrations this autumn topped off a golden decade.
• Victoria & Albert museum
Reason: This year, the V&A has set the cultural agenda with huge ground breaking exhibitions such as ‘David Bowie Is’ and imaginative collaborations such as Elmgreen and Dragset’s ‘Tomorrow’. It has also announced significant extension plans.
• Danny Boyle
Reason: For curating Shuffle