Jane Priestman Obituary – DesignCurial


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Jane Priestman OBE was a rare affect on the design and structure professions all through her life. Following her demise in January of this 12 months, we replicate on her life and lasting affect


Jane Priestman OBE was a British designer best-known for her work with structure and design for British transport. She took on a sequence of unprecedented roles in design administration, first as basic supervisor in structure and design for the British Airport Authority from 1975 to 1986, then as director of structure, design and setting for British Rail. Priestman acted boldly in these roles, asserting the significance of design for every part from furnishings to branding, together with sourcing the expertise for main tasks: Nicholas Grimshaw for the Worldwide Terminal, Waterloo Station; Norman Foster for Stansted Airport; designers Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert for the signage throughout the foremost UK airports.

Priestman initially educated in textile design on the Liverpool School of Artwork, however grew to become all in favour of structure and inside design. She ran her personal profitable inside design apply for nearly 20 years earlier than shifting on to the primary of her transport-related roles. Her later profession included 18 years as chair of Open Metropolis, the organisation behind Open Home till 2010, whereas in 2001 she grew to become an Enabler for the Fee for Structure and the Constructed Surroundings (CABE).

Norman Foster’s design for Stansted

Norman Foster’s design for Stansted. Picture Credit score: FOSTER + PARTNERS

Priestman has obtained quite a few awards in recognition of her work: in 1985, she grew to become an honorary member of RIBA; in 1991, she was awarded an OBE for her work in design; in 1998, an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam College; and extra just lately in 2015, Priestman received the inaugural Ada Louise Huxtable prize. FX just lately awarded Priestman the Lifetime Contribution to Design award on the FX Awards 2020, in recognition of her appreciable affect on design.

Priestman is recognised as having had a transformative affect all through her profession, each in her work for transport, and by opening doorways for ladies within the professions of design and structure by the instance of her authority and achievements.

The airport’s arrivals area

The airport’s arrivals space. Picture Credit score: DENNIS GILBERT

Even in recent times, she displayed her unfailing ambitions for design, saying in a 2018 interview with the UK Design Council, ‘I lengthy to pay money for the hospitals’. Whereas in an interview for the Architects’ Journal in 2015, she mentioned the dwindling energy of organisations reminiscent of CABE, and the dearth of design administration in main tasks reminiscent of Crossrail and HS2, memorably stating of the latter, ‘I might do it with my eyes shut.’

Jane Priestman died on the 25 January 2021, aged 90. She is survived by her sons Matthew and Paul, and her grandsons Sam, Jack and Miles.’


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