Dezeen Magazine

Es Devlin awarded CBE in Queen's New Year honours

Designer Es Devlin has been recognised for services to design in the 2022 New Year Honours list, which also gave awards to AKT II co-founder Hanif Kara and architects Selasi Awo Setufe and Andrew David Whalley, chairman of Grimshaw Architects.

Devlin was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Years Honours list, which "mark the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK." The award is the highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award.

Forest for Change by Es Devlin
Es Devlin's Forest for Change installation is a tree-filled courtyard. Photography is by Ed Reeve

The artist and stage designer is known for her installations, which have recently included a labyrinth installation unveiled during Miami art week to celebrate 100 years of Chanel No. 5.

She often works with nature and created an indoor forest, Conference of the Trees, as a venue for the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. Last year, Devlin filled the courtyard of London Design Biennale venue Somerset House with trees for her Forest for Change installation. She was also the biennale's artistic director.

Dubai Expo UK pavilion
Devlin designed the cone-shaped UK Pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020. Photography is by Ry Galloway and Alin Constantin, courtesy of Es Devlin

The designer also created the UK pavilion for the Dubai Expo 2020. Her cone-shaped cross-laminated timber pavilion was designed to represent "culturally diverse Britain" and features a circular facade made from protruding timber slabs.

An AI creates poems based on words submitted by visitors, which are written in LED lights on the pavilion's facade.

In 2015, Devlin was given an Office of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), the second-highest ranking of the biannual awards. She was awarded the London Design Medal in 2017.

Hanif Kara is co-founder of civil engineering firm AKT II

Also awarded on the New Years Honours list was structural engineer Kara, the co-founder of structural and civil engineering firm AKT II. Kara, who was one of the judges for the Dezeen Awards 2021, was given an OBE for services to architecture, engineering and education.

Setufe, the co-founder of Black Females in Architecture, a network elevating the visibility of Black females in the architecture industry, was awarded a Member of the Orders of the British Empire (MBE) for services to diversity in architecture.

Whalley, who has been the chairman of Grimshaw Architects since 2019, was given an OBE for services to architecture and to environmental sustainability. Like Devlin, Grimshaw contributed to the Dubai Expo 2020, with the studio creating the Sustainability Pavilion, topped with a giant "energy tree", for the expo.

The New Year Honours are awarded by Queen Elizabeth II every December as part of the British honours system, which also includes the Birthday Honours given out on the regent's birthday.

In last year's New Year Honour list, architect David Chipperfield was named one of only 65 members of the elite Order of the Companions of Honour, while designers Yinka Ilori and Ilse Crawford were rewarded for their services to the design industry.