Stephen Bayley Hon FRIBA, Chairman of The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, is the person for whom the term “design guru” was coined. This he accepted with self-deprecating irony. He was plucked by Terence Conran from the tedium of provincial academe to create The Boilerhouse Project in the V&A, an exhibition space devoted to design which became London’s most successful gallery of the eighties. Then, the two of them created London’s influential Design Museum. He was – briefly and hilariously – Creative Director of The Millennium Dome before a spectacular falling-out with the Government which he wrote about in his book Labour Camp (1998).
Over the past forty years his writing has changed the popular perception of “design”. His many books include Sex, Drink and Fast Cars (1986), Taste (1991), Design: intelligence made visible (2007), Cars (2008), Ugly: the aesthetics of everything (2012) and Value – what money can’t buy (2021). He has been art critic of The Listener, architecture critic of The Observer and design critic of The Spectator, as well as a columnist on The Independent and The Times. He is a Honorary Visiting Professor at Liverpool University School of Architecture.