Henning Larsen wins Praemium Imperiale arts award

Henning Larsen, a Danish architect with several projects in the Middle East, was awarded one of the world’s most prestigious global arts awards, the Praemium Imperiale 2012.

Often referred to as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the arts, the Praemium Imperiale has been awarded to a number of the most distinguished and influential artists of the late 20th and early 21st century.

The prize was founded by Japan’s oldest cultural organisation, the Japan Art Association, and is presented by the Japanese Imperial Family at a gala ceremony in late October.

The names of the Laureates were announced on 13 September in connection with an international press conference at the Japanese Embassy in Berlin.

Henning Larsen is the first Danish artist to receive the Praemium Imperiale, which was first awarded in 1989. Today, the prize remains one of the most prestigious global recognitions in the arts. The prize recognises outstanding achievements in five categories representing the major arts – Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film.

Extract from the Prize Committee’s citation in awarding the 2012 award in architecture to Henning Larsen: ”Light seems to fall from the ceiling and windows, reflecting off the floors and walls, filling the space sublimely; these minutely calculated lighting effects are one of the greatest characteristics of Henning Larsen’s architecture. “

In 2011, the Praemium Imperiale was awarded to the Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Previous Laureates in architecture include Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas, Norman Foster, Peter Zumthor, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

In the remaining categories, the 2012 Praemium Imperiale is presented to the Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, the Italian sculptor Cecco Bonanotte, the American composer Philip Glass and the Japanese ballet dancer Yoko Morishita.

Henning Larsen Architects is working on a number of projects in Saudi Arabia, including the King Abdullah Financial District and the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Riyadh.