Home Latest news Blog David Marks MBE, “a man who transformed skylines”

    David Marks MBE, “a man who transformed skylines”

    The board of Brighton i360 Ltd, which owns and operates British Airways i360, is deeply saddened to announce the death of its chairman and founder David Marks MBE FRSA RIBA, who passed away on October 6 2017 following a long illness. David spent his last days at home with his family: his partner in life and work, Julia Barfield, and their children Benjamin, Maya and Sarah. [Read a full statement from the family here].

    David was an architect whose work was founded in innovation, excellence of design and close collaboration with other disciplines, in particular with engineers. He believed that well-designed buildings and structures can improve the quality of people’s lives.

    He leaves a legacy of much-loved landmarks behind him, including the London Eye, British Airways i360 in Brighton and the Treetop Walkway at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew; all of which demonstrate his wish to elevate the mind as well as the spirit. David transformed skylines, and his vision will continue to offer inspiration and delight to future generations.

    David was born on 15 December 1952 in Stockholm, Sweden and grew up in Geneva in Switzerland. He moved to London in 1972 to attend the Architectural Association School, where he soon met Julia Barfield, a fellow student and close neighbour. The pair married in 1981.

    This was to be the defining creative relationship of his life – David and Julia collaborated throughout their studies and professional careers until in 1989 they formed Marks Barfield Architects, which would go on to become one of the most versatile and innovative architecture practices in the UK.

    David and Julia founded Brighton i360 Ltd in 2005 and are its majority shareholders. Together with a tight-knit group of trusted consultants and companies, many of whom worked with them at the London Eye, they secured the planning permission, partners, land and funding for British Airways i360, before finally building and then opening the attraction in August 2016.

    British Airways i360 has won nine awards to date for design and innovation, including a RIBA National Award.

    David was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in 2000 and was given a Special Commendation for Outstanding Achievement in Design for Business and Society by the Prince Philip Designers Prize in the same year. He was chairman of the Waterloo Project Board between 2002 and 2007: a £19 million regeneration programme that helped to bring about tangible improvements to everyday life for local residents, employees, and community organisations in London SE1. He was presented with a Civic Award by the Mayor of Lambeth in 2011.

    David’s role as chair of Brighton i360 Ltd will pass to Julia Barfield and the attraction will continue to operate under the remaining board of directors and the executive directorship of Steve Bax.

    David’s funeral will take place at a private ceremony, with details of a memorial to be announced in due course. 

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