The Phoenix Award committee presented its ‘Glass Person of the year’ award to structural engineer James O’Callaghan at a glittering event in London, UK.

Mr O’Callaghan is the 47th recipient of the award and was nominated for his use of glass in new and innovative ways as a load-bearing material.

His work with Apple has led to the construction of some of Apple’s most eye-catching retail stores, all made of glass.

Introducing Mr O’Callaghan to the stage, this year’s Phoenix chairman, Paul Hutchinson, of DSF Refractories in the UK, said: “I’ve had the privilege to meet James a couple of times leading up to this event and he’s got a clear passion and an understanding of glass not only as a structural material but also an understanding of its production and the current limitations of its manufacture.

"The first time I met James what I particularly liked is that we talked about the float glass process for probably an hour and we even talked about tin bath block.

“I part own a refractory company and I rarely talk about refractories for more than an hour so I was impressed. I thought here is a guy that has got a real interest and attention to detail!”

Mr O’Callaghan attended the event with his wife, parents and a number of former colleagues from the UK and the USA, including from companies such as Google and Apple.

During his acceptance speech he said: “I have had the great fortune to work with many creative, pragmatic and inspiring people, many of whom are here tonight and for which I’m deeply thankful.

He added: “The only way we can innovate is to do so as a team. It requires all those that design and support to make it happen. Apple has been a supportive client in this regard and has had a direct influence in the way glass is manufactured and produced. It has worked hard to make glass the core of our development.”

*An interview with Mr O’Callaghan appeared in the September 2017 issue. A review of the Phoenix banquet will appear in a forthcoming issue of Glass International.

Pictured: James O’Callaghan (right) receives the award from Phoenix Chairman, Paul Hutchinson.