A new trophy for Create Awards, by Henry Wilson

Published:  April 14, 2014
Bonnie Abbott

Along with many other changes to Create Awards this year was the design and production of the new Create trophy. With a focus on celebrating the design work that occupies the valuable space between corporate requirement and social responsibility, and rewarding work that engages, activates and moves us, we knew that when we needed a new trophy to reflect that, and the studio of Henry Wilson was the top of the list.

Established in 2010, a relatively young business, Wilson has already made a significant impact on the product, interiors and industrial design industry, and won loyal fans in their markets. He is open and innately multidisciplinary in his approach and output, having made lifestyle products as well as experimental interventions into obsolescence and manufacturing processes, his studio practice is anchored by strong principles of design and manufacture, with the integrity of the material a crucial focus in Wilson’s “honesty”.

Henry Wilson’s aluminium ‘vide-poche’

Henry Wilson’s gunmetal bronze ‘vide-poche’

“I believe there is an intuitive connection to objects and forms that reveal their process and function,” Wilson told us. “This kind of honesty I often talk about is usually found in utility tools, industry, sports, sailing and aeronautics and, on a very high level, military.”

One of Henry Wilson’s A-joints minis

Many of his items are available as self-build components, pieces that act as a facilitator or foundation for other designers to build upon. He is renown for his “A-joint“, a piece that uniquely joins legs to a stool, a bench or a table. The joint has been redesigned in several variants, and used in fit-outs and living rooms around the world.

“I do not really plan out objects, they are more of a discovery for me,” Wilson explained to us. “The A-joint unfolded in a very organic way. What was originally designed as a tool for people to make furniture has now become a tool for me to produce furniture locally at affordable prices and quick production times.

“I still sell the A-joints as a component to keep in the spirit of the original concept, though the skill, time and resources required to make the furniture, even with this aid, is beyond most people. I’m currently concentrating on simple objects that fulfil basic functions in, hopefully, a poetic way.”

The A-joint

Henry Wilson’s A-joints assembled into a small table and a stool.

When we asked Wilson to take on the redesign of the Create trophy, the reply was one of characteristic inquiry — why do we need trophies? What are their use? Wilson approached the project with rigorous critique:

“Trophies are a bit outdated in our current context,” he explained. “I think that the era of the mass produced trophy has created a hollow symbol for achievement. Trophies used to be precious because of both their symbolic nature or craftsmanship, material value and sometimes, function.

“I feel that some, or all, of these are lacking from much of what is on offer in the trophy mass market.”

Henry Wilson’s STRT marble and glass table

Wilson began work and returned with ideas fitting to his investigation. Looking into what the form of a trophy could represent, other than a static trophy, lead him to his resolution. “For Create, I wanted to design a trophy that I would want to receive,” he told us. “I think I speak for many who have received trophies that clutter bookshelves only to eventually be moved into garages and attics. For me they have become a burden, a symbol of achievement that now seems distant and unrelated, yet difficult to commit to the rubbish.”

Henry Wilson’s leather desk mat with the gunmetal bronze vide-poche

He gives a few clues: ”I realise I have probably just laid out some pretty big boots to fill with those words – but I hope my design will be around and functional for a while to come. If one does want to recycle it, they should be able to get a few bucks for the gunmetal bronze at any recycled metal yard.”

Keep an eye out for the unveiling of the new trophy within the next few weeks. Until then, you don’t have much time left until entries close on April 22! Get your entry in today and compete with the best for a landmark Create trophy.


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