How The Tatler Design Awards 2020 Trophies Were Designed As Beacons Of Inspiration
A trophy is a prized object rich with symbolism—it represents a successful milestone for the award recipient while embodying the qualities of the achievement it celebrates. Creating a memorable and meaningful trophy design can feel like a daunting task, but it’s a challenge that local design firm Fraction relished. “We believe that a designer should possess all the resilience of these various definitions of a champion—to connect the beauty of aesthetic with a refined understanding of practicality that a space and its users need,” says Celine Ng, founder of Fraction.
Led by Ng, the studio provides styling services while working on product and interior design projects; she has also designed installations for the past four editions of Singaplural as well as the fair stand of homegrown furniture manufacturer Koda at the International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) 2019.
For this collaboration, Ng and Fraction designer Nicholas Chew worked closely with stone specialist MM Galleri to create an objet d’art that represents the accomplishment of the honourees for the Tatler Design Awards 2020. The final product will be unveiled and presented to the winners during the awards presentation in February.
Known for pioneering the marble bending technique, MM Galleri is able to make natural stone varieties such as onyx and marble pliable by slicing it into ultra thin layers that can be used as decorative veneers. Headquartered in Indonesia since its founding in 1992, the stone specialist opened its Singapore showroom in 2018 and made its presence felt with a statement space clad in white marble veneer. The showroom’s groundbreaking design was feted with the Innovation of the Year accolade at the Tatler Design Awards 2019.
For this trophy design, the stone specialist recommended the use of onyx, which the firm is able to cut and bend with the most narrow profile possible. “When Celine asked me about the most suitable materials for bended marble pieces, I picked onyx as it is a very solid and dense stone with a crystalline structure, which makes it translucent,” says Hillary Tjioe, the Singapore director of MM Galleri. “Our clients love its translucency; they like to play with backlighting to enhance its natural beauty, as it has a different ambience when it is lit up. I was really excited to see the final design that Celine has made, as it has a simple yet elegant look with functionality attached; the trophy can be used as a lamp as well.”
The studio thus selected the ivory flower onyx as the material for the trophy; this white and cream-coloured variety is reminiscent of the blooming petals of ivory roses. The ivory rose also signifies the qualities of elegance and grace, elements that are captured in the alternating cream and honey-coloured bands that were formed naturally on each unique slab of onyx. “We’re in love with the translucence of onyx and its ability to transform light within itself,” explains Ng. “With a varying slenderness, the trophy highlights a visibly versatile spectrum when light passes through. ”
When it came to the trophy’s design, Ng was inspired by the athletic form of a champion swimmer and a flower bud that’s poised to blossom. “We took inspiration from all facets of life, to redefine what it means to be a champion,” she says. “Whether it’s the gold-medallist swimmer, taking a victory stance just as the tips of his outstretched arms make contact with the water’s surface; or a blossoming flower that, against all adversity, pushes its way through the bud, making way for life.” The resulting design also resembles the majestic wings of an eagle, raised as it prepares to land on solid ground.
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Besides serving as an emblem of success, this trophy also functions as a lamp. “Our concept expresses the pliability of the stone and the sleekness of its appearance. In addition, we wanted to test its limits through the curvature of the trophy to shine a new light, quite literally, on these traits,” quips the designer. The luminescent design draws attention to the sinuous stripes on the onyx, which give each trophy its unique look depending on the placement of the veins on the veneer.
Altogether, the trophy was conceived as a collaborative effort that combines the technical prowess of MM Galleri with Fraction’s nature-influenced concept. “What really speaks to us is the sense of triumph that a trophy embodies,” says Ng. “The luminous quality of the onyx, entwined with its intricately engineered form, demonstrates our expression to a T.” Tjioe agrees, looking at the design with pride. “We really enjoyed the challenge of breaking boundaries of what is achievable using natural stone, creating something entirely new to wow the world. This trophy represents both Celine’s and our vision on the future applications of natural stone.”
(Related: Meet The Jury Of The Tatler Design Awards 2020)
- Photography Cai Hui Xin / Calibre