Tatler Design Awards 2021: How the Trophy Designs Were Inspired By the Art of Origami
The ancient art of origami has a history dating back over a thousand years. Paper folding is a feat of both science and the arts, celebrating the malleability of the material and the ability to compress and expand an object using mathematical principles; ideas that can be applied to other materials, too.
This craft has fascinated designers and engineers alike, including David Tham, founding director of StudioNorm. When he discovered the proprietary marble-bending technique of Indonesian stone fabricator MM Galleri, the designer and his team created paper models as means to understand and experiment with the possible shapes they could create using the firm’s unique technology. By slicing the natural stone to a slim 3mm layer, MM Galleri is able to bend marble, onyx and various other stone varieties into sinuous shapes.
“I wanted to utilise the innovative capabilities of MM Galleri while showcasing the unique beauty of natural stone,” explains Tham. “We also played with paper mock-ups as part of the conceptualisation process to understand the material constraints and types of shapes we could create.”
The gentle curves of the trophy not only communicate the versatility of the technique; they also embody the many talents of the winners of the Tatler Design Awards. “I wanted to express a conceptual representation of a winner in the multifaceted design of the trophy; whereby a winner is someone who is versatile, with interdisciplinary abilities,” says Tham.
(Related: Here’s The Secret To Making Marble Bendable)
I wanted to utilise the innovative capabilities of MM Galleri while showcasing the unique beauty of natural stone
— David Tham, Founding director of Studio Norm
Resin acts as a binding agent as well as a means to highlight the curvature of the bent marble. The transparent quality of resin allows the delicate profile of the stone layers to be visible from various angles. The trophies are produced by artisans with years of experience handling resin, resulting in a flawless transparent finish that is both durable and beautiful to behold.
“I like how the designer thought about layering the stones and playing with light since marble and onyx become semi-translucent due to their slim 2mm depth,” shares Hillary Tjioe, director of MM Galleri Singapore. “I love the idea of putting resin in between the layers to showcase the curved quality of the stone.”
I love the idea of putting resin in between the layers to showcase the curved quality of the stone
— Hillary Tjioe, Singapore director of MM Galleri
Two versions have been created for the awards ceremony this year: a model in Bubble Black marble and another version in Onyx Azul. Sourced from a quarry in Guangxi, China, the marble is reminiscent of Nero Marquina marble from Spain; it sports similar light veins that make it so desirable.
“The Bubble Black marble has a classic look that is always welcome, just like a prize winner,” says Tham. “It has an elegant and timeless look.”
(Related: Tatler Design Awards 2021: Introducing The Jury Panel)
The second material was selected for the trophy that will be presented to winners of the Designers on the Rise category; this new accolade highlights the work of young design firms. A dye is added to enhance the natural pale blue hue of the Iranian onyx used for this trophy.
“The Onyx Azul is absolutely beautiful and a very rare stone to find in such a colour and that for me reflects the attributes of a rising star; one that shines but does not come along everyday,” says Tham. “The hue also references the colour of the sky, thereby symbolising that upward, limitless path that the rising star could embark upon.”
(Related: Tatler Design Awards 2021: 3 Emerging Singapore Design Firms to Watch)