Text by Katherine Olson, Architectural Digest
"In a way, what I wanted was to somehow make an object that creates beautiful and unexpected refractions that will bring a certain magic and add to the celebrations on the night," reflects architect and founder of Adjaye Associates David Adjaye, whose exquisite three-plus-pound trophy is being delivered from Austria for the Fashion Awards in London next week. Commissioned by the British Fashion Council and Swarovski, Adjaye has crafted a new trophy for the winners of the yearly fashion award, which was unveiled on December 10 at Royal Albert Hall.
The trophy project was, in certain ways, a distinctly technical one. "Each project is always research-led to begin with, so there’s a big emphasis to never pick up a brief but to listen to the client’s narrative. So when I was asked to make a design for the Fashion Awards, I was really intrigued that Swarovski are both the sponsors and also the people who produced the award. I have worked with Swarovski for about a decade, so I knew that they had an incredible technical team, and I have always been fascinated to see if I could work with their team to create a large giant crystal using their new Wave Cut technology. I wanted to see if we could use that technology to make this extraordinary gentle curve—which is to do with the six-pointed structure of the crystal. I’ve created a crystal prism with three curves below and three curves above, which rotate to meet each other in different directions. Swarovski’s technical team were able to achieve a seamless transition between the two systems and they did amazingly well."
Image: Mark Collition Photography
The capability of the crystal itself, says the architect, "was integral to the design, as I was captivated by the optical effects that you can achieve through geometry creating refraction, distortion, and reflection with the material." And the night's subject matter—fashion, which Adjaye says "has always been important to me"—was, of course, fundamental: "My relationship to fashion is through the lenses of architecture. . . Fashion and architecture are relational in a way; they are about the perception of the body and space and about creating a certain kind of dignity for everyday things—while also allowing very special things to happen, which I think is very powerful."
As trophy designer, Adjaye is in good company: Last year, John Pawson designed the trophy; the prior year, Marc Newson lent his talents. “It is an honor to welcome Sir David Adjaye OBE as our latest prestigious design collaborator for the Fashion Awards," Nadja Swarovski, of the Swarovski executive board, said in a statement. "Sir David’s 2018 trophy captures the sparkling elegance and sophistication of these awards, and celebrates the innovation, energy and creative spirit at the heart of this industry."
A custom crystal trophy is created each year for the Fashion Awards, the nonprofit British Fashion Council's yearly fundraiser; Swarovski has pledged £300,000 (approximately $382,000) to the British Fashion Council Education Foundation, which supports education, business, and mentorship initiatives for talent at all career levels, including students, as well as for fashion startups and brands.
Feature Image: Mark Cocksedge