WRAPPING UP THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021
initiated in 2017 and curated by designboom, with patronage by the milan city council, THE DESIGN PRIZE is an annual award program that celebrates excellence on a global scale. the award recognizes both the extraordinary achievements and little sparks of beauty and delight that have emerged over the past 12 months. after three fantastic gala events, held during milan design weeks in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – and a year of absence due to COVID-19 – THE DESIGN PRIZE returns with a new format in 2021. instead of our usual award ceremony, this year designboom honors ten amazing creative minds by traveling around the world to hand over the golden madonnina statuettes in person. we have already delivered the madonninas to some of this year’s winners, including tom sachs, fulvio ferrari and isabel + helen, while the rest of the ceremonies will be taking place very soon.
in the meantime, we have decided to create our first NFT for the occasion. the golden madonnina has gone digital!
the accurate miniature version of the sculpture that sits on top of milan’s duomo is THE DESIGN PRIZE’s prestigious handmade ceramic trophy, designed by antonio aricò in collaboration with designboom.
MEET THE 4th golden madonnina award WINNERS
THE DESIGN PRIZE winners are awarded across 10 interdisciplinary categories:
IN THE ARTISTIC REALM | BEST CURATOR | BEST DESIGNER | SOCIAL IMPACT | BEST EXHIBITION | BEST COMMUNICATION | EXPERIMENTATION | DESIGN NEWCOMER | DISTRIBUTION | LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT.
continue reading to discover more about the ten creative minds awarded this year and stay tuned for the rest of the ceremony reports.
IN THE ARTISTIC REALM
tom sachs with THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 golden madonnina | image © designboom
tom sachs, winner of ‘in the artistic realm’ category, received the golden madonnina at deichtorhallen hamburg during the opening of his latest exhibition, ‘space program: rare earths’. designboom traveled to the german city to celebrate sachs’s fourth space exploration, following the one to the moon at gagosian (2007), mars at the park avenue armory (2012, more here), and jupiter’s icy moon europa at the yerba buena center for the arts (2016, more here). you can watch the ceremony as well as the tour of the artist’s latest interstellar mission here.
the landing excursion model (LEM), part of ‘space program: rare earths’ | image © designboom
BEST DESIGN CURATOR: FULVIO FERRARI
fulvio ferrari with the 2021 golden madonnina | image © designboom
fulvio ferrari receives the golden madonnina trophy in the category ‘best curator’ for ‘museo casa mollino’, the turin apartment-turn-museum of italian architect, designer, and photographer carlo mollino (1905-1973). the riverside apartment, which mollino designed for himself on the first floor of the 1888 ‘villa avondo’, dates to between 1960 and 1968 and was not intended to be his home, but a private project that remained a secret during his lifetime. after mollino’s death in 1973, the apartment was saved by the engineer aldo vandoni and served as his studio until 1999, when fulvio ferrari and his son, napoleone ferrari, stepped in and established the museum. designboom traveled to turin to hand over the golden madonnina and get a tour of museo casa mollino, which you can watch here.
inside museo casa mollino | image © designboom
BEST DESIGNER: JUNYA ISHIGAMI
junya ishigami’s culture and arts hall in tokushima, japan
designboom has been following junya ishigami’s work since the time he establishing his own firm, junya.ishigami+associates, in 2004. before that, the japanese architect worked with kazuyo sejima and ryue nishizawa of widely recognized firm SANAA. awarded with ‘best designer’, ishigami has developed a number of architectural projects, as well as installations and designs that have been exhibited on an international platforms.
he approaches all his works with the same attention to detail, evident in recent examples such as the ‘kokage-gumo’ pavilion, a temporary structure topped with a charred wood canopy that wraps around pre-existing trees in tokyo, as well as the ‘art biotop water garden’, a poetic earthwork landscape nestled among the foothills of japan’s nasu mountains. his latest design, the culture and arts hall in tokushima, was featured on designboom on the occasion of announcing THE DESIGN PRIZE award, and you may read more about it here.
art biotope watergarden
junya ishigami’s perspective drawing of art biotope watergarden
SOCIAL IMPACT: BOONSERM PREMTHADA /BANGKOK PROJECT STUDIO
images courtesy boonserm premthada
bangkok project studio, led by boonserm premthada, is the recipient of THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 for social impact.
the thailand-based architecture practice has completed a number of projects across its home country, including an elephant museum made of clay bricks. the firm recently revealed another community-focused project called ‘artisans ayutthaya: the woman restaurant’, set in a village outside the ancient city of ayutthaya, which, curiously, is inhabited mainly by unmarried or widowed women. find out more here.images courtesy boonserm premthada
elephant museum in thailand | image © spaceshift studio
BEST EXHIBITION: PETER MARINO
peter marino at rubelli’s palazzo in venice | image © designboom
peter marino has been awarded with ‘best exhibition’ for his eponymous art foundation in southampton, NY. the architect has meticulously renovated a 19th century building, which now showcases over 100 pieces of art and design from his extensive art collection. you can learn more about the origins of his collection, the criteria behind selecting his acquisitions, as well as the dialogue between the pieces and the rooms of the building in our interview here.
‘the meeting room’ at the foundation’s upper level | image © jason schmidt, courtesy peter marino architect
BEST COMMUNICATION: SIX N. FIVE
ezequiel pini receives THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 golden madonnina | image © designboom
what started as an after-work project – the name comes from 6:05, the time when its founder, ezequiel pini, could start focusing on his personal business – six n. five has now transformed into a leading voice in the contemporary design scene. designboom visited the argentinian artist in his new studio in barcelona to deliver the 2021 golden madonnina in the category of ‘communication’. you can watch the ceremony and learn more about his work process, recent projects and artistic research in here.
commissioned by style magazine, NYT singapore, a manifest for a dream-inspired interior by six n. five
animation by six n. five
EXPERIMENTATION: OBJECTS OF COMMON INTEREST
eleni petaloti and leonidas trampoukis
objects of common interest, the greece and new york-based design studio founded by eleni petaloti and leonidas trampoukis, has been awarded with the the golden madonnina trophy for ‘experimentation’. the studio experiments often with materials, textures and hues, like the holographic surface treatment of its ‘future archaeology’ series (see more here), or the opal resin, part of their ongoing exhibition at the noguchi museum, which transforms sunlight into pale blues and deep oranges (more here). you can learn more about their creative process, experimentation with different materials and techniques, as well as their new resin fabrication studio, which will open soon, in our video interview here.
objects of common interest, ‘volax collection’, exhibited at carwan gallery | image by giorgos sfakianakis | read more about it here
DESIGN NEWCOMER: ISABEL + HELEN
helen chesner (left) and isabel gibson (right) with THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 golden madonnina | image © designboom
isabel gibson and helen chesner of isabel + helen receive the golden madonnina trophy in the category ‘best design newcomer’. since 2012, the london-based creative studio develops projects that highlight their shared love of analogue design processes and simple kinetics. their work has attracted clients in the fashion world including hermés, dior, moncler, craig green, and bottega veneta, as well as cultural institutions such as the victoria and albert museum and tate modern. designboom visited the design duo to deliver the award and get a tour of their studio, which you can watch here.
video still from isabel+helen’s ‘inflatable bags’ series, courtesy of bottega veneta
DISTRIBUTION: JOHN MARGARITIS/ NEW YORK SUNSHINE
SUN DYED IN TEXAS | image courtesy of new york sunshine and dickies
multidisciplinary artist and founder of new york sunshine, john margaritis, and US apparel company dickies receive the ‘distribution’ award for the installation ‘SUN DYED IN TEXAS’. balancing between art, design, and fashion, the project features a house-shaped sculptural piece, as well as a billboard that reads ‘just another day in paradise’, set on a private ground in marfa’s desert landscape. find out more about it in our interview with margaritis here.
‘just another day in paradise’ billboard | image courtesy of new york sunshine and dickies
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: SAWAYA & MORONI
paolo moroni (right) and william sawaya (left) | video still © designboom
design icons since 1984: sawaya & moroni!
william sawaya and paolo moroni are the recipients of the 2021 golden madonnina ‘lifetime achievement’ trophy. combining the professional talent of william sawaya, architect and designer of lebanese origin, with the entrepreneurship of italian philologist paolo moroni, sawaya & moroni has played a pioneering role within the international design scene since the ‘80s. the italian design company has collaborated with the most prestigious names in the field of architecture and design, including michael graves, enzo mari, zaha hadid, jean nouvel, david adjaye, snøhetta, and many more. designboom held the award ceremony in the new sawaya & moroni showroom near milan’s cordusio, in via clerici 1, during milan design week 2021.
THE DESIGN PRIZE gala event in 2019 at triennale MILANO TEATRO
in 2019 a cat on stage moderated the show
THE DESIGN PRIZE 2019 nominations and winners
the DESIGN PRIZE gala event in 2018 at teatro alla scala
in 2018 at the opera house teatro alla scala
miuccia prada and kazuyo sejima are among the recipients of the golden madonnina
THE DESIGN PRIZE 2018 nominations and winners
the DESIGN PRIZE gala event at teatro gerolamo in 2017
THE DESIGN PRIZE 2017 nominations and winners