Cow intestines and old mattresses feature in Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 exhibition


Spanish fashion house Loewe has announced the winner of its seventh annual prize celebrating craft from around the world, as an exhibition of the 30 shortlisted projects opens at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

Mexican ceramicist Andrés Anza took home the top prize of 50,000 euros for his human-sized ceramic sculpture, which the jury said “has an arresting and almost human presence that is at once figurative and abstract”.

Andres Anza ceramic totemAndres Anza ceramic totem
Mexican ceramicist Andrés Anza was announced as the 2024 winner

The piece is constructed from thousands of individual ceramic protrusions. The tiny spikes make up five pieces, which have then been assembled into the totem-like final configuration.

The jury celebrated the “post-digital aesthetic” of Anza’s hand-built piece.

Miki Asai's ringsMiki Asai's rings
Miki Asai’s miniature vessels feature lacquer and eggshell techniques

Elsewhere the jury awarded three special mentions, one of them to Japan’s Miki Asai for her presentation of three sculptural rings, each topped with miniature vessels featuring lacquer and eggshell techniques.

The jury highlighted the “unexpected combination of intricacy and monumentality” in Asai’s work.

Emmanuel Boos coffee tableEmmanuel Boos coffee table
Emmanuel Boos’ coffee table (front right) received a special mention, with Ozioma Onuzulike’s ceramic tapestry hung on a wall nearby

Jury members included last year’s winner Eriko Inazaki, South Korean architect​ Minsuk Cho, ceramicist Magdalene Odundo, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Wang Shu and designer Patricia Urquiola among others.

Many of the 30 shortlisted projects share similar themes – organic and biomorphic forms, innovative, humble and recycled materials, with a highly tactile sensibility.

Heechan Kim ash and copper vesselHeechan Kim ash and copper vessel
Heechan Kim’s ash and copper vessel is simultaneously internal and external

There is a focus on “the elevation and transformation of the everyday” across the work, the jury explained.

Emmanuel Boos’s coffee table, crafted using 98 hollow porcelain bricks, is held in place without the use of glue. Each brick can be individually lifted from the structure.

Inside the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 exhibition at the Palais de TokyoInside the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo
The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 exhibition is being held at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris

The work, entitled Comme un Lego, was given a special mention by the jury for “gently disrupting expectations around utilitarian objects”.

Also awarded a special mention, Heechan Kim from South Korea used a traditional boat-making technique with ash and copper wire to create an abstract vase that flares out at the base and curves around to envelop itself.

Wooden coffee tableWooden coffee table
Weon Rhee’s table is made from parallel-strand lumber

Continuing the theme of material innovation is a parallel-strand lumber (PSL) table by South Korean artist Weon Rhee, made from recycled and compressed wood strands.

Also from South Korea, Eunmi Chun dried and dyed the small intestines of cows before cutting them into feather-like shapes to work into a necklace.

Feather necklace made from cow's intestineFeather necklace made from cow's intestine
Eunmi Chun makes feathery necklaces out of dried and dyed cows’ small intestines

Japan’s Kazuhiro Toyama was shortlisted for a copper vessel using a new technique based on thermal spraying – an industrial coating process.

In the process, melted copper was sprayed into a hemispherical mould, which cracks as it cools and has been selectively oxidised using heat to create colour variation.

Copper bowlCopper bowl
Kazuhiro Toyama’s vessel was created by spraying liquid copper into a mold

Norman Weber from Germany used CAD software to produce his 3D-printed plastic brooches, which were then surface treated to appear weathered and bleached by the sun.

Other innovative fabrications included ceramic tapestries by Nigerian ceramicist Ozioma Onuzulike, constructed from thousands of handcrafted clay replicas of palm kernel shells that are woven together using copper wires.

Luis Santos Montes of Spain treated kraft paper with resins and a chemical compound derived from cellulose to create a crumpled and flexible 3D sculpture that is endlessly malleable.

Patrick Bongoy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo used traditional basket-making techniques to weave together salvaged materials including wires, found metals and the inner tubes of tyres into a three-dimensional relief.

Crumpled paper sculptureCrumpled paper sculpture
Luis Santos Montes rearranged his malleable paper sculpture on its plinth during the preview

Thatch craftsman Ikuya Sagara from Japan reappropriated an ancient roofing technique to create a slanting panel of rice straw and Japanese pampas grass intended to look like “the memory of wind moving across a rice field”.

Elsewhere, Saar Scheerlings from the Netherlands repurposed old foam mattresses, cutting them into slices and covering them with handwoven French linens to create 82 cushions assembled in a free-standing totem-like column.

Patrick Bongoy woven panelPatrick Bongoy woven panel
Patrick Bongoy presented a relief panel of woven salvaged materials

This year marked the seventh edition of the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize.

Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson founded the prize in 2016 to provide a global platform for craft, inspired by Loewe’s beginnings as a collective craft workshop in 1846.

Recycled mattress columnsRecycled mattress columns
Repurposed old foam mattresses were stitched together with linen into a free-standing column

The 30 finalists represent 16 countries and regions from around the world and their entries were chosen from more than 3,900 submissions by artisans representing 124 countries and regions.

The prize was awarded by actress Aubrey Plaza at a ceremony in the Palais de Tokyo on May 14, also attended by Louis Vuitton menswear creative director Pharrell Williams and designers Rick Owens and Michèle Lamy.

Thatch panelThatch panel
Ikuya Sagara presented a slanted panel of thatch

Other exhibitions recently featured on Dezeen include the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Sleeping Beauties show  and The True Story of Alessandro Mendini at the Triennale in Milan.

The photography is courtesy of the Loewe Foundation.





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