Materiality Matters: This Year's Semi-final Trophy


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British material designer and explorer of new possibilities in colour, texture and form, Charlotte Kidger, extended her practice this year to creating the semi-final trophies for the International Woolmark Prize.

“I have always been inspired by materials as a starting point and like to allow the medium to determine the design,” says Kidger, who began developing a special composite material during her master’s degree in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins that has continued to play a strong role in her career and practice. This material, which is made from plastic model fabricators through CNC processes, is bound with an adhesive and cold-cast into forms that are at once both raw and sleek.

“The characteristics of the material were realised during experimentation, the shiny surface seen in the design is an untreated, unfinished surface directly from the mould and the rough textured surface is the material in a more raw organic form when left to air cure,” explained the designer.

In the absence of melting or heating, the texture of Kidger’s unique material is irregular and relatively uncontrolled, reflecting the rugged land on which Australia’s Merino sheep roam.  Indeed, Charlotte looked to the origins of the natural fibre for inspiration when she was commissioned to create the 12 trophies for this year’s International Woolmark Prize semi-final winners. “The natural green tones fading into each other within the design are inspired by the land from which the wool is grown,” says Kidger.

Even before she graduated from her MA, Charlotte’s reapplication of non-recyclable waste into striking sculpture and form caught not only The Woolmark Company’s eyes, but those of Salon del Mobile, London Design Festival and Designblok Prague, where her work has been exhibited. Likewise, publications including Dezeen, Wired, Design Milk and Wallpaper were attracted to not only the beauty of Kidger’s forms but also her methodology.

“I wanted to show an alternative way of processed waste plastics that transformed the material from waste into something of more value and desire.” Given the transformative nature of wool, not to mention its ability to be recycled, Charlotte’s work was a perfect fit for this year’s International Woolmark Prize.

Emma Hedlund and Saif Bakir of CMMN SWDN, receiving their award at  this year’s International Woolmark Prize semi-final event in London. Photo: Lillie Eiger.

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