Breaking the Mold: Loewe Foundation Prize 2023 and the Absence of Stereotypes

By Artem Kropovinsky, Interior Designer and Founder of Arsight |
September 8, 2023

I am thrilled to recount my personal journey through an extraordinary event – the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2023. This unique exhibition, nestled within the renowned Noguchi Museum, is a global celebration of innovative craftsmanship and fresh creative vision.

This annual event is a cornerstone in the world of design, where creators worldwide are recognized and celebrated for their outstanding contributions to the field. The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize serves not just as a platform for extraordinary talent but also as a crucible for the exchange of innovative ideas, techniques, and the constant evolution of design philosophies.

What sets this year's iteration apart is the palpable absence of stereotypes. It’s an exhilarating experience to witness the vibrant interplay between imperfection and completeness, the blend of classic design and modern materials, and the heartfelt honesty of handcrafted items. Now, let me share with you the remarkable works of artists who truly break the mold.

Embracing Imperfection and Incompleteness

I was transported into the world of Eriko Inazaki, who astoundingly reinvented hand-crafted ceramics. Her delicate work is a symphony of the senses, where intricate components layered and arranged on a clay core. The work took a year to complete, reflecting the sincere dedication, painstaking effort, and a commitment to truthfulness inherent in craftsmanship.

Eriko Inazaki, ‘Metanoia’, ceramics, 200 x 200 x 240 mm. 2019

Each piece's fragility grants the work a magical quality; a tangible aura of radiant energy bursting forth. Eriko's work dances on the line of technical excellence and artistry, breaking away from the mold and redefining the ceramic genre.

Her approach resonates powerfully with one of our latest project of Apartment in Tribeca, where we too cherished the beauty in imperfection and incompleteness.

A Symphony of Light and Texture

Ai Shikanji's piece was an intriguing blend of traditional and contemporary design. Utilizing threads coated in lacquer and embellished with gold, silver, and tin, Ai created a work that plays with light in a beautiful, subtle manner. By adopting an age-old technique and infusing it with a modern twist, Ai demonstrated that traditional and modern elements could coexist harmoniously.

Ai Shikanji, J‘Reflection’, cotton, lacquer, thread, washi, gold powder, silver powder, tin powder, grinding powder and gold leaf, 640 x 640 x 220 mm. 2022

The Uniqueness of Handcrafted Design

Next, Dominique Zinkpè's work caught my eye. He crafted wooden figures, each unique in their details, and housed them in a wooden frame. Touched with hues of pink and orange, these figures reflect a profound celebration of individuality. Dominique's work beautifully exemplified how handcrafted designs carry an inherent sense of uniqueness and personal touch.

Dominique Zinkpè, ‘The Watchers’, wood and acrylic, 1480 x 1330 x 230 mm. 2022

The Fusion of Tradition and Modernity

Jaiik Lee's work was another eye-catching piece. He adopted a traditional Korean jar design and brought it into the modern age using metalwork. The outcome was a compelling piece, symbolizing the seamless fusion of tradition and modernity.

Jaiik Lee, ‘Transition VII’, copper, porcelain color and gold leaf, 527 x 527 x 592 mm. 2022

Pushing the Boundaries of Creativity

Kyouhong Lee’s work was a testament to creative experimentation. His art combined glass and traditional lacquer techniques to create a visually striking piece. It emphasized that embracing new methods and materials could give birth to unique and innovative creations.

Kyouhong Lee, ‘Trace of Time’, glass, traditional lacquer and gold leaf, 80 x 460 x 460 mm. 2022
In essence, each artist at the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2023 pushed boundaries and shattered stereotypes. They displayed a profound appreciation for handcrafted designs, a delightful mixture of classic and contemporary styles, and a sincere quest for uniqueness.
Wanbing Huang, ‘The Entrophy Reduction of Hundun’, hemp fibers (China grass cloth) and steel, 550 x 1000 x 1300 mm each. 2022

The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2023 exhibition is open at The Noguchi Museum until June 18, 2023. Reserve your spot today and witness firsthand these artists' creative journeys.

Artem Kropovinsky is an author, interior designer and the founder of Arsight, a globally award-winning design firm based in New York. With over decade of experience, Arsight specializes in complex projects, including new constructions, complete residential renovations, restaurants, and retail stores.