Every year, the hunt is on for the new masters of the design universe with the NOVA Awards, a ten-year collaboration between MullenLowe Group and Central Saint Martins, one of world’s leading schools in art and design. Last year, it was Sandra Poulson who took home the coveted top prize with her project An Angolan Archive, and the year before that, Fredrik Tjærandsen’s balloon dress was the star of the show.
The MullenLowe NOVA Award recipients are those students that push the creative boundaries to the limit, demonstrating a passion for originality, curiosity, radical thinking and innovation. These awards let us peek into what tomorrow’s world will look like. This year’s six winning projects include alternative bacteria-based ceramics, a grow-your-own meat device, a cleaning kit for reusable menstruation pads, and a mask that explores our online and offline selves. The overall winner, runners up and recipients are chosen by a panel of expert judges, whilst the YourNOVA People’s Choice Award is chosen by a public vote.
MullenLowe NOVA Awards 2021
MullenLowe NOVA Award Winner 2021:
Nikoleta Crysikou, MA Material Futures, ‘BacTerra’
BacTerra is a project proposing the use of bacteria to create alternative ceramics that are self-fired and biologically glazed. By providing a making process where ceramic waste and living organisms are my main ingredients, the artist hopes to start a conversation about the promising possibilities of biotechnology within pottery.
As overall winner of the 2021 MullenLowe NOVA Awards, Nikoleta will receive a cash prize to help continue practice. “I feel really happy and grateful to be named the winner of the MullenLowe NOVA Awards, not only for the recognition and endorsement within the art world and wider industry, but because I will be able to communicate my project to a bigger audience. The prize money will enable me to scale up my project from a home-based workshop to a bigger workshop, and it will give me the opportunity to research the project more, to develop and optimise the material and method. Hopefully, it will start a conversation with other makers and industries about how we can collectively reimagine the future of ceramics and traditional crafts.”
2021 MullenLowe NOVA Award Runners Up:
Alice Turner, BA Product Design, ‘Carnerie’
Carnerie is a “grow your own meat” device for around 10 to 20 years in the future. It’s controlled by an app, whereby the user is able to order cell capsules from local farms to grow different types of meat. This conceptual, speculative project is designed to help us visualise what this future scenario could be like, and whether it’s a future we would buy into. By exciting, shocking or even repulsing the viewer, it enables us to question our existing meat consumption habits and whether they need to change.
Lydia Hardcastle, BA Performance: Design and Practice, ‘FEN (Growing Garments)’
Inspired by organic materials, FEN (Growing Garments), is a growing piece of living art made from curveleaf hypnum moss, foraged from the student’s local countryside to bring nature and greenery into people’s lives in ways they’ve never experienced before, with the hope of promoting positive wellbeing.
2021 Unilever #Unstereotype Award:
Cheuk Laam Wong, BA Product Design, ‘Looop Can’
Inspired by Buoyancy Force, Looop Can is an NGO project to provide a cleaning kit for washing reusable menstruation pads. This will reduce period poverty for refugees in water-scarce regions or for asylum seekers in financial difficulties.
2021 Creative Boom Conscious Award:
Francesca Dalosio, MA Industrial Design, ‘Ulïètu’
Ulïètu is a collection of surface panels reflecting the traumatic effect of xylella fastidiosa, one of the most dangerous plant-pathogenic bacteria in the world. This project presents an intelligent and sustainable use for these wood chips, avoiding combustion and taking advantage of the material residual properties in large-scale contexts. This preserves what remains of the Apulian olive trees, giving them a second chance of life.
2021 YourNOVA People’s Choice Award:
Jann Choy, BA Graphic Communication Design, ‘Liǎn’
Liǎn is an experimental mask that explores the relationship between our online personas and offline selves. The concept and design are heavily inspired by Chinese face-changing opera art and online avatars, merging cultural tradition with modern technology.
NOVA.X Exhibition 2021
This September and as part of London Design Festival, MullenLowe and Central Saint Martins will be showcasing ‘NOVA X’, an exhibition which will share how past winners of the NOVA Awards have propelled their careers beyond the educational environment.
This is a sponsored post.