THE MAKING OF THE LONDON DESIGN MEDALS

"As a jewellery designer, 3-dimensional form is very important to me. I wanted the Medal to feel like a small sculpture that you could hold in your hands - something that would feel good as well as look good. It was important that it wasn’t just a one-sided thing, the back and the front working together to create one sculptural piece. "

Hannah Martin

The London Design Festival commissioned London-based jewellery designer Hannah Martin to create a unique award for the British Land Celebration of Design. Hannah is the Creative Director of Hannah Martin London. She founded the brand in 2005 following her graduation from Central Saint Martins and after her return to London from Paris where she worked with one of the most internationally recognised names in fine jewellery.

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Hannah approached the design and fabrication of the Medals as she would a piece of jewellery. She dedicated the same attention to building the narrative behind the design, and in producing the Medals used the same highly skilled process of model making, hand-carving, setting, polishing and hallmarking.

"In the initial discussions with the London Design Festival and Pentagram we talked a lot about London, what signified London and how this could be represented. The idea of a bird in flight felt like it struck the right note with a sense of freedom of thought and a feeling of being able to fly to great heights."

"What better bird to use than the once ubiquitous ‘cockney sparrow'. I looked at other great celebrations of design that had happened in London historically - which led me to reference The Great Exhibition of 1851 and the original Crystal Palace that was constructed to house it. I took a lot of the graphic references from here."

I created the initial piece by hand-carving into hard jewellers' wax. The wax was then moulded and cast in metal, which we finish and polish in our workshops - just as we do when we make a piece of jewellery. The London Design Medal is plated with 18 carat gold - it felt the most appropriate option for the central focus of the Medals; a gold medal is the most recognisable symbol in terms of achievement and success."

"We choose a black rhodium finish for the Lifetime Achievement Medal - I felt that this was a quieter colour, but very strong. A good colour for celebrating achievement over an entire lifetime.  For the Entrepreneur Medal and the Emerging Talent medal we went with silver; both of these Medals suggest the flourishing of a long career that is still ahead. Silver is a bright, clean, fresh metal colour - symbolising the future ahead."  

 

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