Germany's Ernst Gamperl wins debut Loewe Craft Prize
German-born Ernest Gamperl has won the Loewe Craft Prize, beating out 25 other finalists in the debut edition of the new award by the Spanish luxury brand.
Designed to unite the worlds of design, architecture, journalism and museum curatorship, the Craft Prize is the brainchild of Jonathan Anderson, the Ulsterman named creative director of Loewe in 2013.
“The work of Ernst Gamperl has something which conveys a unique voice and the physicality of these pieces will be important for many more years to come,” says Anderson.
Besides Anderson, the jury included Gijs Bakker, jewelry artist and co-founder of Droog Design; Rolf Fehlbaum, former CEO of Vitra; Naoto Fukasawa, director of the Japan Folk Crafts Museum; Enrique Loewe, Loewe Foundation honorary president; Deyan Sudjic, director of London’s Design Museum; Benedetta Tagliabue, architect and Pritzker Prize jury member; and Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief of W Magazine.
Gamperl, who was handed his prize in Madrid by Charlotte Rampling, won a prize of 50,000 euros. All finalists will be featured in an exhibition opening in Madrid on 11 April, with subsequent stays in New York, Tokyo and London.
A graduate in cabinetmaking, Gamperl is a master in woodturning, who has studios in Germany and Italy. He submitted giant containers hewn from a massive 300-year-old oak uprooted during a storm. Gamperl’s treatment of clay, earth, and stone powder combines with the wood’s natural tannic acid to give a striking organic finish.
“As a house, we are about craft in the purest sense of the word. That is where our modernity lies," said Anderson, who was inspired to create the competition by Loewe’s beginnings as a craft cooperative in 1846.
Special mentions were also made to Yoshiaki Kojiro, a Japanese glassmaker who fused glass with copper oxide; and Artesanías Panikua, a Mexican weaver who used wheat fibers to create sun deities inspired by the mythology of his indigenous Purépecha people.
Any artisan over 18 could compete, provided their work combined an innovative application with an original artistic concept. All told, over 4,000 artisans - aged early 20s to 80 plus - applied, from over 75 countries.
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