Winning designs announced in Sir John Soane’s Museum and Royal College of Art competition

Sir John Soane’s Museum has announced the winners of The Digital Soane, a competition organised in collaboration with the Royal College of Art, and with the support of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

Designs by RCA Alumni Michael Hurley, Hannah Louise Pittman, Haidée Drew, Molly Perrin, Max Warren, Maria Militsi and design duo Schram & Sandhu were chosen by an expert panel of judges for their imaginative approach to the brief, and innovative reinterpretation of traditional techniques. The digital fragments, 3D printed in various materials, were given to the designer- makers who have reinterpreted them into a range of products to be displayed and sold in the Museum’s shop. The pieces vary from a nostril-shaped fragrance dispenser, a collar vase and a light that appears to levitate.

The competition aims to marry the processes of hands-on craftsmanship with the latest digital technologies, and offers a prestigious platform for a new generation of jewellery designer- makers to showcase their hybrid contemporary designs.

In March 2014, the bust of Sir John Soane, which sits centre stage in the Museum’s Dome Area, was 3D scanned and digitally shattered. The fragmented pieces were then used as the starting point for a new object created by RCA Jewellery & Metal graduates through the programme’s ‘Thinking Digital’ initiative led by tutors Birgit Marie Schmidt and Silvia Weidenbach.

An expert panel of judges including Heal’s Head of Fabric and Design Pia Benham; jewellery designers Lara Bohinc, and Shaun Leane and Ben Rowe from House of Shaun Leane; curator of applied arts Sarah Griffin; artist and 3D printing expert Adam Lowe; Anna Rigby, Head of Buying, Home Accessories & Gifts, Textiles and Carpets for John Lewis; and journalist and luxury expert Lucia van der Post, selected the winning designers.

Designer Michael Hurley has teamed up with fragrance consultant Marianne Martin to turn his fragment from Sir John Soane’s nose into a nose-shaped atomizer that delivers a scent via the nostrils.

Whilst Hurley received the main fragment of Soane’s nose, jewellery and sculptural designer Hannah Louise Pittman’s starting point was a section from the bridge of the nose. Who Knows Soane Nose unveils Soane’s family secrets within a scroll hidden inside the fragment. The scrolls looks at the true story from Soane’s latter years when his son wrote a damning article about his architect father in the newspaper The Champion; an extract from this article is placed within the piece, allowing the owner to be ‘nosey’ about Soane’s family history.

Haidée Drew has used her angular fragment of Soane’s collar to create an unconventional vase that rests against a wall and holds a single flower. Jewellery designer Molly Perrin has created a decorative piece for the home by installing a small LED light under her thin fragment from the centre of the bust, giving the illusion of levitation.

Max Warren used his fragment in to create a traditional and antique-inspired hairbrush. Design duo Schram & Sandhu have created a graphic tea towel using their pieces from the bust and fragmenting the same sections from a portrait of Soane.

Maria Militsi has recreated her fragment in a piece of wood, washed up from the shore of the River Thames. Combining traditional narrative with digital technology, Militsi takes her inspiration from Soane’s design for a bridge across the Thames that won the Royal Academy Gold Medal in 1776. Militsi has imprinted her fragment into the wood representing the scattered pieces of the bridge that could have, if constructed, once proudly transported people across the River. A Triumphal Bridge and a Boating Trip to Greenwich in 1776 by Maria Militsi is a one- off artwork that will be on sale in the Soane Museum Shop.

All entrants’ pieces in this competition will be on display in the museum from 4 to 22 November 2014. The winning designs can be purchased from the Soane Museum Shop from 4 November onwards.

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