The Bombay Sapphire Prize in Milan:
video diary day 3

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Live from Milan: the winners of the Bombay Sapphire Prize have been announced, with designers Annie Cattrell and Yuichi Higashionna sharing the £25,000 prize money. Today's movie features interviews with judges Karim Rashid and Dan Klein who explain the winning pieces and why they won.

Tomorrow's movie will feature interviews with the winners.

Below is the full press release announcing the winners:

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BOMBAY SAPPHIRE PRIZE WINNERS 2008

Milan, Italy / 17 April 2008 – For the first time ever, two glass artists have jointly won the Bombay Sapphire Prize 2008, the world’s biggest annual award for artists, designers and architects working with glass. The £25,000 international award for excellence and innovation in contemporary glass was divided equally between Japanese artist, Yuichi Higashionna and UK artist, Annie Cattrell.

“Chandelier” by Yuichi Higashionna and “Capacity” by Annie Cattrell were judged the winners of the Prize by members of the Bombay Sapphire Foundation who include: Ron Arad, Tom Dixon, Nicole Farhi, Thomas Heatherwick, Karim Rashid, Lesley Jackson, Dan Klein and Nadja Swarovski.

Designer and Foundation member, Ron Arad described “Chandelier” as “a great example of Japanese contemporary art. It’s rich, amazing and as a chandelier, it’s in a league of its own”.

Speaking about the inspiration for his creation, Yuichi Higashionna, said: “It is the Japanese mentality to try to make everything “fanshii”, that is to say, small, round and cute. The “Chandelier” series, in which many circular fluorescent lamps are used, is my tribute, both a homage and a satire, to the Japanese “fluorescent culture” that fascinates me and at the same time makes me uncomfortable. Yes, my aim was to make a fluorescent-lamp monster!”

Talking about “Capacity”, an incredibly intricate recreation of a pair of human lungs in glass, Foundation member, Dan Klein said: “It uses a scientific glass process and turns it into a very credible art form. “Capacity” is a beautiful object that speaks for itself.”

Annie Cattrell says that at the root of “Capacity” is “the inextricable link between how it was created and what it represents. It is made in part by blowing glass, therefore the act of breathing creates the organ of breath. The work’s lightness is suggestive of the breath and the paradox of the fragile yet resilient qualities of glass intensify the connection between the complexity of the body and the transitory nature of life.”

The winners were announced by Foundation members, Karim Rashid and Thomas Heatherwick at an awards event held this evening as part of Milan Design Week, the largest design fair in the world. The 33 glass works short-listed for the Prize are showcased in the Bombay Sapphire Prize exhibition located in MyOwnGallery, Superstudio Piu, Milan until April 21. The exhibition will tour the world throughout 2008/09 beginning in London, as part of ‘Grand Designs’ at ExCel from 3–11 May 2008.

The Bombay Sapphire Foundation set up by Bombay Sapphire, the hand-crafted premium gin instantly recognisable by its striking translucent blue glass bottle, is a keen supporter of design. Now in its sixth year, the Prize has celebrated the work of some of the world’s most talented artists and designers. Previous winners include Thomas Heatherwick for his “Glass Bridge”, lighting designer Paul Cocksedge for “NeON” and Richard Box for his inspirational installation “Field”.