CUTLERS' COMPANY CUTLERY DESIGN COMPETITION


In January 2021, the Cutlers’ Company launched a new annual design competition to create a set of contemporary cutlery; consisting of a knife, a fork and a spoon. The winning set will be made into a usable canteen of cutlery for the Company’s Livery Dinners.

Alice Welch was amongst the panel of judges, and Robert Welch Designs were delighted to support this initiative which will ultimately produce an extraordinary snapshot of British design in the 21st Century and offer designers of the future a chance to explore the delights of making such intimate everyday objects.

The Cutlers’ Company is one of the most ancient livery companies in the City of London, having received its first Royal Charter from Henry V in 1416.

This was the inaugural contest, the 1st of 95 annual competitions, concluding in 2116 as the company marks 700 years.

The competition was open to students currently on, or recently graduated from (3 years or less) any art, design or crafts course, at any college or university, studying at undergraduate, post-graduate or equivalent level. Applicants had to be living in the UK for the duration of the competition.

To mark the announcement of the competition winner, runner up and highly commended entry, we take a look at the concepts and design inspiration behind each one.

Winner 2021: Hand by Anli Hou

Anli is a postgraduate student in Jewellery and Metal Design at the Royal College of Art. She receives a prize of £750 and get to have her cutlery made in a collaborative process. This should be ready for use later this year.

The inspiration for my work is ‘hand’. In Chinese there is a word for ‘mind and hand in accord’ which means to mobilise the enthusiasm of the whole body when doing something, so as to achieve the highest state of heart being hand, and hand being heart. It is like the people who cook for us, whether they are chefs or our lovers. They have high expectations for food and show their love for the diner by concentrating on making a rich dish with both hands. This inspired me to use the shape of my hands for the design of the cutlery, in order to draw closer the love between the people who cook for us and the diners.

Statement by the Judges: Intriguing aesthetics and convincing narrative combined in a winning design of cutlery.

Runner Up 2021 : Silhouette by Lise Vester

Cutlery is probably the most intimate object and most useful tool we use in our home - every single day. Therefore, they are sometimes also hard to notice, because using them and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is very habituated. Silhouette cutlery offers a new playful and elegant shape, that invites you in for sensory discovery and engagement. One single shape converted into a series of cutlery consisting of a fork, knife and spoon, playing with traditional perception of our everyday utensils. By using this symphony of silhouettes I hope that the aesthetic and sensory experience of dining will be elevated, making people become even more present in the moment, and engaged in each others company.

Statement by the Judges: Fluid lines and functionality characterises this aesthetically pleasing cutlery.

Highly Commended 2021: Eat, Feed, Devour by Finn Banwell

Finn is a first-year student in Metalwork at West Dean College.

“In 2021 food should be sustainable and local. We should be close to our food. My cutlery design brings us closer to our food and draws inspiration from the first ever use of cutlery and the concept of Homo Faber–the belief that we can control our fate and environment through the use of tools. My design is as simple as is possible, but these simple shapes helped shape the lives of so many. My cutlery will be made from sheet silver, chased and formed to resemble prehistoric flint tools. This will create a similar feel in the hand to the original flint tools and will give us a similar eating experience to that of our ancestors.”

Statement by the Judges: A clever and creative design with an interesting take on ergonomics.

To find out more: https://www.ccdc.uk/

Runner Up 2021 : Silhouette by Lise Vester

Cutlery is probably the most intimate object and most useful tool we use in our home - every single day. Therefore, they are sometimes also hard to notice, because using them and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is very habituated. Silhouette cutlery offers a new playful and elegant shape, that invites you in for sensory discovery and engagement. One single shape converted into a series of cutlery consisting of a fork, knife and spoon, playing with traditional perception of our everyday utensils. By using this symphony of silhouettes I hope that the aesthetic and sensory experience of dining will be elevated, making people become even more present in the moment, and engaged in each others company.

Statement by the Judges: Fluid lines and functionality characterises this aesthetically pleasing cutlery.

Highly Commended 2021: Eat, Feed, Devour by Finn Banwell

Finn is a first-year student in Metalwork at West Dean College.

“In 2021 food should be sustainable and local. We should be close to our food. My cutlery design brings us closer to our food and draws inspiration from the first ever use of cutlery and the concept of Homo Faber–the belief that we can control our fate and environment through the use of tools. My design is as simple as is possible, but these simple shapes helped shape the lives of so many. My cutlery will be made from sheet silver, chased and formed to resemble prehistoric flint tools. This will create a similar feel in the hand to the original flint tools and will give us a similar eating experience to that of our ancestors.”

Statement by the Judges: A clever and creative design with an interesting take on ergonomics.

To find out more: https://www.ccdc.uk/