A hugging or embracing gesture expressed in satin matt metal with an organic network-like facet pattern. I designed the Safezone trophy for the Czech Insurance Broker Association as an abstract expression of the protecting principle of insurance. A zone of protection, a Safezone.
A trophy or an award is one of the classic archetypes in itself. It is something we know so much and we can identify so clearly. Just like the Oscar-like object in reflective metal with a distinctive base, an inscription and a resolute upright stance. Part of the archetype is how you hold it and how you raise it in celebration. I wanted to keep all these established values and build on top of them with new form and new technology.
The most inherent expression of the insurance to me is protection. I wanted the object to express that even if very abstractly and lightly. The concept therefore started with that image of hands embracing and protecting. The perforated pattern is there to facilitate just this – the wrapping and hugging gesture. Just like hands wrap around something precious. The faceted form is loosely inspired by diamond facets but there are no geometric rules here and no symmetry. Each of the 19 trophies is completely original as it is hand-formed and receives its own unique shape facet by facet. This is driven by another important aspect of an award – it is a recognition of a uniqueness and therefore it is most fitting that each award would be like that as well.
The body and the outer base of Safezone are both laser-cut and machined AlMg3 aluminium-magnesium alloy that goes through 6 technological steps to reach its unique matt metallic surface. Gold, Silver and Bronze are still there – they are after all part of the archetype – but they get a unique metallic satin finish that has perfect oleophobic properties and total resistance to fingerprints. Something you don’t get with the Oscar.
The base is filled with matt black mix of acrylate and concrete specially formulated to keep its volume when curing as it is used to connect the metal parts together. This dense material gives the trophy the right weight and the right sense of balance when it stands or when you hold it. A lot of attention was given to the way the object feels in the hands of the winner.
Facets that generate the design
Each Safezone trophy is folded from the same laser-cut patterned sheet. The polygonal voronoi pattern is the result of many experiments and its key characteristic is that it can fold freely into volume while each facet remains flat only changing its angle in relation to the others. This way each one can take on a different form yet all of them have the same language and features.
Flexibility equals interaction
The outer facets flex and feel more fragile and as the form descends into the base it becomes stronger and more rigid. I think that flexibility is a great feature of a material or an object. It is an invitation to interact and it deepens the relationship you have with an object. Much like a good chair that flexes under you is more pleasant and more inviting than sitting on a concrete block.
Resistance is key
Extensive care was given to make the surface completely resistant to fingerprints and scratches for all three colors. In the process of tuning the electrolytic bath that creates the hard oxidised surface we tested the result with butter and metal tools to simulate hand-sweat and rough handling.
Czech Insurance Broker Association
creative direction, design, ideation, product development, 2D & 3D modelling, material technologies, prototyping
Chabera Studio in collaboration with technological companies and craftsmen, produced in Czechia
7 x Gold, 6 x Silver, 6 x Bronze