The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 winner is Mexican ceramic artist Andrés Anza

As the winner of the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 is announced at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo this evening (14 May 2024), Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson talks to Wallpaper* about the continuing importance of the prize as an ’incubator of individuals’

Loewe craft prize 2024 winner Andres Anza sculpture on left, Craft prize installation at Palais de Tokyo on right
On left, Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 winner Andrés Anza’s ‘I only know what I have seen’ (2023). On right, the installation at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo
(Image credit: Courtesy of Loewe)

After 3,900 submissions and a shortlist of 30 artists from 16 countries around the world – finalists span Nigeria, Korea, the United States, Mali, New Zealand and more – Mexican ceramic artist Andrés Anza has been announced as the winner of the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 at a ceremony in Paris’ Palais de Tokyo this evening (14 May 2024). The jury, which comprises leading names from the worlds of design, architecture and journalism, praised the totemic ceramic work on display, titled ‘I only know what I have seen’ (2023), for the way it combines the ‘figurative and the abstract’ with ’architectural intention and precision’. He was presented the award by actress Aubrey Plaza.

The piece is constructed from refractory clay and recalls organic forms with its undulating surface dotted with thousands of ‘spiked protrusions’ – whether cacti or sea anemones – and Anza told Wallpaper* he relishes how people see different things in it. ‘There is something really familiar about it, you can almost tell what ecosystem it comes from,’ he said earlier this morning. ‘But you cannot really tell, because it is nothing. I want people to feel curious about it.’ He will be awarded a €50,000 prize.

Andrés Anza wins the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024

Prortrait of Andres Anza

Andrés Anza

(Image credit: Courtesy of Loewe)

Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson, who began the annual prize in 2016 at the start of his tenure at the fashion house, tells Wallpaper* that each year ’brings up different questions... about the preservation of craft, different forms of craft. I think what was interesting this year was the cross-section that we ended up having,’ he says. Anderson admits the wide scope of the works it did lead to some ‘fraught’ discussions among jury members, who overshot their deliberation time by 15 minutes. ‘It gets heated because everyone has their favourite... there are people who believe in craft as being a certain type of discipline, while others see it as more exploratory and artistic.’

As such, for the first time, there were three ‘special mentions’ from the jury: Miki Asai from Japan, who creates jewellery topped with miniature vessels adorned with tiny shards of egg and sea shells; Heechan Kim from the Republic of Korea, whose bulbous ’#16’ is crafted from delicate strips of manipulated and bent ash; and Emmanuel Boos from France, who crafted a table from 98 porcelain bricks that can each be lifted from the structure individually. In its functionality as furniture, the last, says Anderson, ’marks a break from where we’ve been before, because it encompasses the idea of design as well’.

Close up of ring with miniature ceramic vessels

A special mention went to Miki Asai’s work

(Image credit: Courtesy of Loewe)

‘This year there was a lot of mixing of media,’ Anderson continues, noting a thematic thread that runs through the 30 distinct pieces, which will be displayed in an exhibition at Palais de Tokyo running until 9 June 2024. ‘[Artists were] taking two types of traditional craft and mixing them, which is something we haven’t seen before. [There was also] this continued search for the organic form; to look at object-making through organic forms rather than regimented forms.’

Anderson’s own love of craft, he says, comes from discovering ceramics as a teenager, particularly those by British ceramicist Lucie Rie. ‘I fell in love with a salad bowl that I saw in an auction and then started reading [up on] her and became completely obsessed. There was something for me about the exploration that she did within glazing and form; [it was] was something that I wished I could do.’

Bulbous sculpture made from bent ash

The work of Heechan Kim, which also gained a special mention

(Image credit: Courtesy of Loewe)

Now in its seventh edition, the Northern Irish designer – who continues a busy month having been honorary co-chair of the Met Gala in New York and undertaken a promotional tour for Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers, on which he acted as costume designer – Anderson says that he believes the prize has stimulated a wider interest in craft across the worlds of art, design and fashion. ’Maybe I'm being biased, but I think there’s been a massive change. I used to be able to get Lucie Rie quite easily, now I can’t... I used to be able to get Hans Coper quite easily, now I can’t,’ he smiles.

Ultimately, Anderson sees the prize as a sort of ’incubator of individuals’, a ’family’ of artists that Loewe can call upon when working across different projects. This includes the recent ‘Loewe Lamps’ project, which took place at Salone de Mobile 2024, whereby previous finalists and winners of the Craft Prize were among the 24 artists who each created a lamp for the installation. ’With projects like Salone, or this exhibition, it puts the artisans forward... it’s a bridge to help people,’ he says, noting that such artisans lie at the heart of what Loewe is. ’Craft is the essence of Loewe. That’s where modernity lies, and it will always be relevant.’

The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize runs at Palais de Tokyo from 14 May – 9 June 2024.

Table made from ceramic bricks

Special mention also went to Emmanuel Boos’ work (in foreground)

(Image credit: Courtesy of Loewe)
Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.