'Awards matter a lot,' says Rodrigo Solorzano of his most recent – the BORN Fashion prize for 'Distortion', an articulated clutch bag the Mexican-born, London-based product designer created with Naoki Kawamoto for Bao Bao Issey Miyake. 'So when we got the list of the other BORN Awards winners, it was incredible to be part of it.'
That list presents a niche mix of emerging talent and established design names – Argentinean architect Marcelo Joulia and horological maestro Jean-Claude Biver, current president of TAG Heuer, among them. It’s a guest list in keeping with the vision of BORN founder and finance whiz Jean-Christophe Chopin whose aim when launching the global BORN crowdfunding initiative six years ago was to bring small businesses together with leading entrepreneurs and creatives.
Alongside Solorzano and Kawamoto was British designer Tom Evans, recipient of the Technology & Innovation Prize for his beautifully graphic suite of wearable technology devices for fledgling parents. Italian heritage cycle brand De Rosa and car design firm Pininfarina, meanwhile, picked up the Sport & Leisure award for their meticulously crafted, superlative racing bike.
Land Rover's Gerry McGovern, who designed this year’s award – and who was also here to launch the first Land Rover open-top, the Evoque Convertible – was Born Awards 2016’s president of the jury. The designer was visibly delighted to oversee the creative frisson permeating the cosy confines of Joseph Dirand and India Mahdavi’s sleek mountain mansion, L’Apogée Courchevel, where the Awards took place.
But then, there were smiles all round because, as Solorzano says, 'That young designers with not much experience can share these awards with big design names is really important. The Bao Bao Issey Miyake project was our first big collaboration, so this is a very nice prize.'