Eye on the prize: Hublot Design Awards 2016 winner revealed

Swiss industrial designer Christophe Guberan
Swiss industrial designer Christophe Guberan picked up the 2nd Hublot Design Awards 2016 Prize. Here’s our overview of this year’s winner and nominees…
(Image credit: Christophe Guberan)

This week, Hublot announced the winner of its Design Prize: 31-year-old Swiss industrial designer Christophe Guberan. Only in its second year, the Prize comes with a substantial and potential career-changing CHF100,000 winner’s fee. As he stood up to collect his award at the ceremony held at the Hublot manufacture in Nyon, Switzerland, Guberan looked just the right side of stunned.

The intentions of the Prize are to give designers in mid-career the kind of push – and breathing space – that can take them from final prototype stage to commercial fruition. As Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO Hublot put it: ‘The idea of this award is to help designers go from talent to success.’

This year’s jury included Pierre Keller, a former director of the Centre of Contemporary Art in Geneva, Marva Griffin Wilshire – founder and curator, Salone Satellite, French industrial designer Ronan Bouroullec, and Lapo Elkann, the New York-born Italian entrepreneur Fiat family scion and president of sunglasses brand, Italia Independent. Elkann, also a regular Hublot collaborator, praised Guberan for going beyond product ideas to have ‘a vision for the future, which we hope will be implemented.’

That mid-career focus of the Prize also results in an interesting nominee line-up because there’s always a familiar name in there and some of the designers have been winning prizes for years. This year, the quality of work and thinking on display bodes well for this young awards scheme.

In both terms, Guberan was the standout winner. Currently working with MIT Media Lab in Boston, his fascination with and exploration of fabric and textile design chimes with the watch industry’s longstanding dedication to materials development. ‘I was surprised to win because I’m not creating objects,’ Guberan said as he accepted the award. ‘I am experimenting.’ His aim, he says, is ‘not to wait for the industry to present me with materials to create with, but to create new materials for the industry’.

Active Shoes Fold Picture By Christophe Guberan

Christophe Guberan: Having become interested in exploring the character of different materials while studying architectural drawing, 31-year-old Guberan joined the industrial design course at ECAL, the Lausanne Universtity of art and design

(Image credit: Christophe Guberan)

Upper Shoe Picture By Christophe Guberan

Christophe Guberan: He has since worked with Alessi, Google and USM. Having started collaborating with MIT, he now lives in Boston, where he works in their self-assembly lab

(Image credit: Christophe Guberan)

Melanie Georgacopoulos Portait

Melanie Georgacopoulos: A jeweller with a background in sculpture, London-based Melanie Georgacopoulos was at the forefront of the wave of new fine jewellers making pearls contemporary again

(Image credit: Melanie Georgacopoulos)

Japanese fine jewellery

Melanie Georgacopoulos: In the role of head designer at Tasaki, a Japanese fine jewellery label, Georgacopoulos devises new ways of wearing the precious material

(Image credit: Melanie Georgacopoulos)

Sebastian Herkner portrait

Sebastian Herkner: This creative studied product design at HfG Offenbach am Main, while an internship with Stella McCartney in London, did much to refine his understanding of materials, colour, structure and textiles

(Image credit: Sebastian Herkner)

Bell Table For Classicon

Sebastian Herkner: He founded his own studio in Offenbach am Main in 2006. Herkner's collaborative credits include Cappellini, ClassiCon, Dedon and Fontana Arte

(Image credit: Sebastian Herkner)

Suzuki Keita portrait

Keita Suzuki: A Tama Art University graduate, Keita Suzuki created the Product Design Center in Tokyo in 2012. Mobility, transport and electronics are key themes in his product designs

(Image credit: Keita Suzuki)

Wooden cupboard and phone

Keita Suzuki: His array of prizes includes the iF Design Award, the Red Dot Design Award and the Good Design Award

(Image credit: Keita Suzuki)

Yota Kakuda portrait

Yota Kakuda: Born in Japan Yota Kakuda headed for London in 2003 where he completed his MA at RCA. Internships at Shin, Tomoko Azumi and Ross Lovegrove followed

(Image credit: Yota Kakuda)

Two wooden chairs

Yota Kakuda: In 2008, he retuned to Japan to join Muji as a product designer before establishing Yota Kakuda Design in Tokyo

(Image credit: Yota Kakuda)

Ifeanyi Oganwu portrait

Ifeanyi Oganwu: Having studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Ifeanyi Oganwu did stints in the studios of Zaha Hadid, John Ronan and Hussein Chalayan

(Image credit: Ifeanyi Oganwu)

Galerie Armel Soyer

Ifeanyi Oganwu: In 2003, he worked with structural engineering firm Adams Kara Taylor in the Parametric Applied Research Team, which fully formed his integrated materials design style

(Image credit: Ifeanyi Oganwu)

Felipe Ribon portrait

Felipe Ribon: French-Colombian designer Felipe Ribon is preoccupied by environmental design and its impact on wellbeing. He has collaborated with Bouroullec Studio and created the ‘Osmos’ fragrance diffuser with goldsmith Nicolas Marischëal

(Image credit: Felipe Ribon)

Four metallic balls

Felipe Ribon: His signature is technological experimentation in the search for wellbeing. Among his many design prizes are the Design Parade Audience Prize in 2009 and 2015’s Liliane Bettencourt Prize

(Image credit: Felipe Ribon)

Julie Richoz portrait

Julie Richoz: Another ECAL graduate, French-Swiss artist Julie Richoz, whose designs play with perceptions of space, started her career with the Pierre Charpin studio before establishing her own design studio in 2012

(Image credit: Julie Richoz)

One metallic bowl

Julie Richoz: The winner of the Grand Prix at the Design Parade in 2012, she received a Swiss Design Award in 2015

(Image credit: Julie Richoz)


For more information visit Hublot’s website

Caragh McKay is a contributing editor at Wallpaper* and was watches & jewellery director at the magazine between 2011 and 2019. Caragh’s current remit is cross-cultural and her recent stories include the curious tale of how Muhammad Ali met his poetic match in Robert Burns and how a Martin Scorsese Martin film revived a forgotten Osage art.