News & Views

Nova Awards / Winners

by Contagious Team

Lowe and Partners Nova Award winners announced, celebrating top graduate talent at Central Saint Martins, London

Luke Franklin's epic 4 Bothies project was awarded Lowe and Partner's Nova Award at a ceremony hosted at the Royal Society of Arts in London last night. The project saw Franklin and his friends create four places of refuge, hidden around Ireland. Each of the bothies serves a different purpose - a gallery, a study, a library and a studio. Franklin is inspired by the idea of art as a 'gift to the world that grabs people, inside and outside of the art world, and re-affirms the power and ability of art.' He explains the project in the video above. 

Franklin told Contagious: 'The fact that the award came from Lowe and Contagious justified a huge part of the logic behind why I wanted to do the Masters in the first place. I have my career in advertising, I spend my days directing commercials for McDonald's and Sainsbury's and all sorts but there's so many new ways of talking to audiences now that we need to look at new kind of projects not just TV, Press, Radio.

'It's that obsession with broad audiences that will bring this bit of art to a wide, wide audience. I have to shape the project in a way that makes sense in a Fine Art world but at the same time I have to be able to explain it to the ferry man that brings us over to the island and have him excited and into what we're doing.'

Runners up were Colin O'Dowd's Stix project, for his design of a kit to make wooden toys such as a dinosaur, plane or dog, which can only be completed by finding the perfect stick to form part of the toy and James Beatham's work Proposed Solo Show, which saw the artist imagine future exhibitions of his work on Mars in the form of a virtual gallery and model.

The Contagious Nova award went to Shinji Toya for his piece Abstract Painter No. 3. Toya developed an algorithm that takes his original painted artworks and randomly selects, crops and layers them to create entirely new pieces, projecting the results on the wall of the gallery as they are produced. More than a million permutations can be generated by the algorithm, producing abstract artworks outside the artist's control.

As he presented the Contagious Nova, our co-founder Paul Kemp-Roberston praised Toya for his 'grasp of technology and his insights into the tension between control and commodification and the very modern tussle between art and algorithm.'

Keith Weed, Unilever's chief marketing officer, presented the Unilever Magic Award to Amy Radcliffe. Scent-ography, Radcliffe's winning work, created for her MA thesis in Textile Futures, sets out to capture and preserve scents in an accessible way. Weed also commended the 'excellence that Central Saint Martins stands for - there's a huge visual part of building brands. It's a combination of magic and logic, art and science.'

Kemp-Roberston said: 'I genuinely mean it when I say that being part of the judging panel on the Nova Awards is one of our favourite tasks of the year. It is liberating and inspirational to step outside of the crazy corporate bubble and to be able to absorb such a feast of ideas, energy, innovation and surprise. It's like an alchemists' lair. As an outsider, walking in to Granary Square, you can feel all the creative atoms bouncing off the walls. We don't feel like judges. We feel like kids in a sweet shop.'

The best creative work at Lowe was also celebrated in the Azul Award, which went to Lowe Brindfors for its Facebook-based work, Bullying Simulator.  

View all the shortlisted work here.