OiKo Design Office: “We wanted the new trophy to allow winners to literally grab the identity of the ADCE Awards”

To mark the 30th Anniversary of our Awards, we decided to commission OiKo Design Office to give a new look to the trophies with an improved and more ecologically conscious design. In this interview, Jose F. López-Aguilar and Salva Codinach, Co-Founders of the studio, unveil the images of their redesign, and tell us how it connects with the ethos of their practice.

We can’t wait to see this year’s winners grabbing them and entering the European Hall of Fame! Read all the “behind the trophies” details below.

Before we get into the details of your design and as a little introduction, who is OiKo design, what is your trajectory and vision and what does the name mean?

We are an industrial design studio and materials consultancy. We work accompanying companies in their transition towards circularity and sustainability, both with large brands and with smaller ones from various sectors such as furniture, textiles, packaging… and also with public institutions.

On the other hand, we are also very involved in the trophy sector. It is a complementary activity that we enjoy a lot and at the same time serves as a test bed for the development of new ways of working with materials that we later transfer to other large-scale sectors.

And what does OiKo mean? Well, OiKo is the Greek root for ecology, but also for economy and it means home.

The shape you have given to the new trophy keeps the reference to ADCE characteristic Star but includes the A of the Awards, which gives depth and a sort of motion to the trophy. How was the conceptualising process?

As a concept, we were very inspired by the campaign for the exhibition of the winners, which featured the outline of the logo and an image inside. What we did was change the image to a photo of plastic waste. And from there the idea began taking shape.

On a formal level, in previous editions the trophy was based solely on the star, but when we grabbed it we felt that it was not very touch-friendly, the irregular surface did not invite us to hold it comfortably and lift it with joy. That is why when prototyping the volume of the complete logo with the A you mentioned, we saw that the ergonomics improved very notably. We wanted the new shape and size of the trophy to allow winners to literally grab the identity of the ADCE Awards.

The choice of materials, and particularly the use of waste are key to your practice. Why did you opt for 100% recycled plastic?

Our mission is to ensure that there is no plastic waste anywhere. At the same time we consider that every place is good to incorporate a little piece of trash turned into a treasure. And of course, in this case, we had a good opportunity to continue experimenting with recycling and to be able to offer another step in the development of a new technology and a new aesthetic around the material.

Where does the plastic come from?

In this case, the plastic is HDPE from the selective collection of rubbish, specifically from soap and detergent bottles. In fact, the trophy smells like soap from the remains that inevitably get impregnated in the waste. Plastic comes from everyone’s houses.

Are there any details from the prototyping or manufacturing process you’d like to highlight?

The manufacturing has been through an extrusion process in which we have tried to standardize a typical failure of this type of industrial process that is known as “dispersion”. The industry seeks homogenization and identical repetition of results, while we seek the opposite. It is a complex process, but at the same time interesting to make the manufacturer understand that you want him to do it “badly”, but always just as “bad”, by making him reproduce in a controlled way what he calls a “defect.” We can see this “failure” in the rings that emerge from its interior and are seen in the upper part of the trophy.

It is unlikely to want to get rid of a trophy, but can these trophies be recycled?

The trophy is as recyclable as the waste it is made of, because in the transformation process we have not added any material that could spoil its perfect life cycle. It is made from 98% recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable. That remaining 2% corresponds to the color additives that we have incorporated to represent the different categories and that do not pose any problem to their recycling or in terms of toxicity since they are all validated for food packaging.

You are not new to the art of designing trophies. Have some of your past experiences influenced the way you approached this project?

The truth is that we have created almost 100 trophies so far and all these experiences have contributed and influenced each other somehow. In this case, we probably have a very clear precedent, which has been the LAUS Award, although in the end the type of design, material, and manufacturing process have actually been very different. While the Laus was made by injection and we were looking for a texture with a more classic appearance (similar to a stone), in this case we have used extrusion and a different gloss finish. What they have in common, as we said before, is that in both designs we have sought to standardize and normalize something that the industry considers failures. In our aesthetic exploration, we discovered that the discontinuities of the surface and inside, the dispersion defect the manufacturers wanted to avoid, added a fascinating aesthetic dimension. We think it gives the trophy a non-plasticky look and we liked that as a concept: it allows us to elevate a material made of garbage to the category of a noble material.