25 September 2023

ANU has designs on top Australian awards

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Staff and students at the Australian National University (ANU) made history this Australia Day, redesigning the trophies presented to the Australians of the Year.

A dedicated group of 10 staff and students from the ANU School of Art and Design worked in rotating shifts seven days a week beginning in August last year to produce the 42 glass statues awarded for State and national winners in the awards’ four categories.

The students who worked on the high-profile national project gaining unprecedented professional experience.

The new design features the Southern Cross embedded in the newly configured tessellated body of the trophy.

Head of the ANU Glass Studio, Richard Whiteley said the team kept the basic rectangular shape and light blue colour to represent the Australian sky, but developed this further.

“We wanted to add additional layers to the form to represent the multi facets of Australian society, so we added more tessellations to the body of the trophy,” Associate Professor Whiteley said.

“The national award is larger, and it takes the tessellations from the back surface and wraps them around the sides, so it beaks the structure from the rectangular shape and appears more animated.”

He said the team also wanted to avoid it being a generic statue by embedding a regional location within it.

“We took the image of the Southern Cross, which is iconic for Australia, and subtly introduced that into the back of the form,” Associate Professor Whiteley said.

The ANU is half-way through a three-year agreement to produce the statues for the National Australia Day Committee.

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