A Spiky Ceramic Figure Snared the 2024 Loewe Craft Prize


Jonathan Anderson‘s passion for craft ignited at age 21 when he discovered the work of British potter Lucy Rie, noted for her experimentations with glazes.

“I fell in love with a salad bowl,” he recounted on Tuesday, hours after heated jury deliberations yielded the winner of the 2024 Loewe Craft Prize: Mexican ceramicist Andrés Anza, whose arresting totem of spiky blobs — falling somewhere between figurative and abstract — scored him a 50,000-euro award.

The jury also handed out three special mentions which reflected divided opinions — and the variety of form, scale and material across the 30 finalists, whose works are on display at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris until June 9.

They are Miki Asai of Japan, whose eggshell rings resemble vessels set on hollowed-out tables; Heechan Kim of South Korea, who bound bent ash wood into what looks like a heap of bread dough, and Emmanuel Boos of France, who stacked 98 glossy and hollow ceramic bricks into a low-slung coffee table.

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Emmanuel Boos created this ceramic coffee table.

Courtesy of Loewe

Anderson, head of the 12-member jury and creative director of Loewe, said he was struck by “the continuous search in craft for the organic form” among this year’s contenders, as well as the “mixing of media, taking two types of traditional craft and mixing the two.”

The shortlisted artists hailed from 16 countries and regions, and submitted designs in materials including ceramics, woodwork, textiles, furniture, paper, basketry, glass, metal, jewelry, lacquer and leather.

In Anderson’s estimation, interest in craft is steadily on the rise, its popularity fueled by social media.

“When you look at TikTok or Instagram and things like that, people are fascinated,” he said. “I think people find it therapeutic to watch people make things.…Some of our highest performing videos are people making something.”

He said he’s continually astonished by the number of people working in the craft field; this seventh edition of the Loewe-sponsored competition attracted 3,900 submissions.

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Miki Asai’s unusual rings, made with eggshell, paper, wood and other materials.

Courtesy of Loewe

“There’s been a massive change in in craft,” said Anderson, who collects ceramics. “I used to be able to get Lucy Rie quite easily. Now I can’t. I used to be able to get Hans Coper quite easily. Now it’s impossible. So there is something happening in the commercial sense of it. There is a different appreciation for these objects.…There seems to be a change in how we see hierarchies within artistic practices.”

Anderson has big ambitions for the Loewe Craft Prize, noting the Spanish luxury house, now owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is behind one of the most important poetry prizes in the Spanish-speaking world.

He said the craft focus helps “Loewe be quite grounded as a brand. As a company, it’s the one thing that unites everything.”

Founded in 1846 as a Madrid-based leather-making collective and supplier to the Spanish royal crown, Loewe has in recent years evolved into a fast-growing global luxury brand steeped in contemporary culture.

Meanwhile, the Loewe Craft Prize has become an important springboard and calling card for winners and shortlisted artisans alike.

Germany’s Ernst Gamperl, the victor in 2016, has since been the subject of “huge retrospectives in giant museums” and is highly collected by top institutions, Anderson noted.

The brand hosted a cocktail party Tuesday to inaugurate the exhibition, with many of the shortlisted objects placed on plinths covered in silvery ceramic tiles, heightening their precious nature.

Asked if he has a secret craft skill beyond the fashions and accessories he designs for Loewe, Anderson confessed, “I do a lot of gardening. And I always think that there’s a there’s an element of craft involved.”

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Heechan Kim made this vessel with ash wood and copper wire.

Courtesy of Loewe



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