‘The challenge was to keep the design on the border between control and loss of control,’ says British designer Simon Hasan of the leather and brass Panerai Challenger Trophy he’s created. Influenced by the craft of boat building and luxury Italian watchmaker Panerai’s classic yacht, the ‘Eilean’, built in the famous Scottish boatyard Fife in 1936, the process of making the piece embraced both ancient craft and industrial processes.
Better known for his furniture and accessories, including the ‘Wing’ table, with its exquisite hand-stitched leather top, and ‘Wrap’ glassware, Hasan – who recently took on the post of creative concept manager at David Collins Studio – became involved in the project because of the synergy that Panerai noticed between his approach to materials and the age-old skill of ship-building.
‘I wanted to focus on themes of change, flux and growth,’ says Hasan. ‘I didn’t want the trophy to look like a yacht or a sail – I was more interested in working quite fluidly.’ ‘It may sound cliched,’ he adds, ‘but the trophy was inspired by the human spirit’. ‘It’s a theme which could be applied to the experience of sailing and to the tenacity of the young sailor who was to receive the award.’
That deserving young sailor is 11-year-old Bradley Pedrick from Cornwall. The Panerai Challenger Trophy was created by Panerai, together with The Royal Yachting Association, to promote the power of sailing in positively impacting young people’s lives. The initiative funds grants to young individuals that have overcome physical, economic or social challenges to achieve significant milestones.
Pedrick started sailing at Polkerris Beach, the training centre that nominated him for the award, just a year ago with his school, and has thrown himself into the sport, despite having a lot to contend with. As a three-year-old, he had his leg amputated below the knee due to a rare condition; at just seven, he had to have kidney surgery and then, shortly afterwards, he suffered serious burns in an accident. He has nevertheless learned not just to sail, but to put on a wetsuit over his prosthetic leg, carry his own kit down the beach and work with, and help, others.
As well as the trophy by Hasan, Pedrick received a grant of £5,000 to continue his development in sailing. Polkerris Beach will also receive a grant of up to £10,000 to purchase new equipment that further supports junior sailors.
For Simon Hasan, meanwhile, thoughts of sailing are being replaced with those of air travel. The designer is finishing the production specifications for new placemats for the Upper Class Suites on Virgin Atlantic’s new A350. He hopes you’ll be able to see them on every Virgin flight from 2020. He’s also turning his attention to more innovative work. ‘I’ve just sent some new pieces out to GARDE in LA, Cibone in Tokyo and The Future Perfect in New York,’ he reveals. ‘There’s plenty going on!’ simonhasan.com
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