Kebony and the University of East London announce winner of 2017 sculpture competition



Kebony, a beautiful wood recommended by leading architects, partnered with the University of East London to provide BA Fine Art and Architecture students  and graduates with an opportunity to examine and discover the inherent qualities of Kebony by developing their own proposition for a sculpture. Ian Bennett was announced as the winner for his sculpture, ‘The Reimagined Tree’ in which the edges of machine cut Kebony planks have been angled to enable five panels to come together to form a pentagonal cylinder, synonymous with the form of a tree trunk and the ‘golden ratio’ that is often found in nature.

Following submission of a concept proposal, five students were shortlisted and invited to create a small model of their design. These models were then presented to a well-respected judging panel on Monday 4 December in London. Each model was carefully examined by the judging panel which comprised: Thomas Hoegh, Chairman of the Board at Kebony and Founder of Arts Alliance; Professor Simon Robertshaw, Dean of the School of Arts & Digital Industries at the University of East London; Michael Pinsky, a member of the University’s staff sculptural artists; David Morris, Director of Design Exchange and Susie Allen, Co-curator of The Line and Founding Director of Artwise Curators.


The shortlisted students produced an impressive range of Kebony models which were assessed against their originality, innovative use of Kebony wood, project viability, clarify of vision and relevant to the brief. The visible natural wood grain of the wood directly inspired the pattern of cut outs, resulting in a lattice effect comparable to intertwining branches. Michael Nash was announced as the runner-up for his innovative and intricate designs which explored the twists and turns of tree trunks, branches and twigs in both upright and fallen forms.


Ian Bennett, has now been afforded the opportunity to create his model to scale with ongoing guidance and support from both Kebony and the University. On completion, the model will be unveiled and exhibited in a Central London location, at which point Ian will then be rewarded with a cash prize from Kebony.


Professor Simon Robertshaw, Dean of the School of Arts & Digital Industries at the University of East London commented: “I would like to start by congratulating our winner, Ian Bennett, on creating an inspiring and innovative proposition for a sculpture. I would also like to thank Kebony for supporting this competition, in partnership with the University, providing students with an opportunity to enhance their skillset and explore the impressive qualities of this material.”


Thomas Hoegh, Chairman of the Board at Kebony and Founder of Arts Alliance added: “On behalf of Kebony and the judging panel, I would like thank all the candidates that took part in this competition. The quality of work presented to us was of an extremely high standard and the students have successfully demonstrated the unique intricacies of the Kebony wood. It has been a real pleasure being part of this process and I can’t wait to see Ian’s finished article. This vision of how a ‘reimagined forest could see the light of day’ resonated well in his proposal.


Ian Bennett, Student at the University of East London: ‘I am both pleased and excited to have been announced as the winner for this project. I very much look forward to working with Kebony and creating the full scale version of the model.”


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