5th Officine Saffi Award

Submissions for the competition to promote contemporary ceramics is open until November 9, 2023.

The competition is looking for works by outstanding artists, designers and artisans working with the medium of ceramics. Participation in the competition is free of charge. The main prize is 10,000 euros in the form of a purchase for the Officine Saffi collection. A prize for young artists sponsored by “Four Arts” is endowed with 5,000 euros. In addition, there are six residency prizes developed in collaboration with important international institutions.

The competition is open to individuals or collectives of all ages, geographical origins and professional backgrounds. The works of the 25 finalists, selected by a jury, will be shown in an exhibition that will open in early 2024 in the premises of the new headquarters of the Officine Saffi Foundation in Milan. At this event, an international jury will announce the winners.

Exhibition view of the 4th Officine Saffi Awards. © Officine Saffi.

The Officine Saffi Award promotes talent, experimentation and research in the field of ceramics and provides a platform for meetings and exchanges between artists, the public and institutions. The theme of the fifth edition is “(un)known territories”. It is about the meaning of the term “territory”: a familiar place and a place of discovery; sedimented matter in constant transformation; a narrative device that connects personal and collective cultures and histories. The 25 finalist works, selected from the submissions by a panel of judges, will be evaluated by a jury that will meet in Milan on the occasion of the exhibition opening and awards ceremony.

Entries are open from July 4 to Nov. 9, 2023, on the Fondazione Officine Saffi website. officinesaffi.org

At the 4th Officine Saffi Award the Milanese artist Michele Guido was represented with the work Andricus Dentimitratus. © Officine Saffi.

“The need to feel rooted to the land and, at the same time, the urge to discover other real or imaginary places has always characterized both man and ceramics. Whether alone or in the company of their creators, ceramic works will continue to travel, carrying with them traces of their place of origin and passing on meanings, stories and images along the way. I believe that in the contemporary context it is important to reflect on this capacity of the medium to be at the same time itself, the territory and the other,” explains Laura Borghi, President of the Fondazione Officine Saffi.

The Officine Saffi Award redefines the interpretative horizon of ceramic creativity in each edition and promotes a broad perspective, which is reflected in the composition of the jury and the panel, according to reports from Milan.

Tumble the Norwegian designer Falke Svatun called his competition entry for the 2nd Officine Saffi Award. © Officine Saffi.

Officine Saffi Award 4, Turi Heisselberg Pedersen from Denmark took part with Sculptural Shape. Photo Ole Akhoej.

Jury and panel

The two panels bring together profiles from different backgrounds, generations and professional fields: from curators working in museum institutions to independent critics and key figures in publishing, art, the art market, design and crafts.

The jury includes: Alberto Ríos De La Rosa, Curator, Fundación Casa Wabi; Cristiano De Lorenzo, Managing Director of Christie’s Italia; Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, President of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo; Emanuele Farneti, Editor of La Repubblica and door; Alberto Cavalli, General Director of Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, Executive Director of the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Crafts; Valentina Ciuffi, curator and creative consultant; Salvatore Arancio, artist; Sequoia Miller, chief curator and deputy director, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto; Krzysztof Lukasik, designer and artistic director; Laura Borghi, president, Fondazione Officine Saffi; François Mellé, executive director, Fondazione Officine Saffi.

The panel is composed of: Debika Ray, editor of Crafts and freelance journalist; Valerio Capo & Sam Pratt, FUMI Gallery; Garth Johnson, curator of ceramics, Everson Museum of Art; Meaghan Roddy, senior design and ceramics auction market specialist; Geertje Jacobs, director EKWC; Reinhold Ludwig, publisher and editor-in-chief of Art Aurea; Irene Biolchini, art critic and curator; Laura Borghi, president Fondazione Officine Saffi.

A feature on the mission and life of Laura Borghi will appear in Art Aurea, Issue 53, Fall 2023, end of August.