Social hero award design gets New York touch

The Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (IMSHA) are returning this year with 170 nominees in 12 categories for organisations and individuals who will find out if they won on December 17.

Chris Parry [Left] working on the trophy design
with T.P. Har in the latter's workshop studio
With the success of the inaugural IMSHA last year, the organisers invited former New York-based graphic designer and founder of Johor Green, Chris Parry, to design the trophy for IMSHA 2015.

The inspiration for the design feature with a faceted surface, was from how Iskandar Malaysia Sustainable Communities (IMSC) described its mission to build a social economy that showed individual geometric shapes representing different units of social capital, aggregating and forming a larger structure.

“It is a modern form, referencing the geometric sculptures of early 20th century artists like Giacometti and Brancussi, but also artisanal with a large amount of handwork so that each finished product is slightly different,” said Parry.

T.P. Har in the process of creating the trophy prototype
“These concepts convey Iskandar Malaysia’s aspirations to be a modern metropolis but one made up of individuals, each being different and unique,” he added.

A great deal of thought and research went into the 13-inch IMSHA trophy design to make it a decorative piece recipients would be proud to display, with an indent just above the base to allow them to hold it aloft easily.

With a passion for the environment, Parry felt that it was absolutely necessary that the trophy should be made of natural and local materials and crafted by a local artisan in Johor.

To this end, Parry worked with T. P. Har of Har Woodcraft & Art Co, an expert in furniture and wood turning, who has had a studio workshop in Taman Universiti since 1994.

Har was a crucial part of the design process in his ability to cleverly repurpose his woodturning equipment to create the angled shapes and when a prototype was made from rubber wood, he worked with Parry to shape it further into its final form.

A sample of the trophy created from
local rubber wood for IMSHA 2015
IMSHA, under the patronage of Malaysia’s 5th Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Hj Ahamd Badawi, was formulated to identify, recognise and celebrate individuals, organisations and groups who are making a difference in our community.

IMSHA also aims to raise awareness of the need for all to share the responsibility in working towards a more inclusive, compassionate and effective society.

This award was the brainchild of the IMSC Framework, a public-private partnership of Iskandar Regional Development Authority’s Social Development Division and Iskandar Malaysia’s official newspaper, The Iskandarian.

The award categories are for Arts, Culture and Heritage Preservation, Animal and Wildlife, Disaster Relief, Education Advancement, Environmental Preservation, Health Services, Human Empowerment, Poverty and Hunger Relief, Public Safety, Corporate Social Responsibility Awards, Social Innovators and Active Duty and Veteran Services.

Nominations are analysed and rated against a ‘social impacting rating’ system by an independent technical committee, Frost & Sullivan, with the results finally vetted by a Leadership Council.

A version of this was published in The Malaysian Insider on 14 Dec 2015

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