The SAY Design Commission 2023

Since its inception, The SAY Award has rewarded musical endeavour with artistic creativity. Each year, The SAY Award Design Commission funds a maker to create bespoke prizes for the musicians recognised at The SAY Award Ceremony, celebrating the reciprocal relationship between art and music. Stirling based makers were invited to respond to an open call, with this year's Design Commission being awarded to local maker Brutal Concrete Workshop, tasked with designing 2023's prizes.

Handmade in the shadow of the Wallace Monument in the very heart of Scotland, Stirling-based Stuart Blackman expertly crafts unique forms from low-carbon concrete. As part of The SAY Award's commitment to sustainability, applicants were encouraged to think creatively about making sustainable prizes, focusing on circular designers, ethical considerations and a zero-waste approach. Bucking the trend of traditionally cast concrete, Brutal Concrete creates structures which appear to have been sculpted organically by wind, rain and other natural forces.

Stuart Blackman, founder of Brutal Concrete Workshop said, “It's been a proper invigorating challenge to find a way to push these concrete structures in a sustainable direction. Traditional concrete has a high carbon footprint because of the heat required to manufacture the cement. But these trophies incorporate a new cement alternative made from recycled industrial by-products. This reduces the cement's carbon footprint by up to 80%. ”

The Shortlisted artists will each receive a statuesque concrete totem, bejewelled with recycled glass terrazzo. Sustainability was factored in at every stage of the design and manufacturing process, with the awards being cast in recycled moulds and packed in sustainable presentation boxes. The artists being awarded The Sound of Young Scotland and the Modern Scottish Classic Award will also receive one of Stuart's unique creations, with their awards taking the form of satisfyingly robust concrete and terrazzo bowls. The prize for The SAY Awardwinner will be exclusively revealed at the Ceremony.

In addition to their bespoke concrete totem, each Shortlisted artist will also receive £1,000. The SAY Award Winner will receive a unique creation from Brutal Concrete Workshop, along with one of the UK music industry's largest prize funds of £20,000. Artists including Paolo Nutini, Young Fathers, Joesef, Bemz, Becky Sikasaand more are on this year's **Shortlist,**with each record set to be celebrated at the Ceremony. Previous years' prizes created through The SAY Award Design Commission include ceramic bells, marbled jesmonite arches, and natural slate-veneer cubes.

Brutal Concrete Workshop designs homeware and jewellery using 'contemporary concrete with a sensitive side', resulting in robust, tactile and graceful pieces. Visit Brutal Concrete Workshop's Instagram for more information.

Stirling Council leader Chris Kane said: “Stuart's bespoke trophies look stunning and are concrete proof of the wealth of creative talent in the Stirling area. It's fantastic that The SAY Award Design Commission offers a national platform for local crafters to exhibit their skills.

“Brutal Concrete Workshop has proven to be a worthy successor to Art Futuro - who were awarded the commission last year - with the high-quality submissions from Stirling's creative community giving decision makers a huge selection headache.

“We're only one week away from The SAY Award taking place right here in Stirling and we can't wait to welcome artists, fans and industry representatives to our city for one of the biggest nights of the Scottish music calendar.”