A big number
The Tang Prize is deemed to be the ‘Asian Nobel Prize’. The award for exceptional achievements in science and social policy was launched by Taiwanese-Chinese businessman, Dr. Samuel Yin. It was awarded for the first time in 2014.
Yin launched an international design competition to create a valuable and artistic medal for the award with 61 selected designers taking part. These contestants included Günter Wermekes, recommended by the ‘Design Zentrum’ North-Rhine Westphalia. The international panel selected him and his designs as one of the ten finalists. “It took me two days to really digest this news,” Günter Wermekes says, explaining how proud and happy he was. And he still is today.
The skilled goldsmith and designer drew inspiration from Asian architecture and historic clothing items in his design. “My prize medal resembles an Asian symmetrical dress which smoothly links the front and back of the medal. The reverse features pictograms which symbolise the individual categories of the Tang Prize. Laboratory glassware with flasks represents biopharmaceutical research. A tree stands for sustainability. A cartographic depiction of China and Taiwan represents sinology (Chinese studies). And an open book reflects the rules of the law. Günter Wermekes chose the ‘Kaiti’ font which was very popular at the time of the Tang Dynasty. The packaging: a flat box made from high quality walnut wood with a contrasting red felt lining.
Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa was selected as the winner. However it was a win for Günter Wermekes all the same: “It was a crazy time, a big number which is hard to describe in just a few words”.