Design Plays (hair)Ball

Design Plays (hair)Ball

posted on 01/13/2014 by Debbie Designer

Another year, another Mubadala World Tennis Championship, am I right? For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this important tick of the annual clock, the Mubadala Championship marks the beginning of the global tennis season. Each year six of the world’s top tennis players head to Abu Dhabi to compete instead of celebrating New Year’s Eve like normal drunk people...

And this, my friends, is the Mubadala trophy, brought to you by Lasvit:

Photo courtesy of Lasvit

Now, I know right now you’re asking yourself, “What are you showing me here, Debbie? Some sort of upside-down beehive wig? The amber mold of a terminal-length gnome beard?” 

Close. Perhaps a look at Lasvit Art Director Maxim Velcovsky, the designer of this year’s frophy, will make things a bit clearer: 

Photo courtesy of Lasvit

"The inspiration for this trophy was sand, which surrounds the Emirates,” Velcovsky said, while lying through his hair-surrounded teeth. “I was fascinated by the concept of enlarging and studying sand under a microscope, observing the many layers and shapes, which are themselves, already minute sculptures. I used these structures as inspiration in the trophy’s stylization.”

“Many layers and shapes,” you say? Please, go on… 

Believe it or not, this is not just a one-off fluke, but the fourth consecutive year Lasvit sponsored the design of the trophy, always following that trusty mantra, “lather, rinse, repeat as needed.”

In 2012 we saw the “Flames of Motion” trophy, designed by James Woods, voice of Hades in Disney’s Hercules:

(left: Hercules, 2007; right: courtesy of Lasvit)

2011 brought us the surprising work of none other than Carrot Top:

(left:; right: courtesy of Lasvit)

And who can forget 2010, when Lions’ Quarterback Matthew Strattford took time out from the busy NFL season to get in touch with his creative side: 

(left:; right: courtesy of Lasvit) 

But really, I can not stress it enough: This year, Lasvit have truly outdone themselves.

And yet, while we all know this trophy is inspired by Velcovsky’s hair, Lasvit appears to be blissfully unawares. “The trophy was created using a glass-blowing technique,” the company’s press release explains, as if written for The Onion. “A glass blower with a pipe stick adds grain after grain upon each other, much like an ant building it’s nest.” 

Yes, just like a nest.

It is worth noting that Lasvit’s stated mission is “to transform glass into breathtaking light and design experiences.” All of Lasvit’s previous trophies were made of glass, and almost all glass is made from silicon dioxide (fancy speak for sand). What’s more, Lasvit’s huge collection of work, while frequently ripe for sand metaphor, leans toward the stunningly gorgeous and not hair-like at all. 

(left to right: Solaire Ressort and CasinoRitz CarltonTrident Bandra Kurla 

So how could this otherwise respectable design brand be pulled astray like so many bangs in ball pit?

Image: Mike Renlund/Flickr

This and several other important questions remain: Who exactly is this Mr. Maxim Velcovsky? Is there such a thing as too much volume? And, more importantly, what’s in it for Rogaine? 

Coincidence? I think not. Photo:

Answers don’t come easy, but we do know that prior to becoming Art Director at Lasvit, Velcovsky was Art Director at Qubus Studio in Prague. (Some designers wear many hats over the course of their career, but in this case, only one seems to fit.) While there, he earned the title “Designer of the Year” in the 2007 Czech Grand Design Awards

To be fair, Velcovsky is an interesting and talented young designer, and Lasvit is a manufacturer with a long history of beautiful design. As you can see in this video of Valcovsky explaining the project, it was a clearly labor of love. But as we all know, in tennis love means nothing. 

But let’s end on a high note for the new year, shall we? And raise our totally not hair-like sand containers to a toast: Cheers to Novak Djokovic, the lucky winner of the 2013 Mubadala World Tennis Championship! You’re a good sport. 

Ursas Café

Products Used

  • Blinds/Window Treatments: Bali
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  • Electrical/Electronics Distribution: Square D
  • Floorcoverings: American Olean; Shaw
  • Furniture: Architex; Lowenstein; Momentum; Northwood
  • HVAC: Rittling; Semco; Tuttle & Bailey
  • Life Safety/Security: SimplexGrinnell
  • Lighting: Ardee; d'ac; De Majo; Eurolite; Halo; Tokistar
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Ursas Café, Washington University, St. Louis, was submitted by Mackey Mitchell Associates.