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Custom Interactive & Kinetic Awards

We’ve created custom awards in a vast variety of shapes, sizes and styles. They range from realistic to abstract, grandiose to understated, somber to uplifting. Materials have spanned the full spectrum, including bronze, pewter, steel, and crystal, glass, and wood, among many others. While all of these awards are unique, there are basic tenants that each of these custom awards have conformed to. These include a totally unique design that reflects the message and/or imagery the award is intended to convey, a consistency and synergy with the brand of the presenting or receiving organization, an artistic aesthetic, and the ability to elicit a reaction and emotions from the recipient and others viewing the award.

One design element that we have created in a few custom awards helps support all of these tenants: movement. We have designed and produced interactive and kinetic custom awards that have a user-operated moveable component as a central element of the award design. This unique element adds an interactive component to the award, which helps engage the recipient and audience, and amplifies the “wow factor” of the design.

To help illustrate this, below are a couple of examples of interactive and kinetic custom awards we have created for clients.


Red Bull Pay for Performance Awards

One example is a custom kinetic award design we created collaboratively with the design firm Smartfish Group for Red Bull. These sculpture awards were created for Red Bull’s Pay for Performance distributor recognition program.

These unique awards also featured kinetic movement as a key element of the custom award design. The primary design element was a set of moveable, interactive gears that connoted teamwork and synergy. The flat center surfaces of the gears were laser engraved with the Red Bull logo and program details. Each gear cog interacted with the other cogs – when one cog was spun, all of the other gear cogs spun in conjunction. Gears were used in the award as a metaphor for the amount of logistics and planning it takes to move a huge company forward. Each gear cog was equally important as the next; if you removed any gear section of the award, the remaining gears would be rendered static.

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Music City Divot Award

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The first example is an award we created for a design firm called Phear Creative. They commissioned us to create a trophy for an annual Charity golf tournament associated with the Music City Food and Wine Festival. The shape was derived from the "divot tool" used by (respectful) golfers to repair ball marks on the green. The Kings of Leon hosted this celebrity pro-am tournament, and all proceeds were donated to several local charities. Displaying sponsor information was one of the requirements of this design, so we engineered a simple pivot for an internal rotating disc in the shape of a record. The record was engraved with various sponsors/donors, and it tied in some of the musical aspects of the weekend festival.

The 14" tall freestanding divot tool was hollow-cast using rough textured pewter. It was then bronze plated and antiqued, highlighting both the texture as well as the various text elements modeled and cast into the sculpture itself. The record section was cast in satin pewter, and then bronze plated. The record section not only spins, but it is also capable of being removed and replaced each year with a new disc containing that year’s sponsor/donor information. Thus, each year, the client only has to recreate the small record element as opposed to the entire sculpture award – the divot is preserved each year.

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Century 21 Perpetual Motion Awards

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Bennett Awards worked with the design firm MullenLowe to creating kinetic Perpetual Motion Awards for CENTURY 21, the nationwide network of real estate brokers.

The unique design of this award was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s perpetual motion machines. The specific design centered on a spinning wheel sculpture that, while in motion, rotated weighted disks to help keep the wheel spinning. The disks spun within circular openings in the wheel. A recessed cut within each disk keep them secured on the wheel.

The wheel and cylindrical shaft of the sculpture awards were fabricated from aluminum. The finish of these components was bead-blasted and anodized black.

The disks that rotated within the wheel sculpture were also fabricated, and then anodized gold.

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Levchin Prize for Real World Cryptology

Bennett Awards created a set of unique interactive custom awards for the Levchin Prize. The Levchin Prize honors significant contributions to real-world cryptology. Cryptology is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties called adversaries. The Levchin Prize celebrates recent advances that have had a major impact on the practice of cryptology and its use in real-world systems. This recognition award was established in 2015 by Internet entrepreneur Max Levchin, the CEO of Affirm and a co-founder of PayPal. These awards are presented each year at the Real World Cryptology Conference.

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Bennett Awards worked with event organizers to create a unique, interactive custom award design that honored the practice of cryptography and the modern foundation of the Levchin Prize. The award design was a “puzzle” that challenged recipients to solve it. The award design was in the shape of a cylinder, with rotating circular disks that, properly positioned, spelled out “LEVCHIN PRIZE”. Once the disks were in the correct position, the award also revealed a secret inner chamber in the spindle of the cylinder.

The inspiration for this award was loosely based on the Jefferson Disk wheel cypher and a Cryptex, coined from the fictional writings of Dan Brown of Leonardo da Vinci.

While serving as George Washington's secretary of state from 1790-1793, Thomas Jefferson devised an ingenious and secure method to encode and decode messages: the wheel cipher. Codes were an essential part of his correspondence because European postmasters routinely opened and read all diplomatic and any suspect letters passing through their command.

Jefferson's wheel cipher consisted of twenty-six cylindrical wooden pieces, each threaded onto an iron spindle. The letters of the alphabet were inscribed on the edge of each wheel in a random order. Turning these wheels, words could be scrambled and unscrambled.

The initial ideation/design phase (sketching/digital modeling) of this unique award took roughly 40 hours before starting any metal production work was started. The parts were modeled, tested and modeled again until the engineering was right. 3D printed prototypes were then created to confirm feasibility and function before entering into manufacturing. The award, and all its components, were CNC machined from solid billet 7000 series aluminum. The functional (interactive) aspect of the award required a CNC machine process, due to the tight tolerances of the individual component parts and their fit. Each finished award took roughly 6 hours (on several different machines) to fabricate. In the final step of the process, the finish parts were then hard anodized to protect the surface finish.


As always, we would be happy to take a look at your custom award project, and let you know if wood is a good fit for your design!