Hip to be Square: Behind the EBie Award Trophy

Despite the Herculean efforts by building managers, operators, owners, and other professionals to transform entire buildings into structures that are eco-friendly, sustainable and cost-effective, often the only recognition for these achievements is a lower utility or water bill. This is why Urban Green Council created the EBie Awards three years ago: to recognize the men and women who did the work to transform existing buildings into something more lean and green. And to properly honor these impressive efforts, we worked with world-class artists and designers to create an award that’s a marvel in its own right.

Like the buildings they’ve helped to transform, the trophy that EBie winners receive might seem simple to the naked eye. It is not made of precious metal, isn’t very large, and isn’t particularly flashy—in fact, it is one of the simplest of shapes: a cube. But like our finalists’ buildings, the EBie trophy quickly reveals itself to be far more complex and beautiful upon closer look. According to the man behind the award’s design, Mark Pernice of Young Professionals, the goals at the outset of the this project were to create “something beautiful in its simplicity, something familiar but progressive, of the earth but ethereal, organic in material but not in aesthetic.”

The trophy achieves this through an elegant combination of form and composition. The design features a sharp, asymmetrical penumbra reaching from three of the cube’s corners toward a single point. Holding the award in your hand, the effect of this shadowy asymmetry is striking: the award seems to stir from within as it is viewed from different angles. This is because “the award design is about how different people approach similar challenges, with totally different solutions,” says Pernice.



Aesthetics aren’t all that set the EBie trophy apart, of course. It had to be green, so Pernice and award fabricator Dave Marin of the New School looked outside the box to create their cube. Rather than using petroleum-based resins or epoxy to build the trophy, the designers chose Super Sap as its primary material. (Glass was also considered, but it was triple the cost).

Produced by Entropy Resins, Super Sap is sustainable both in terms of its source materials (Entropy uses radio carbon dating to verify the renewable content of their products) and in its production. Thanks to green chemistry, production of Super Sap manages to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over conventional petroleum-based epoxies. This, along with Super Sap’s toughness, has made it a hit among environmentally-conscious entrepreneurs in the extreme sports arena. It is used in everything from surfboards, to snowboards, to racing bikes.

The finished product is proof that being green doesn’t mean cutting corners. When cast for the trophy, the epoxy takes on a smoky, almost luminescent look that seems lit from somewhere inside. By combining sustainability with beauty, the EBie trophy designers have created something that seems more like an art piece than an award.

The EBie trophies also reflect the hard work and innovation of our finalists, who will be coming from California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, and elsewhere across the country on June 9th to see if they won.

The EBie Awards are a fun and inspiring celebration of great sustainability work on a range of projects; tickets are available here.