Making the Abercrombie Awards

Every three years Plymouth City Council hosts the awards to celebrate the role of architects, designers and building companies in shaping the city. The awards, which were named after the architect responsible for the plan to rebuild Plymouth after the Blitz, takes a look at a huge range of work from small conversions and projects to transform open spaces to multi-million pound housing or business projects.

'Thank you again for being so easy to work with through this process, you made it really easy from start to finish (although I'm sure it wasn't for you!!) and the end product was such excellent quality. Everyone was exceptionally pleased, it's something that stands out rather than being just another piece of glass to stand in a display, people will really want to display them.'

Cherokee Mahoney, Plymouth City Council 

Img 3581

Cherokee Mahoney, Plymouth City Council

The awards were designed by Jason Marks of Fab Lab Plymouth ( They were made by Fab Lab Plymouth and the glass artist Amy Whittingham (glass artist and technician at Plymouth College of Art). 

Features of distinction from each selected building or space were used as starting points to develop a series of bespoke awards. After initial concept sketching on paper the designs were drawn up in Rhino 3D (a computer aided design program). These designs were then 3D printed at the Fab Lab. Amy Whittingham was subsequently able to take these prints, make plaster moulds from them and cast the printed forms into glass. The glass forms were then finished, sand blasted and polished. The text was drawn up in Adobe Illustrator and from this stencils were cut from vinyl. The text was then etched onto the glass awards and, finally, the glass was mounted onto a hardwood base.

The awards are a combination of traditional craft practice and the the latest digital design and fabrication methods and techniques. Given the short lead time between the selection of the Abercrombe Awards winners and the presentation ceremony this was a challenging commission, but we are delighted with the results and we look forward to working with the Council again.

23331264 1584205298267699 1654754418968104939 O
23331333 1584205451601017 8310265752606464133 O
Img 3580

Working with Plymouth's Karst Gallery

We were approached by Plymouth-based contemporary art Producer Vickie Fear to assist artist Claire Fontaine and the Karst Gallery in the production of the artwork 'UK (Burnt /Unburnt)' which formed part of the Exhibition 'We The People Are The Work'. They wanted a large map of the UK, that would span four 8ft by 4ft flameproof mdf sheets and consist of 58.000 holes! Vicky explained that the plan was each of the holes would hold and a match and that during the private view of the work these would be lit! 58000 match sized holes is no problem for our large 8ft by 4ft CNC router, we set to work preparing the cutting file and then started machining.

UK (Burnt/Unburnt), (2011-17) is a map of Great Britain composed with matchsticks planted into the wall and subsequently ignited. The aspect of the shape of the country once burnt becomes a shadow that keeps in itself the marks and the traces of the extinguished fire. Conceived by the artist Claire Fontaine as the trace of an action that we witness in the aftermath, as a sign of a tragedy that we perceived too late. This work whose form is at the same time a painting (made by the fire), a sculpture (of the remanence of the matches) and a video (showing the action of the burning in the space), acts as a strong disturbance of the white cube: its pungent smell invades the space and incongruously brings a sense of danger and precariousness to the visitors


'We The People Are The Work' was envisioned to be:

  'a poetic and emotional exploration of our feelings during unstable and trying times, it suggests that the events unfolding across the planet are the cause of the climate change inside our souls'

We The People Are The Work' is presented by PVAPG (Plymouth Visual Art Programming Group), a partnership between The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, KARST, Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, Plymouth Arts Centre and The Box, Plymouth. It is part of Horizon, a collaborative two year programme of visual contemporary arts, funded through Arts Council England's Ambition for Excellence fund and led by Plymouth Culture.


Fab Lab Plymouth at the Tate

Fab Lab Plymouth’s contributed to the Factory Settings Tate Exchange event by working with PCA artists to create installations and artworks to respond to artist Clare Twomey’s theme of production.

With a pallet of corrugated card and a laser cutter, we set to, to design and create spaces and installations to house the artists work. Various structures and pieces of temporary furniture were created, most in the wonderful medium of corrugated card!

18 Express Yourself Day2 Website
15 Worker Playing Day1 Website
16 Booth Selfie Day1 Website

A group of pre-degree students worked with the Product Design tutors to design and create a conveyor belt, turning babies into tin cans. Produced on the Fab Lab’s CNC router.

9 Kid Engagement1 Day2 Website

Henrietta Pane’s Tea Enclosure gave visitors the opportunity to reflect on their experiences of the exhibition whilst enjoying a nice cup to tea.

16 Man Tea Day2 Website

Are you a local artist looking incorporate digital manufacturing processes into your practice, or are you just interested to learn more about Fab Lab processes? If so give the Fab Lab a ring, or drop us an email. We are always keen to work with artists.

Click here for Fab Lab Membership details

01752 203434 ex.298