The World Food Prize sculpture was created by world-renowned designer Saul Bass. Its basic, handsome design has stood as a symbol of The World Food Prize since its founding.
As Dr. Norman E. Borlaug’s dreams of The Prize materialized in 1986, its founding organizers sought a distinctive, commemorative piece to bestow upon World Food Prize Laureates.
A.S. "Al" Clausi, who served as the first Chairman of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors, was familiar with the work of designer Saul Bass. The artist had been hired to design a new logo and other pieces for the General Foods Company, where Clausi served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development.
In addition to his work as a graphic designer, Bass had made a name for himself as a master of film title design. He designed movie posters and title tracks for noted directors including Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese.
Confident with his reputation and pleased with the work he had done for General Foods, Clausi contacted Bass to design a commemorative piece for the fledging World Food Prize. Bass’ only direction was to incorporate a bowl into his concept.
Several months later Bass presented the founding members of The World Food Prize with an earth-colored stone bowl made of alabaster, resting on a slate base, with a pewter sphere sitting in its center. From the sphere a wedge was removed, and the exposed interior was cut with a leaf design.
The piece was exactly what The World Food Prize founders had hoped for. They rationalized that the sphere symbolized the world; the leaf design, its food; and the bowl, the nourishment of its people. Thus, the piece was a fitting commemoration for the work of the World Food Prize Laureates.
Today, each World Food Prize Laureate receives a hand-crafted sculpture meticulously crafted to Bass' original design in addition to a cash prize. Although the first three sculptures were given in wicker baskets lined with red satin in accordance with the original design, this was later seen as unnecessary. Today the award sculptures are presented free of adornment.
Although Bass passed away in 1996, his concept for The World Food Prize will undoubtedly endure for generations.
Read more about artist Saul Bass.