SAY Award 2020

For the second year running the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award have collaborated with Local Heroes to commission an exciting design talent to create a trophy for the prestigious music prize. Local Heroes curator Stacey Hunter selected Glasgow based architect and designer Rekha Barry to create the eye catching prizes which will be presented to the overall winner and 9 shortlisted artists of The SAY Award 2020 on Thursday 29th October. Entitled Triumph, the striking arches are cast in black and white marbled jesmonite with a smooth polished finish and also double as a candle holding table centrepiece.

Speaking as the awards are revealed Local Heroes Director Stacey Hunter said:

“I came across Rekha’s designs earlier in the year and they stopped me in my tracks. It’s unusual to see new work that feels really original and fresh. The SAY Award is such a fun, celebratory commission. The music is always so great and the people making it very much deserve to have their achievements recognised with a bespoke, considered and eye catching prize. I knew Rekha would respond to the brief with a piece that the winners will love.

This is our second year curating the Design Commission and I wanted to think about exploring the idea of an item that was decorative and functional with a bit of heft to it and a finish that was luxurious. I asked Rekha to consider a new piece of work that could happily sit on the mantelpiece of the winning artists’ but could also be brought down to act as a centerpiece for a dinner party. With the candles in place it will create the perfect mood for an evening of conviviality. I think that helps to remind us that there are better days ahead where we can enjoy sharing music, food and each other's company again.”

Photo of Rekha Barry, standing in front of a staircase decorated in painted carrots
Rekha Barry, photo by Robin Currie

Speaking about the design Rekha Barry said:

“Being asked by Local Heroes created a brilliant challenge for me, as the intention was for it to have a dual purpose - both award and candle holder. I wanted to create something which was a celebration of the musician’s achievements, and felt great to hold but also was a functional piece of design anyone would be happy to have in the home.

Thinking about how an artist might feel when they’ve been shortlisted for The SAY award, I immediately thought of triumph. A triumphal arch is a great reference for me as it is a piece of architecture and a sculpture at the same time. I would like to think that my designs can also be found between these two things. Coming from an architectural background, my first point of reference is always buildings. I am influenced by the forms and proportions of classical architecture and creating modern interpretations of this.

I was also inspired by The SAY Award 2020 host city of Edinburgh. Archways are the perfect motif for expressing this city and can be found everywhere. The material I use (jesmonite) when buffed and polished, gives an amazingly smooth stone-like feel which is representative of the city’s fabric.”

The SAY Award design commission is the latest project from Local Heroes Design, the curatorial practice started by Stacey Hunter to celebrate and champion Scottish design. Exhibitions have included Made in Glasgow, Scottish Design at Edinburgh Airport and the First Minister’s Local Heroes Collection as well as commissions working with designers such as Trakke, INSTRMT, Laura Spring and RISOTTO.

Photo of Triumph by Rehka Barry, black and white marble trophies in the shape of L’Arc de Triomphe, on an orange background

Wielding a £20,000 prize for the winner, 9 runner-up prizes of £1,000 each and a design commission which highlights the enduring links between music, art and design in Scotland, The SAY Award is respected by artists, valued by the industry and is responsible for both a surge in musical discovery and an explosion of impassioned debate on social media. Placing artistic merit before sales history, genre or record label affiliation, The SAY Award dispenses with categorisation, opting instead for the creation of a bold, unifying platform from which Scotland’s most outstanding albums – across all genres – can be celebrated, discovered and championed.

Hilary Goodfellow Event and Supporters Manager at Scottish Album of the Year Award said:

“The SAY Award is a celebration of the incredible creative talent making music in Scotland, but of course it isn’t just music that Scotland excels at -  we are also a nation recognised internationally for outstanding creativity in art and design.  Since The SAY Award’s inception, we have sought out talented designers to create bespoke prizes for all our Shortlisted artists, and we are delighted to continue to partner with Edinburgh based design curators Local Heroes on our Design Commission.

This year, Local Heroes year introduced us to the work of architect and maker, Rekha Barry. Rekha’s strikingly simple, monolithic design for this year's award is both functional and sculptural. Given the global climate crisis, we appointed Music Declares Emergency as our charity partner, and have embedded sustainability at the core of everything we do. Rekha was asked to give consideration to sustainability at all stages of the design and fabrication process, and we are delighted with how well her jesmonite sculptures fulfil the brief, with gypsum, the main material in jesmonite, being one of the world’s most abundant natural resources. We also extend our thanks to Sweetdram for their  continued support which facilitates the Design Commission and enables us to continue to reward creativity with creativity.”

To attend this year’s virtual event broadcast from Summerhall in Edinburgh at 7pm on Thursday 29th October and to view the Scottish Album of the Year Award 2020 shortlist visit:

Follow Rekha on instagram @rekha_maker
Follow Local Heroes on instagram @localheroesdesign
Follow SAY Award on instagram @sayaward

Photo of Triumph by Rehka Barry, a black and white marble trophy in the shape of L’Arc de Triomphe


About Rekha Barry

Rekha Barry is from Liverpool and moved to Glasgow in 2008 to study at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. After completing her diploma and a year of study at UdK in Berlin, she worked at Keppie Design and was an assistant to Turner Prize nominated artist Nathan Coley.
In 2016, she moved to Anderson Bell + Christie Architects, an employee owned business and has been there ever since. Her work focuses predominantly on social housing and more recently, community-based work, such as an annexe for Community organisation Kinning Park Complex in Glasgow. Starting rekha_maker has allowed Rekha to explore architectural themes and fun sculptural designs on a small scale.

About Local Heroes

Local Heroes is a curatorial agency led by Stacey Hunter that connects audiences with contemporary Scottish design and craft. Known for being design obsessives, we pioneer new formats for exhibitions and events and develop projects with partners in the cultural and commercial sectors. We use unconventional and inventive sites and spaces to bring the work of designers and makers to a wider public.

By creating new design-centered experiences, showcases and exhibitions, Scottish design and craft can be enjoyed by people at home in the UK, and internationally through design fairs, festivals and biennales.  Our mission has always been to sustain and catalyse opportunities for designers and put design from Scotland on an international stage.

About SMIA

The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) is a membership organisation and innovation agency which exists to represent and develop Scotland’s music industry. With a sharp focus on common rather than competing interests; a commitment to communicate and cooperate across all areas of the industry and, above all, a determination to deliver services, projects and a programme of events that are both meaningful and of benefit, the SMIA is inclusive, positive and progressive; meeting need, realising potential and encouraging ambition.

As part of Creative Scotland’s Regular Funding Network 2018-21, the SMIA is tasked with delivering a pioneering innovation-led development programme, designed to help nurture business talent and build infrastructure in Scotland’s music industry. For further information on the SMIA and its services, projects and events please visit