Famae Challenge collaboration with Martin Hill

3 min readMay 17, 2021
Martin Hill, “Kanuka Sphere”, 2011 (Size: 500 x 1500 x 1500mm)

This year, for its 4th edition of the sustainable innovation competition, the FAMAE Challenge decided to collaborate with New Zealand artists, Martin Hill and Philippa Jones.

About the artists :

The New Zealand artists Martin Hill and Philippa Jones have been collaborating for nearly three decades creating ephemeral sculptures and land installations, which Hill photographs. Their images speak to their concerns for sustainable design and circular systems, urging us to recognise that we can learn to adopt nature’s processes.

As a designer, Martin Hill developed a holistic perspective, and came to understand that faulty design was what was causing social and ecological unsustainability. He decided to use his ‘design-thinking’ to address this problem and its potential solution. The artworks examine the difference between destructive linear human systems and nature’s restorative cyclical systems.

Hill and Jones’ twenty five year global project FINE LINE comes to fruition now as an artistic evocation of the interconnectedness of the circle of life on earth. A symbolic line encircling the earth connects 12 environmental sculptures made and photographed in some of the world’s wildest places. The sculptures returned harmlessly to nature after being photographed.

Kanuka Sphere :

The photo we chose is the one of the Kanuka Sphere sculpture which was made on the shores of Lake Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand where the artists live and work. The concept behind the Kanuka Sphere sculpture is that everything in the biosphere is interconnected and interdependent, expressed by the intertwining of the sticks. The half sphere reflecting in the water refers to the fact that water makes up a great percentage of earth’s surface and without water there would be no life.

Sustainable regenerative innovations are fundamental in the transition to an ecological civilisation in line with the operating principles of life on which we rely.

Why they use circles ?

They use universal symbols to express their ideas. By making ephemeral sculptures in nature that return to nature, the creating of the sculptures mimics natural systems that operate in a circular way without creating waste: Everything dies and becomes food or energy for something else.

Why we chose to use a photo of Kanuka Sphere to illustrate our 4th edition of the FAMAE Challenge ?

The spherical aspect of the structure refers to the Earth, but also to the circular and sustainable economy, working in a renewable and cyclical way. The notion of innovation is thus induced by the lines that come together, composing the sculpture in the image of a spider’s web in the process of creation. These interconnected lines can refer to the multiplicity of imaginable innovations and ideas that can emerge within a web of interconnected innovators, a planet with infinite resources. The shape is also reminiscent of an igloo and links to the theme of sustainable construction. The water also refers to the themes of energy and mobility.

Photograph Martin Hill. www.martin-hill.com




FAMAE is an independent family foundation that supports innovation in the field of environnement