Sharif Pendleton is known for the zipcode keychains he produces in his studio at Cherry Street Pier for his business, P.L.A.I.D. (It stands for Philadelphia Laser and Industrial Design.)
His latest design is something different: A new and completely reimagined Barrymore Awards trophy.
The Barrymores, presented by Theatre Philadelphia to actors, directors, costume designers, and other theater professionals for outstanding work on local stages, are sometimes called Philadelphia’s Tony Awards. And until now, the trophy that was given to winners closely resembled the Broadway counterpart, too. Both were silver discs.
For the 25th Barrymore Awards on Oct. 14, the organization wanted "a departure from the original,” Pendleton said, and turned to him for "an award to cherish like artwork and put on display.” (They didn’t need to turn far: His studio space at Cherry Street Pier is directly beneath theirs.)
Pendleton brainstormed with Theatre Philadelphia staff, looking for something that represented Philly, but not too obviously. A trophy shaped as a key was considered and dismissed. Likewise a lightning bolt.
In the end, he went with an abstraction of a skyline where the wooden base of the rectangular award meets the aqua-colored resin top.
The new Barrymore Awards are 9 inches high. The aqua color was selected to stand out from the gold and silver used in most trophies.
The process of crafting a trophy from resin — a viscous material that hardens inside a mold — means each trophy will be slightly different, a nod to the diversity of theater productions in Philadelphia and the individuals involved, Pendleton said.
“I hope people feel like the work that has gone into this award matches what they put out into their work that has gotten them to be the winner.”