Heat, me-heat, re-heatSince its inception in 2007, the Prix Émile Hermès has supported innovation and promoted the work of talented young designers whose forward-looking, sustainable approach reflects our evolving society and lifestyles. For the second Prix Emile Hermès, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès has chosen a universal theme touching on one of humanity’s most vital needs: to heat, me-heat, re-heat.
The mastery of heat has been a challenge for mankind throughout the ages. The emergence of the first constructed hearths, some 400,000 years ago, marked the beginnings of human society as we know it. Firelight prolonged the day and held back the night, while the heat of the fire extended summer into winter, allowing men to settle the planet’s temperate and cold regions. The hearth was a source of warmth, fostering better living conditions, providing more hygienic, cooked food and improved methods for the manufacture of tools. Last but not least, the warm, radiant hearth promoted social interaction, communal living, and the rise of modern man.
Closely connected with technological progress, the mastery of fire brought great leaps forward in the 19th and 20th centuries, in the generation, preservation and uses of heat. Mankind has reached beyond the Titan Prometheus, learning how to make the heat we need, for ourselves. By combustion, of course, but also friction, fusion, fission, or the mixing of chemical components... Man has also learned to harness natural, environmental energy sources, through insulation, by constructing dwellings above stables, and latterly through the mastery of geothermal energies, bio-gas, solar and wind power, the rivers and tides.