BE OPEN Made in … India Competition

Create the ultimate Indian object for our future, using traditional handicrafts

Due to a fantastic response from Indian design schools and by popular demand, BE OPEN is extending the deadline for submissions to 28th April 2014.

The competition is open to all students enrolled at a recognised design school in India.

BE OPEN, the global philanthropic foundation that fosters innovation and creativity, is launching a “Made in … India” competition to seek out and platform the best new thinking about product design in India.


Students are being asked to present a very detailed description of the design and build for an object that could be anything from an everyday, household item to a luxury one-off in one of five categories: furniture, home accessories, home textiles, fashion and fashion accessories. The idea is to bring innovative thinking, techniques and materials to object design, reinterpreting traditional skills to create something that has contemporary, global appeal.

The competition criteria follow the theme of BE OPEN’s “Made In…” project which will seek out and platform creative talent around the world, applying robust business thinking to design production: craft and craftsmanship need a re-brand, a holistic marketing concept that will give them global appeal. “Made in… India” is an intensive program that includes the exhibition Samskara in Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the discussion panel “The future of making in a globalized world”, featuring worldwide experts on craft and luxury market and two competitions, challenging Indian students and the global users of social networks to offer their visions of the country, both through proposals for new products and through images representing India’s past, present and future.

An international jury for Indian design school competition will be looking for projects that not only demonstrate skilful craftsmanship, but an understanding of how to collaborate with other disciplines to produce objects that challenge our preconceptions about traditional craft and making.  Products will be assessed in terms of quality and their blending of the best of Indian handicrafts with contemporary techniques and appropriate use of local materials, such as silver, copper, stone, wood, bone, cashmere and cotton.

Curator of BE OPEN’s educational platform, Inside the Academy, Roberto Zancan, says: “’Made in … India’ will show how traditional material and traditional techniques can be used to create the ultimate in contemporary and exclusivity.  We’re going to be looking for innovative approaches to making, for instance, designers using unconventional materials to produce everyday objects, reinterpreting a typology and making us think differently, for instance tableware made in silver and marble; kitchen implements made using bone or copper.”

As a member of the jury, Sunil Sethi says: “What  ’Made in … India’ and this competition hope to do is challenge preconceptions about Indian product: it doesn’t have to be cheaply and poorly made; it doesn’t have to be highly decorated or colourful.  India’s contemporary designers can turn the stereotype on its head by using the wealth of craft skills and materials at their fingertips.”

The other members of the jury are: AD India editor, Manju Sara Rajan; Dezeen founder and editor-in-chief, Marcus Fairs (UK); fashion director and writer, Tiziana Cardini (Italy); and designer Tokujin Yoshioka (Japan). They will select one winner in each of five categories, each of whom will receive 1500 USD.

A presentation about the awards has been held during the launch for BE OPEN Made in … India at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi.

Competition entry is free and open to all Indian design students. To apply visit or write to,


BE OPEN is a global initiative to foster creativity and innovation, a think tank whose mission is to promote people and ideas today to build solutions for tomorrow. It is a cultural and social initiative supported by the Russian philanthropist, businesswoman and entrepreneur Elena Baturina, behind who stands an international team.

The foundation was launched in April 2012 during Milan Design Week, with the goal of becoming a bridge between the great minds of our time — philosophers, sociologists, designers, architects, urbanists, artists, writers, businessmen and opinion leaders — and the promising new minds of the younger generation.

Founder Elena Baturina says: “We engage with people across all platforms – the arts, science, education and the media – as we believe that the most innovative discoveries are made where these disciplines meet.”

BE OPEN is developing its work through exhibitions, events and panel discussions in the world’s design capitals, including, to date, Milan, Basel, London and Miami. The Foundation has also launched the Inside the Academy programme, an extensive educational platform offering support to young creatives, students, schools and universities through an awards scheme, a master class program and a ranking system.


Tokujin Yoshioka is one of the most influential designers of our time. He graduated from Kuwasawa Design School. Before establishing his own office in Tokyo, in 2000, he worked for Shiro Kuramata and Issey Miyake (for whom he has been creating boutique design for more then twenty years).  Tokujin has worked with leading brands ranging from Hérmes and Swarowski, to BMW and Lexus and is known for iconic designs such as Heaven by Cassina, the Kartell’s series The Invisibles and the Cloud sofa by Moroso.  He has gained worldwide renown for his spectacular space installations, which include work for brands such as Cartier.  Key Tokujin products are held in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Vitra Design Museum, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and MoMA, New York.  Tokujin was named Maison & Objet Creator of the Year 2012, Elle Deco International Design Awards Designer of the Year 2009 and Wallpaper Design Awards Best furniture designer 2008.

Sunil Sethi, Made in … India creative advisor

Sethi champions India’s handmade product globally.  He is the President of the Fashion Design Council of India, representing 350 Indian designers.  Sethi founded his own fashion-sourcing agency for Western brands entering India, Alliance Merchandising, in 1988. The company has Armani Casa, Crate & Barrel and Anthropologie among its clients, overseeing product development and buying in India. Since 2002, he has taken more than 25 Indian fashion designers on to the global stage, selling their products under their own brands to notable stores such as Selfridges, Golf & Co, The Conran Shop, Habitat and Coin.  Sethi is now senior vice president of the home furnishing and handicrafts multinational Li & Fung Group, which has a sourcing network of 70 offices across 40 countries.

Tiziana Cardini was an editor and stylist on fashion magazines for many years, as well as a fashion director at Amica and Italian Glamour.  In 2007, she was appointed fashion director of Rinascente by CEO Vittorio Radice.  Cardini is responsible for scouting new fashion and design talent, as well as keeping the brand-mix vibrant and up-to-date.  She works closely with visual artists to create profile-raising events, drawing on her background in architecture and knowledge of contemporary art and design.  She still nurtures her lifetime passion for the world of fashion media by contributing to Italian Vogue and to their online magazine,, writing on new designers and reviewing the international fashion shows.

Manju Sara Rajan was appointed Editor of Architectural Digest in India in 2011, when the Condé Nast title launched. Architectural Digest India aims to be a change-maker in the lives of its readers. The editorial content includes photo spreads of the best homes in the world, feature stories on the latest trends and people in design plus advise on practical solutions for home improvement. Formerly the Features Editor of Vogue India, responsible for the fashion magazine’s culture, lifestyle, and travel sections, Rajan began her media career with Time magazine in Hong Kong, before relocating to India as a correspondent in the international news magazine’s New Delhi bureau. She left Time in 2004 and moved to Mumbai to work with The Indian Express, and later Mint, as the Deputy National Features Editor of the business paper. She was also part of the team that launched OPEN, the national news magazine by the RPG group.

Marcus Fairs, Founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen

A furniture design graduate, Marcus began his journalism career writing for publications including Blueprint, The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday and Conde Nast Traveller. He launched icon, the international architecture and design magazine, in 2003, and edited the publication until November 2006. Under Marcus, the magazine rapidly established itself as one of the world’s most influential and respected design journals, winning a string of awards including Launch of the Year and Designer of the Year in 2003 and Monthly Magazine of the Year in 2005 and 2006. Marcus himself has won numerous awards, including Journalist of the Year (2002) and Architectural Journalist of the Year (2004). He won a BSME award for Best Brand-Building Initiative in 2005. He also regularly appears on radio and TV, writing and presenting a documentary about French designer Philippe Starck for the BBC in 2003 and appearing in the major BBC series Home in 2006. An accomplished public speaker, Marcus has spoken at conferences in London, Tokyo, New York, Stockholm and Cape Town, among others. Marcus lives and works in London.