New Award for the Design World

BE OPEN is launching a Young Talent Award to scout out emerging designers and give them support whilst they develop their work. This is part of the foundation’s Inside the Academy strand, their innovative approach to supporting creative education, accompanying students from study through to professional practice.

Founder of BE OPEN, Elena Baturina, says: “Most design prizes are created to celebrate a career. BE OPEN’s Young Talent Award is about championing tomorrow’s creative leaders, seeking out and incubating new talent. Our aim is to showcase brilliant young designers and integrate them into the working world, bringing their thinking to life. We want this award to become a reference point in the career of every ambitious young designer and to enliven the debate around the quality and potential of contemporary design“.


The Young Talent Award will give an annual grant of €24,000 to support one designer a year’s day-to-day living expenses, so that he or she can continue to work at their own pace, experiment with both practical and conceptual projects and discuss their ideas for production with key contacts supplied by the BE OPEN community, including manufacturers, laboratories, industry professionals, experts and mentors. Candidates can be undergraduates, but should be in the transitory phase between academia and professional life. They should be able to demonstrate sound design capabilities, but will be judged on their potential, rather then on work achieved to date. Mentions will also be made online of a people’s choice winner, voted for through BE OPEN’s website.

Each year, a theme that connects to BE OPEN’s activities will be set to guide the jury’s choice. This year the theme is North/South/East/West, with a focus on industrial design and its remit to improve on functionality and form. Since the essence of this project is to promote and integrate young designers into the working world, the jury will be mainly comprised of industry professionals and experts who will each propose a shortlist (three to five names) that reflects the year’s topic, ie for this first year, industrial design. The jury for 2013/14 comprises: Elena Baturina, Jay Osgerby, Sofia Lagerkvist, Shay Alkalay of Raw-Edges Design Studio, Giulio Cappellini, Giorgio Galli.

Jay Osgerby says: “It is incredibly hard to establish oneself in any creative field, no more so than in the design world. This Award will make it possible for some of the best young creatives to be not only recognised, but helped along their way. It is always fantastic to meet talented young designers and it has been an honour to be a part of an award that sets out to nurture the next generation.”

The first winner will be announced during Milan Design Week in April 2014.

5.5 Design Studio (France), Joao Abreu Valente (Portugal), Sherry An (USA), Elie Ahovi (France), Anton Alvarez (Chile), Bombay Atelier (India), Maarten de Caulaer (Belgium), Pablo Carrascal (Spain), Spalvieri Del Ciotto (Italy), Andile Dyalvane (South Africa), Cheng-Tsung Feng (Taiwan), Benjamin Graindorge (France), Sebastian Herkner (Germany), Humans since 1982 (Sweden), Hikaru Imamura (Japan), Dan Ipp (USA), Lucie Koldova (Czech Republic), Sanghyeok Lee (South Korea), Kwangho Lee (South Korea), Johan Lindstén (Sweden), Philippe Malouin (Canada), Sérgio J. Matos (Brazil), Studio Mischer Traxler (Austria), Jingjing Naihan Li (China), NoSigner (Japan), Oeuffice (Lebanon), Dennis Parren (Netherland), Amaury Poudray (France), Daniel Rybakken (Norway), Brian Sironi (Italy), Smarthwoodhouse (China), Yuri Suzuki (Japan), Yael Tandler (Israel), Rami Tareef (Israel), Tsai&Fanchiang (Taiwan), Lina Vuorivirta (Finland), Wiid Design (South Africa), Matteo Zorzenoni (Italy), Leonardo Talarico (Italy), Lanzavecchia + Wai (Italy-Singapore).


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, 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. Open calls for submissions, a strong social media and web presence and ongoing research will build the Foundation‘s network, an essential tool in helping find the talented individuals and idea that can create solutions for tomorrow.

Elena Baturina says: “Education is an essential part of what we become as people and as citizens. Choosing the right way to develop one’s talent is crucial and, too often, young people are left with no support to develop their potential. BE OPEN’s aim is to become a partner for students and institutions, to bridge the gap between education and career and accompany young, talented individuals towards a bright future”.

Elena Baturina
Elena Baturina is a successful businesswoman and philanthropist. She has always been involved in charities that prioritise people and their ideas. At the core of her interest there is a deep hope to see the world become a better place by investing in the next generation. In 2012 she set up BE OPEN, a nomadic foundation that travels the world, fostering creativity and innovation through exhibitions, talks and events, with inspirational, future-oriented design as a core theme.

Internationally acclaimed designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby founded their eponymous studio in 1996 after graduating with Master’s degrees in Architecture from The Royal College of Art, London. The pair has lectured internationally and their work is held in permanent collections around the world including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; London’s Design Museum; and the Art Institute of Chicago. Significant recent projects include the Tip Ton chair for Vitra (2011), the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Torches, and a Ј2 coin commemorating the 150th anniversary of the London Underground in 2013.

Sofia Lagerkvist is one third of the all-female design practice Front. A well-established name on the design scene, they have created products for leading brands and galleries worldwide. Front’s works are based on the everyday and often communicate a story about design and products in our daily life. Collaboration is an important part of their work. They have, for example, worked with robot engineers, chainsaw sculptors, magicians, glass blowers, electro engineers, snakes and pyrotechnicians, amongst many others.

Raw-Edges is a London-based design studio founded by Israeli designers Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay. Since their graduation show at the Royal College of Art in 2006, they have received several highly respected awards including: The British Council Talented Award; iF Gold Award; Dutch Design Award; Wallpaper* Design Award 2009; and the Elle Decoration International Design Award for furniture 2008/09. In 2009 they were named Designer of the Future at Design Miami/ Basel. Their works have been exhibited internationally and can be found in the permanent collection of MoMA, New York and other museums.

Named one of the ten most important trendsetters in the world by Time Magazine, Giulio Cappellini (b 1954) is an architect and art director, but is perhaps best known as a talent scout for international design. His name is synonymous with furniture and objects that are both beautiful and practical, realized by himself and by a portfolio of international designers. Cappellini products are held in key collections around the world, including: MOMA, New York; MOMA, San Francisco; the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; the Museum Fur Angewandte Kunst, Cologne; The V&A Museum, London; the Centre George Pompidou, Paris; the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Rome.

Giorgio Galli’s 20 years of success can be attributed to his passion for graphics and design, a strong ability to create identity and develop image enhancement projects and a strong understanding of technology. Giorgio’s career began in the United States with Lucasfilm in San Francisco, where he learnt a new technological approach to graphic design and branding. He then became art director of the Swatch Lab in Milan, personally designing hundreds of watches that quickly achieved recognition and awareness in the marketplace, helping to create the Swatch prodigy in the early 1990’s. Year after year, Giorgio developed a unique expertise and soon he created his own company, initially founded with the 21 Investimenti.

Alvarez is a Swedish-Chilean designer based in London and Stockholm. He graduated in Product Design from the Royal College of Art. He studied fine art and cabinet making before completing an Interior Architecture and Furniture Design course at Konstfack, the University College of Arts, Craft and Design in Stockholm. Alvarez’s work focuses “on the design of systems and the creation of tools and processes for producing products”. Anton is attracted by post-industrial culture and do-it-yourself techniques. He creates mechanisms that “join different types of material with glue-coated thread, binding the objects together without any nails or screws”. His projects have been exhibited at the Design Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Design Miami/ Basel, Art Brussels and Salone del Mobile.

5.5 designers was launched in 2003 by four French designers. Their first project, «Réanim», which introduced the idea of the designer as doctor, bringing discarded objects back to life, had a strong impact on the design world. Far from focusing only on creating objects, 5.5 designers bring a conceptual rigour and permanent questioning to bear on what it is to be a designer, developing convincing alternatives to consumption. Their individualistic approach, tinged with both humour and simplicity, attracts clients from luxury to mainstream markets: they have worked with brands such as Nespresso, Baccarat, LaCie, Oberflex, Bernardaud, Centre Pompidou, SABZ and La Corbeille. Their work has been exhibited and acquired internationally. They were awarded the Grand Prix de la Création by the Paris City Council after just three years in business.

Valente is a Portuguese product designer who currently lives and works in Lisbon. He studied Product Design at the Faculdade de Belas-Artes de Lisboa and Contextual design at the Design Academy Eindhoven. “Today, the expression “form follows function” is no longer a representative statement of the design world,” states Abreu Valente. “The shift has gone toward a more honest materialization of design thinking – in other words, the process.” “For me the end design of a product is less important than the process that precedes it. Therefore, in Process – The Performance of Matter, the approach is focused on the moment of transformation itself,” continues the designer. “This research explores the idea of a “liquid process”, essentially seeking a more fluid way of working. The question of whether an object could produce another object was the starting point of the research process, in which every action had a functional relevanc»

Ahovi’s overriding philosophy is: “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” (Albert Einstein). A graduate of the International School of Design of Valencienne and the ICAM School of Engineering, Ahovi has worked with high tech companies such as Microsoft, Xbox, Dell, Salomon and Oxylane. He is passionate about “big cities, boomboxes and pancakes”, as well as technologies that can be used in futuristic projects such as a marine drone to deal with plastic rubbish that collects in the sea, low energy washing machines and game boxes. In all these projects Ahovi “tries to apply an industrial design method based on users, developing powerful tools to answer different challenges”. He currently works at studio MINIMAL, Inc., Chicago.

An studied Industrial Design as an Art and Design major at the National Taipei University of Education. After graduating from college, she attended the Pratt Institute, New York, to complete a Masters in Industrial Design and gained a further Masters in Furniture Design at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadina. Sherry is now an award-winning designer in her own right.

Fazin Adenwalla founded Bombay Atelier in Mumbai in 2012, a furniture studio that follows a minimalist, contemporary design ideology. Adenwalla is herself a graduate from the school of Architecture and Design, Victoria University, New Zealand. The studio works with Indian craftsmen to create unique, handmade pieces, using quality materials to create timeless that fit into any surrounding. Adenwalla says, “The furniture I offer is long-lasting, of excellent quality and completely worthy of the price it comes at. Contemporary and minimal is my and thus Bombay Atelier’s style and while we are not averse to customisation, we only design and create furniture that matches our ideology.”

Maarten de Ceulaer studied design at the Sint-Lukas Hogeschool in Brussels. Attracted by conceptual and narrative design, he continued his studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven. A strong passion for travelling inspired his graduation project ‘A Pile of Suitcases’, which was immediately picked up by the renowned Milanese gallery Nilufar, who commissioned an entire collection based on the concept. De Ceulaer has attracted international attention for his highly evocative, poetic and playful approach. He was the Belgian Young Designer of the Year 2007, in 2009 The New York Times mentioned him as one of the 5 young designers to watch, Fendi selected him for Design Performance at DesignMiami 2012, and in 2013 he received the prestigious Henry Van De Velde award for Young Talent. He has exhibited worldwide, including: Moss (New York), Mint (London), Galerie BSL (Paris), Victor Hunt (Brussels), Stedelijk Museum ‘s Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), Lodz Design Festival (Poland), Design Miami/Basel and Design Days Dubai.

Partner at kawamura-ganjavian and studiobanana, Carrascal lives and works in Madrid and Lausanne. He graduated with a Masters in Design at IED School of Design (Madrid), where he also start to teach. In 2011 he joined kawamura-ganjavian, an award-winning studio that works across product and furniture design, ephemeral architecture, interiors, and building projects, with ingenuity and comfort as equally important drivers. Studiobanana’s focus is on producing intelligent, everyday objects. Their ethos is that there is a need to find new ways of communicating, working and relaxing, bringing fun into the functional.

Valentina Del Ciotto and Simone Spalvieri graduated respectively in Interior Design and Industrial Design at Politecnico di Milano, establishing Spalvieri/Del Ciotto in 2009, an intersection of thought, research and experimentation. Their works are characterized by formal and functional simplicity and, at the same time, by a strong emotional component. They recently won the Top Young Italian Industrial Designers prize.

Born in 1978 in the village of Ngobozana, in South Africa, Dyalvane looked after his father’s livestock and played in the mountains with his friends in the local fields, rivers and valleys. They would gather clay and make clay animals by the river. At that time, he didn’t know anything about firing clay, so ceramics did not seem to be a career option. Now, based in a dynamic atelier, nestled between two oceans at the foot of Table Mountain, Andile Dyalvane and his team create award-winning designer ceramics. Dyalvane embraces the dual currents of cultural heritage and cosmopolitan energy to invent work of sensual beauty for the contemporary lifestyle. The surface treatment of Andile’s ceramics is inspired by an old African traditional called body scarification. It is used for both medicinal reasons and as body adornment. He is also influenced by the strong clean lines and abstract imagery of cubism.

Feng studied Industrial and Commercial Design at the National Taiwan University of Science & Technology, at the Design Academy Eindhoven and at the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology. He works with natural and hi-tech technologies creating objects that range from the esoteric to the highly practical, to improve refugee camps and disaster areas. He has won numerous awards including several Red Dot and Gold Butterfly Awards and his products have been exhibited at Milan Design Week – Salone Satellite – and Taipei World Design EXPO.

Graindorge is recognized as one of France’s most important emerging designers. He graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle – les Ateliers in Paris, before taking up a residency at the villa in Kyoto Kujoyama. His approach is a subtle fusion of technological abstraction, poetry and minimalism: some of his objects “carry the essence of light with grace and elegance”, others offer “a moment of perfect truth”, with objects that range from industrial design to decorative objects. Graindorge has been selected for the Design Parade festival and has won the Cinna Award and the Audi Talents Awards for design. He collaborated with François Bauchet on the scenography for the Biennale Internationale du Design de Saint-Etienne 2010. In 2011 he had his first solo exhibition at the prestigious YMER & MALTA gallery.

Herkner studied product design at the Offenbach am Main University of Art and Design. During his studies he start to focus his interest on “designing objects and furniture, merging various cultural contexts, combining new technologies with traditional craftsmanship in order to highlight the multifaceted beauty of the materials and draw renewed attention to small details”. Whilst still a student, Herkner had an internship at Stella McCartney in London, which helped to hone his feeling for materials, colours, structures and textures. He founded his studio in 2006 in his home town, where he designed products for manufacturers such as ClassiCon, De Vorm, Moroso, Sancal, La Chance and Nodus, as well as working on interior design projects and museum exhibition design. He says “There is a sensitivity and identity to my work that emphasizes the function, the material and the detail. I transport and interpret characteristics from various contexts of society and culture and implement them in new artifacts. This character infuses the most everyday objects with respect and personality. In this manner, seemingly contrary things can experience esteem“

Emanuelsson and Bischoff are the co-founders of Humans since 1982. Both born in 1982, they are interested in interest itself and want to arouse curiosity by creating material hints of how the world might be. They founded their studio in 2008 whilst taking their Masters at the School of Design and Crafts (HDK) Gothenburg. Prior to this, Emanuelsson completed a Master of Science at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Bischoff studied Communication Design at HTWG in Konstanz, Germany.

Hikaru graduated at Design Academy Eindoven in 2011. Unlike many of her colleagues – who prefer to explore their practice conceptually and experiment with materials – the Japanese designer is still focused on work that can effectively service those in need, creating humanitarian design with a sense of irony and pragmatism. Her work includes toys for young patients and rescue tools to supply heat in crisis situations. She says: “You cannot think up a new design unless you observe existing things enthusiastically. By analysing the usage of everyday objects, I can understand why and when they are needed and what I should develop in response”

Ipp was born in New Jersey, in 1988. In 2011, he studied furniture design in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) and graduated in Industrial Design at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2012. Ipp works primarily with wood and metal to design furniture. He has recently been exploring the properties of glass, and how to design with it. In 2012, Ipp won an award for his illuminated glass side table design in Metaproject 02, a Rochester Institute of Technology student design competition, in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass.

Lucie is a product and furniture designer born in Czech Republic. After graduating at Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague in 2009, she moved to Paris and worked with Arik Levy studio in Paris. She worked as a furniture designer and simultaneously continued developing her own creations for various companies. Inspired by cosmopolitan Paris, Lucie established her own studio there in 2012, producing furniture, glass sculptures and lighting: ‘objects of desire’. Her work ranges from household products to conceptual space, urban space, poetic gallery objects and limited editions. Lucie uses cutting-edge technologies to enhance classic craftsmenship, with a focus on fundamental materials such as wood and glass. She likes working with colors, unusual proportions and contrasts, pushing her creations to their limits.

Kwangho Lee was born in 1981 in Seoul. He majored in Metal Art & Design at Hongik University and graduated in February 2007. As a child, Lee remembers watching his grandfather making all sorts of tools out of things he found in and around the house and nearby woods. The house was full of his grandfather’s handcrafted inventions, and this became the inspiration for Lee’s future work as an artist and designer: he began to find, look at and approach things in the way his grandfather would have done, giving new meaning and function to everyday objects and materials. Lee was nominated Designer of the Future at Design Miami/Basel in 2009. He was also selected as Artist of the Year 2011 by the Korean Ministry of Culture. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and his work has been featured in many major design publications worldwide.

Born in Jinju, South Korea, in 1983, Sanghyeok studied at Design Academy Eindhoven and completed an exchange program at Rhode Island School of Design. His projects are mostly related to human experience, such as ‘Listen to your Hands’ and ‘Joy of Cooking Together’. He is interested in how we live with objects, how we treat them, what kind of objects we make for our lives and what kind of living spaces we make with objects. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany, where he founded Studio Lee Sanghyeok. He has received many awards in Europe and his work has been exhibited in Asia and Europe.

Born in 1981, Lindstén studied design in Stockholm and set up the Lindstén Form Studio there in 2008. His work reflects “an unique and distinguished design that creates interest with its unexpected details; this together with a related narrative that justifies the products’ being. The shape and expression combined with function is essential to the final design.” Lindstén sees design as a way of translating emotions and thoughts into physical objects. “It is also an opportunity to influence people’s state of mind by making our surrounding environment more beautiful and joyful”, he says. Several of his products are already on the market, from limited editions that have been sold to museums, to iPad accessories, sound absorbents and furniture.

Philippe Malouin graduated with a BA in Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven and also studied at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris and the University of Montreal. He now teaches platform 18 alongside Sarah van Gameren at the Royal College of Arts. Malouin lives and works in London. After a period with British designer Tom Dixon, Malouin set up POST-OFFICE in 2009, an architectural and interiors design practice. His diverse portfolio includes tables, rugs, chairs, lights, art objects and installations. Recently Philippe won the W Hotels ‘Designer of the Future’ Award and the Wallpaper ‘Best Use of Material’ Award. Philippe’s work perfectly expresses today’s cosmopolitan attitude to design. He experiments with everyday materials, such as MDF, hemlock wood and PVC. His projects translate local (China, Canada, Europe) and cultural (Brutalism, Niemeyer’s architecture, etc.) references into objects that have multiple interpretations.

Born in Paranatinga, Northeast Brazil, Matos has been living in Campina Grande since he began training as an industrial designer, some ten years ago. Sérgio’s first encounter with design was as an intern at a company specialising in mass furniture production in 2004. From here he developed his first collection. He is currently a professor at the same university that awarded him his diploma. Being born in a region near the Xingu reserve, immersed in its culture and surrounded by the diversity of the forest, Sérgio has learned to master and work with natural materials. The colours and materials that he uses reflect Brazilian culture; the concepts for his designs come from memories of the Brazilian countryside, his childhood and the everyday objects he encountered in that setting. Matos says that handcrafting ‘is like an unpolished stone’ that should simply be polished to make it more commercial. His identity, in a regionalism that has characterized Brazilian design for fifty years, reflects the culture, the working techniques, the society’s modus vivendi, the popular celebrations, and environments frequently visited by the artist.

Katharina Mischer (1982) and Thomas Traxler(1981), based in Vienna, develop and design products, furniture, installations and more, with a focus on experimentation, context and conceptual thinking. Working at the interface of craft and technology, they envision whole systems, processes and new production methods that focus on sustainability and the relevance of nature. Part of their Design process is to examine, experiment, analyse and reject. This critical view often questions and affects the relation between producer, object and owner. “Why and what for” are often the main concerns before a new project comes into being, whilst “what if” allows for new interpretations and different possibilities. Their Results often make use of unexpected materials and are often characterized by external inputs, for example the condition of the weather or the usage of the existing. Their work won the Austrian Experimental Design Award 2009, the DMY Award 2009 and was shortlisted for the Brit Insurance Designs of the year 2010 Award. Exhibitions on contemporary Design displayed their projects in Museums including the Boijmans van Boiningen, the Design Museum London and the Triennale Milano, as well as on International Festivals.

Born in Harbin, Naihan moved to Beijing in the mid-80s and spent her childhood amid the explosion of international cultural projects that defined the era. She graduated from Beijing No. 4 High School in 1999 and left for the UK, where she studied design and architecture at London’s Bartlett School of Architecture. Naihan Li and Beatrice Leanza (curator and critic) founded BAO in Bejing in 2006, an atelier for the production and modulation of cultural discourse. Acting by way of an international network of partners and collaborators, BAO’s projects foster new encounters and transversal research across the visual arts, design and architecture, with a particular explorative focus on contemporary Asia. BAO is a unique China-based think-tank for the interdisciplinary investigation, both theoretical and practice-based, of alternative and critical formats of communication and spatial occupation in the urban territory.

After many years of living between Canada, Berlin and Milan, Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte and Jakub Zak founded Oeuffice in 2011, a new research laboratory with a focus on developing innovative, limited edition objects. Their work reflects a common ideal of creating objects inspired by visions of a contemporary Utopia. Collaborating with a Lebanese craftsman who specializes in wood inlay, Oeuffice has created a system of objects that evokes Middle Eastern architecture ornamentation.

French designer Poudray graduated from the School of Art and Design in St Etienne (2009) and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, USA. In April 2011, he worked with the Fabrica design team for a year, the research and communication centre for the Benetton Group in Italy, in which he worked one year. He has lived and worked in Lyon since May 2012. His creative approach is based around finding solutions in close dialogue with clients. His work includes collaborations with furniture manufacturers, corporates, art galleries and schools. For each project, a story is slowly made and becomes relevant thanks to all the characters involved. Amaury is interested in the function and aesthetics of his creations, but pays particular attention to the meaning and coherence of the whole project.

Born in 1984, Daniel Rybakken grew up in Oslo, Norway. He studied design at the Oslo School of Architecture and the School of Arts & Crafts in Gothenburg, Sweden. On graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in 2008 he started his own practice with studios in Gothenburg and Oslo. Rybakken has received numerous awards, including the ‘Best of the Best’ Red Dot Award in Singapore in 2007; the Anders Jahre’s Cultural Prize for Young Artists in Oslo in 2008; the Design Report Award for best designer at Salone Satellite in Milan in 2009 and the Bruno Mathsson Award in 2011. Rybakken’s work occupies the area between art and design, comprising limited editions, art installations and prototypes for serial production. His main focus has been to work with daylight and how to artificially recreate its subconscious effect.

Brian Sironi was born in Seregno. He graduated from Politecnico di Milano with a degree in Industrial Design and then began collaborating with architects, designers and professional artisans in the design industry, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, wood carvers and upholsterers. Trained in the heart of Brianza, his background is both practical and academic with a strong connection to local territory, an integral element featured in his cosmopolitan Italian designs. In 2007, Sironi continued his training in the United States and upon his return to Italy, established his own firm, Studio Brian Sironi. In his work, he focuses on the connection between object and user, shape and function, while aiming for form at its purest. His purpose is to improve people’s daily life, even if only on a small scale, adding something extraordinary and unexpected to every object. In 2010 he showed in “The New Italian Design Reloaded” at Triennale di Milano museum and at Santralistanbul museum in Istanbul.

Born in Tokyo, Suzuki has lived in London since 2005, where he graduated with am MA in Product Design at the Royal College of Art. In 2010 he gained a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Augmented Reality at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne. He is a designer, sound artist and electronic musician who produces work that explores the realms of sound through exquisitely designed pieces. His work raises questions of the relation between sound and people and how music and sound affect the mind. Yuri is fascinated by accessibility to technology and user interaction. Design Associate at the Walt Disney Research, in 2013 Yuri founded Dentaku Ltd which is an R&D consultancy for companies such as Widen and Kennedy, KKoutlet and AIAIAI.

Tel Aviv-based Yael Tandler, who is a graduate of Bezalel Academy, has a playful and intuitive approach to non-playful materials like concrete. It’s no surprise she started her practice by tackling a product aimed at children, but with her graduation project she is maturing into a more sophisticated designer. “My design process starts with deciding a platform from which to create, studying what has been done in that field, and thinking about what I can do differently,” she says. Tandler has an interesting approach to concrete, which she uses as though it were dough. She says “it’s a story about an everyday, basic material from which unique objects can be made in a domestic assembly line.” Yael’s concrete playground is the basis for endless possibilities and countless objects.

Born in Israel 1980, Rami completed the d-vision program for product development and industrial design in Israel. He graduated from the industrial design department of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Rami creates chairs with geometric patterns by wrapping and weaving cords around spare, steel frames. The chairs are the product of Tareef’s Craft Oriented Design, in which the designer aims to update and preserve traditional weaving techniques. He applies skills, learned from a wicker craftsman in the Old City of Jerusalem, to contemporary forms and materials. The project highlights the differences and similarities between craft and design; it tests and stretches the limits of their hybridization, and tries to end up with something identifiable from that past world. The COD project deals with wicker/woven furniture – a traditional craft product – and preserves its production values while incorporating innovative design features from the world of mass production.

Tsai and Fanchiang studied at the Graduate School of Industrial Design, Tatung University and Shih Chien University and took part in the Exchange Program of Design Engineering & Management of the Kyoto Institute of Technology. Their projects have been shown at: La Triennale di Milano “Taiwan Contemporary Chair”,2013; Taiwan Designers’ Week “Go with the East Wind”, 2012; and Taiwan World Design Expo in 2011. They have received awards and mentions from the Taiwan International Design Competition, the Industrial Craft Exhibition, the Taipei International Furniture Show and the Design for Asia Student Award.

Vuorivirta, a young Finnish designer, studied product design at the Lahti Institute of Design and Formgiving Intelligence at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Vuorivirta often carries a magnifying glass with her, not because she has problems with her eyes, but because she is in love with details. In a magnifying glass the dullest of objects reveal aspects hidden to the ordinary, unimaginitive vision of humans. Her vision won her the 2013 Young Designer of the Year 2013, Design Forum Finland and many other awards in Scandianvia.

Wiid Design is a Cape Town based design studio, established by Laurie Wiid van Heerden. Wiid explores the notion of luxury, in it’s past and future terms, in South Africa where the first and third worlds collide. “I don’t just pay attention to detail, I’m obsessed by it, both in my own work and the world around me. All my pieces incorporate handmade elements, pieces that are part of the production, which I oversee personally. This is very important to me and I believe it determines value: buying one of my pieces is like investing in a piece of art. Wiid design creates work that can be seen as the interface between art and design – where materials are transformed into life-enriching and durable products.” Wiid Design’s work is inspired by contemporary culture, with a focus on traditional handcrafting combined with avant-garde techniques. The product range includes furniture items such as stools, side tables, dining tables and benches and also a range of lighting and tableware pieces.

SmartwoodHouse is a Hangzhou based furniture design brand that produces minimalistic wooden furniture for easy self-assembly with hidden joins and screws. Architect Zhao Lei, who graduated from Tsinghua University, established SmartWoodHouse in 2010 as a response to how to reduce waste and satisfy the true function of furniture. All of the furniture is flat-packed, with instructions and designs accessible via their website.

Zorzenoni’s research is focused on testing the limits and potentiality of materials. Working side by side with qualified craftsmen, he develops simple, yet poetic products. After completing a degree in Industrial Design in 2001, Zorzeoni worked with the Iuav University of Venice. In his hometown of Treviso, he has worked as consultant for Fabrica, the Benetton Design and Communication Research Center, developing projects for exhibitions, museums and interiors. While at Fabrica he met and worked with the Spanish designer Jaime Hayon, a collaboration that continues to this day. Zorzeoni has shown at key design events such as the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne and the London Design Festival, his work has been showed at the Maxxi Museum in Rome and at Milan’s Fuorisalone.

An Italian designer named one of the seven “Personaggi del Mondo” by the magazine Amica, Talarico collaborates with luxury brands such as Ceramica Flaminia, Champagne Pommery, Henry Timi and Mercedes-Benz. His pragmatic approach to design involves due consideration for “engineering and the actual possibility of realization”. The simple line of products offer a reinterpretation of Italian 60s style. Although most products are made from industrial materials such as plastic or metal, he has designed chairs made of dehydrated and temperature-treated tofu. His projects have been shown at the Stockholm Fair and the Salone del Mobile.

A graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, Parren says that for him “luxury is a vague concept. For me camping can be an ultimate feeling of luxury: furniture that can be folded to small lightweight pieces; something you can carry anywhere to recreate a home wherever you want. I ‘squatted’ for 7 years. During this time I had to move my belongings several times and needed furniture to behave in a certain way. This inspired me to come up with the idea of a folding couch. It combines quality of comfort and the freedom of a camping chair.” Parren’s nomadic experiences prompted him to combine innovative design with new technologies as a solution for our times. His interest in 3D printing and LED has given him a fresh approach to design: a design based on reaction to colours, unstable conditions and basic comfort. Parren was nominated for the Dutch Design Awards at Dutch Design Week 2012, his work has been widely published and he has developed project swith the main design schools.

Collaborators Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai describe themselves as “researchers, engineers, craftsmen and story-tellers all at the same time”. Wai hails from Singapore, educated as an industrial designer at the National University while Lanzavecchia graduated with a BA in Product Design from Politecnico di Milano. They began working together at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Lanzavecchia’s main interest lies “in the relationships objects have and can have with the human body and soul as well as having a keen eye on future trends”. Wai “is fascinated by the collisions and fusions of materials, meanings and forms”. Their cooperation is based on those focuses and, having hailed from two very different countries and cultures, they attempt to feed off each other’s backgrounds, knowledge and skill-sets to fuel lateral thinking and agile tangible application”. Design projects to them are research journeys characterized by the pursuit and selective employment of different design disciplines and professional competences, to be curated, cross-bred and nurtured into concepts and products that propose possibilities and inspire new perspectives.

Eisuke Tachikawa, an Impact Japan fellow, has an MA in architecture from Keio University’s Department of Science and Technology, where he focused his studies on architecture, product design, and revitalizing local communities through design. In 2006, while still in school, he established NoSigner, a design firm aimed at “designing the invisible”. Specializing in a multi-disciplinary approach that spans two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and spatial design, his conceptual planning, innovative product development and branding has been recognized through global awards like Design for Asia Award 2011, NY ADC Young Guns 7, Pentawards Platinum, Good Design Awards, and many others. His activities extend beyond commercial work to encompass science and technology, education, local industries, and support for developing nations. Tachikawa is also the founder of “Olive Project,” an initiative to provide meaningful design during times of disaster.