Awards Ceremony

On November 29, 2018 at the House of Commons BE OPEN and SBID announced the Designed for Business overall and category winners.

The student awards ceremony, held in the Members’ Dining Room at the House of Commons, London, was the culmination of a six-month-long judging process to assess the projects submitted by university students in their final year.

The entries were judged by a panel of top names from the creative industries including key representatives from companies including Sebastian Conran Associates, Amazon UK, Christie’s Education, John Lewis, Amara, HG Designworks and VitrA, as well as creative educators from a number of leading universities.

Hundreds of students from 93 universities submitted their final year’s course work to SBID and BE OPEN to one of five categories: Product Design; Art & Design; Fashion; Interior Design and Interior Decoration.

Speaking to the assembled finalists, their families, judges, creative academia and industries representatives, SBID founder Dr Vanessa Brady said: “When I met with the BE OPEN foundation, we both had the same aim in wanting to bridge the gap between learning and earning. Being two international organisations, this made it the perfect fit to create Designed for Business. The competition was created to engage the world of employment with design students who are eager to get themselves and their work within their chosen industry. It is also a great opportunity for universities to showcase the talent their courses are shaping. We’re delighted with the number of entries overall and especially the turn out tonight”.

BE OPEN founder Elena Baturina added: “The Designed for Business Student competition, and this ceremony in particular, are all about celebrating the talent, aspirations, and tenacity of the young artists and designers, whose creativity will define our future for years to come. I created BE OPEN because I wanted a platform from which to support and encourage the fantastic creative talent that I see all around me, yet, which often struggles to find a connection to the commercial world. BE OPEN, working with SBID intends to change that. This year’s competition is the first offering art and design students a link to the industries they would like to work in, and in turn the first that allows businesses to easily see the next-generation of creative talent open to them. I’m truly excited to see what this year’s first crop of Designed for Business winners will achieve next.”

Scooping the overall £30,000 prize was University of Dundee graduate Katarina Spenerova. One of the Interior Design finalists. Her project PETAL comprised a modular design system that allows communities to grow in an organic way. It was chosen for “its originality in providing an inventive solution to the problem of housing in today’s society”. Examining shared living, the project looks at ‘future-proofing’ and how we might live together given the rising cost of housing.

Of winning the life-changing £30,000, Katarina said: “It’s unbelievable, but I’m also very grateful – I never imagined this could happen to me because I saw some of the other projects, which were all so good. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m going to invest the money in my own business, but it might not be tomorrow. I’m going to take it slowly, but I am going to set up a studio where I can collaborate with other designer and makers.”