Since its introduction in 2006, the Designers of the Future Award has honored up-and-coming designers and studios that are expanding the field of design. The winning designers are given the opportunity to exhibit their commissioned projects at W Hotels around the globe following the first presentation at the Design Miami/Basel fair in June.
This year’s winners were selected by an international jury that included Wava Carpenter of Design Miami/; Aric Chen of Beijing Design Week; Li Edelkoort of Edelkoort Inc.; Marcus Fairs of Dezeen.com; Alexis Georgacopoulos of ECAL; Konstantin Grcic of KGID; Kenya Hara of Muji; Constance Rubini of the School of Decorative Arts Paris; Zoe Ryan of the Art Institute Chicago; and Mike Tiedy of Starwood Hotels.
Each year, multiple designers are recognized as a way to honor a variety of approaches in the constantly evolving landscape of contemporary design.
The Award acknowledges technologically and conceptually vanguard pieces that work across multiple disciplines. The goal is to offer the next generation of design creatives the opportunity to present newly commissioned works to a powerful audience of collectors, dealers and journalists at Design Miami/Basel while drawing attention to design practices that exemplify new directions for the future of design.
Candidates created original works in the fields of furniture, lighting, craft, architecture and/or digital/electronic media; have been practicing for less than 15 years; and have produced a body of work that demonstrates originality in the creative process while also exhibiting an interest in working in experimental, nonindustrial, or limited-edition design.
Last year, W Hotels Designer of the Future Awards were presented to Beta Tank, Graham Hudson, rAndom International and Zigelbaum + Coelho. The winners traveled to W locations across the globe during key design weeks and set up on-site installations at W Barcelona and W New York Downtown. The winners also showcased their work at Istanbul Design Week.
Two of the award recipients Zigelbaum + Coelho and rAndom International were also integrated into the W Taipei Premiere Event in March 2011, where W Hotels also commissioned rAndom International to create permanent installations. Following the success of this event, Zigelbaum + Coelho was also commissioned to create designs for a St. Petersburg premiere event in June 2011.
While the Designers of the Future Award has always featured unique and groundbreaking work exemplifying a progressive understanding of the design field, this year’s award will take a new approach with the theme, “Conversation Pieces.” Starting with this theme, this year’s winning designers have been commissioned by Design Miami/ Basel and W Hotels to create new works that encourage people to overcome social barriers while also sparking conversations between strangers.
“With this year’s Award, we wanted to highlight the young design vanguard while exploring works that are intentionally interactive,” says Design Miami/ Director Marianne Goebl. “While our three winners represent three very diverse and unique viewpoints, they all share an experimental and multi-disciplinary approach that we believe will encourage visitors to rethink the future of the design field.”