Category: Awards


Morari by Jesse Altmann, Valentina Lenk and Klara Schneider, as seen at Berlin Design Week 2024

Badekarren in Katwijk by Wilhelm Gutmann, 1908 (Image Public Domain, courtesy of Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main)

A living room design by Gertrud Lincke featuring two Arbeitskojen, Work Bunks/Berths, on the left and right, home office à la the 1920s (undated, but before 1927, possibly 1925)

An (early) interior (and possibly early furniture) by Dr Josef Frank, undated, but before 1915

Chairs by Elisabeth von Baczko realised by Korbmacher Kapsch, Bremen

After several years of preparation, and a lot of, at times (very) heated, discussion, this past March saw the staging of the inaugural Grassimesse Leipzig in the city’s Rathaus.

Instigated by Dr. Richard Graul, Director of the Leipzig Kunstgewerbemuseum by way of a response to, an answer to, the increasing concerns amongst many professional creatives regarding the quality of contemporary objects of daily use presented at the bi-annual Leipzig Fair, for all the quality of the novel machine produced goods of contemporary industry, the Grassimesse intends to be not only a platform for presenting the highest quality of contemporary craft, applied art and design, but also to be a platform for exchange and mediation between creatives and industry and commerce, and thereby seeks to help to stimulate an increase in the quality, usefulness, beauty and value for money of the everyday goods of contemporary life.

An important part of the Grassimesse concept is that only works selected by a jury are admitted. Or more accurately, works selected by juries: potential exhibitors at the inaugural Grassimesse were first required to submit their work to a regional jury who, based on the prevailing requirements, made their recommendations to the principle jury who had the final say on who was to be admitted. A principle jury headed by Dr. Graul and including in its number both creatives such as, and amongst others, Peter Behrens, Walter Gropius, Josef Hoffmann or Bernhard Pankok and also representatives of manufacturers and dealers including, for example, Rosenthal porcelain, Selb, Rabe & Co, Bremen, Bruckmann & Söhne, Heilbronn or the Plauen based textile manufacturer Alfred Schönfeld.1 And thus a jury which tends to underscore not only the support Dr. Graul’s initiative has, but also the Grassimesse’s relevance, arguably importance, in context of the contemporary debates of our post-War 1920s.

In the coming days and weeks we’ll bring you some of our thoughts and reflections on some of those selected exhibitors, and of and from Grassimesse 1920 in general.

And for all crafters, applied artists and designers interested in being part of the Grassimesse, in contributing to its (hi)story, and in helping it develop further from its original aims and intentions, helping it remain a relevant and informative and entertaining platform for discussions and discourse on contemporary craft, applied art and design, applications for the 2024 edition can be submitted until Wednesday May 15th.

Whereby, the jury selection process for 2024 is much, much simpler than it was for 1920. If no less strict and demanding and rigorous. And no less important.

Full details, including details of the six Grassi Prizes up for grabs, a sextet that features the €2,500 smow-Designpreis, can be found at www.grassimesse.de

Good Luck!!!

grassimesse leipzig 1920

As Europe begins to ardently shake of the last remnants of winter and the first green and blue and yellow and white specks appear in parks and gardens, as the chance that summer might just arrive becomes tangible…. October can seem a mighty long way away. Unimaginable. But it is approaching.

As is the 2024 Grassimesse.

The path thereto has been laid and until Wednesday May 15th are all called upon to apply…….

Grassimesse 2024

Born in Coburg, Franken, in 1961 Cornelius Réer took his first steps in the world of glass via an apprenticeship at Glashütte Süßmuth, Immenhausen, near Kassel, followed by periods working in Austria and Sweden and a nine month course at Brierley Hill Glass Center in Dudley, England, before returning to Franken and establishing his own studio in Fürth in 1992. If a return to Franken punctuated by long absences: the next 11 years seeing Cornelius lead an, essentially, nomadic life, travelling Europe and realising his collections in numerous glass studios and presenting/selling them at trade fairs such as Ambiente Frankfurt. Collections whose focus is very much serial production, not the one-offs so often associated with glass; rather serially reproducible forms, albeit series which on account of their artisanal production, Cornelius creating each individual piece himself, means that every object is unique.

In 2003 Cornelius’s nomadicity ended, at least professionally, with a return, full-time, to Fürth, before in 2008 moving his studio down the road Nürnberg, where today he creates series such as, and amongst many others, the Crunch glass collection, one of his longest running series, and, in many regards, his breakthrough series; the InsideOut range, a family of objects composed of a variety of forms that can exist individually or as collective; or the LUMEN2 lantern, Cornelius’s re-imagining and re-working of a late 1950s lantern design by Egon Eiermann. Works defined, and at the risk of summarising more than is prudent, by their colour, by their interplay with light, by their material efficiency and by a functionality that is often simultaneously as playful as it is utilitarian, and as physical as it is immaterial.

And works which since 2023 have also been defined by rising gas prices: a glass studio is dependent on a lot of ovens, a lot of very hot ovens, ovens you can’t turn off, and thus the gas price rises of 2023 saw Cornelius switch from wooden moulds to steel moulds, an alternative production process that not only reduces the energy demand of the production process, but very much defines the character of works such as, for example, the Pool beakers and carafes, or the O.V.A. and MODUL vases. Works that, on account of their genesis in Cornelius’s response to the challenges of rising gas prices, are as much the result of design thinking as of craft thinking, and works which saw Cornelius Réer co-awarded the inaugural smow-Designpreis at Grassimesse 2023 alongside Budapest based design studio Line and Round, I O.

Alongside his own collections Cornelius is also co-author with Laura Jungmann of the project/brand SameSame, a project that began as a component of Laura’s Diploma thesis at the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, but which has since become autonomous; a project in which industrial glass objects, primarily, wine, beer and water bottles, are upcycled by Cornelius into craft objects that belie their industrial background, and which sees the intended re-use via recycling replaced with re-use via an infinite lifecycle. And just one of several cooperations undertaken over the years by Cornelius with students and professional product designers.

Following his success in Leipzig we met up with Cornelius in his studio in Nürnberg to discuss his work, his approaches, the realities of life as independent glassmaker and glass as a material, but we began asking why glass, why the decision for the glassmakers profession…….

Cornelius Réer at work in his Nürnberg studio (Photo courtesy and © Cornelius Réer)

Line and Round, I O, was established in Budapest in 2017 by Annabella Hevesi, a Masters graduate from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design and Gábor Bella, a Masters graduate from the “School of Life”, with a background in carpentry and numerous years experience in a variety of construction/interior/design fields, including the creation, development and realisation of escape room games, a concept that enjoys a particular popularity in Hungary, and in which context Annabella and Gábor met and began their professional cooperation.

A cooperation that in the six years since it has been staged as Line and Round has seen Annabella and Gábor develop and realise a variety of interior and furniture design projects including, for example, the creation of a locker room and press conference space for the Sopron Basket basketball team, numerous hotel and private interior projects, and the Burnt Geometry collection, Line and Round’s first self-initiated furniture collection, and part of that presentation at the 2023 Grassimesse, Leipzig, that saw Line and Round win the inaugural smow-Designpreis, or more accurately co-win the inaugural smow-Designpreis alongside Nürnberg based glassmaker Cornelius Réer.

Following their success in Leipzig we caught up Annabella and Gábor, virtually, online, to chat about their work, approaches and the realities of life as designers in the contemporary Hungary, but began by asking how Line and Round came to be, how Line and Round liberated itself from the escape room game industry…….

Annabella Hevesi & Gábor Bella a.k.a Line and Round I O (Photo Anett Pósalaki)

While in many regards being selected to participate at the Grassimesse can be considered an accolade in itself, the event also awards a number of prizes: some specific, others general, all well worth winning.

Ahead of the opening of the 2023 edition the winners of the seven Grassi Prizes were announced on Thursday evening in the Grassi Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig.

Selected by the 2023 Grassmesse jury from the 80+ exhibitors, the victorious seven are…….

Grassimesse 2023 Grassipreis Winners

For all that the annual Leipzig Grassimesse is and always has been as a sales fair, a place to peruse, discourse with and purchase, contemporary craft, applied art and design, and thereby an opportunity to support contemporary craft, applied art and design practitioners, or perhaps more accurately an opportunity to support those practitioners whose practice you most enjoy, it has also always been a platform for creative schools and their students to present their works and approaches and positions; the inaugural Grassimesse in 1920 featuring students from the Staatliche Kunstschule für Textilindustrie Plauen, the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, the Kunstgewerbeschule Magdeburg, the Kunstgewerbeschule Nürnberg and the Handwerker- und Kunstgewerbeschule Halle, the latter an institution who in their various guises since 1920 have been more or less ever presents at the Grassimesse.

And will be present at the 2023 Grassimesse where, as Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule, Halle, they will present current projects alongside students from the Kunsthochschule Weißensee Berlin, the Universität der Künste Berlin, HAWK Hildesheim, the Hochschule Wismar, the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart and the Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School, Florence.

Yet for all that schools have always been a pillar on which the Grassimesse stands, they are one that can be all too easily overlooked amidst the perusing, discoursing and purchasing. Thus ahead of the 2023 edition by way of helping reinforce that the Grassimesse is more than the selected exhibitors and their works, we thought we’d take a brief moment to reflect on some of those schools who’ve graced the halls of the Grassi Museum, and thereby allow for reflections on both the (hi)story of creative education and also on the Grassimesse as a platform for schools and a coming generation of creatives as much as one for those creatives currently practising…….

A selection of projects by design schools as presented at the Grassimesse Leipzig between 1920 and 1941

Unlike a great many international craft, applied art and design fairs, entry to the annual Grassimesse Leipzig is strictly by jury selection. And has been since the first edition in 1920. ’twas, in many regards, one of the pillars on which the event established its reputation. And one which helps it maintain that reputation.

The 2023 Grassimesse jury recently convened to review the abundance of applications for this year’s edition, up some 33% on 2022, and, and perhaps more satisfyingly, featuring applications from creatives in 13 countries, an indication of the event’s ongoing international appeal and relevance, from whom they selected 82 exhibitors representing a wide spectrum of craft, applied art and design genres, from jewellery to furniture, from glass to toys, from millinery to ceramics and beyond; including 18 international exhibitors from Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands.

All 82 of whom will assemble in the Grassi Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig, in late October.

And all 82 of whom are in with an equal chance of picking up the €2,500 Grassimesse smow-Designpreis.

Who that is, who will go down in history as the inaugural winner of the Grassimesse smow-Designpreis, will be decided by the international jury on Thursday October 19th.

Watch this space!!!

Until then you can peruse the exhibitors/candidates at www.grassimesse.de and select your favourite, and/or find your new favourite creative. Or perchance find several convincing arguments to enjoy a late October weekend in Leipzig yourself…….

grassimesse smow-designpreis

Although the Grassimesse has been staged, with readily understandable pauses, since 1920, the Grassimesse smow-Designpreis is being staged for the first time in 2023.

Which means a highly impressive roster of innovative, intelligent, imaginative, informative, designers from back in the day can’t win it. Have, if one so will, missed out

But you can win it and the associated €2,500.

Or can if your reading this before Friday May 12th Sunday May 21st, the new extended, deadline for entries.

Otherwise you’ve also missed out.

You’ve now missed out.

Putting you in an illustrious, if very unfortunate, group along with the likes of…….

A selection of works that did, or could have appeared at the Grassimesse between 1920 and 1941, and could have won the smow-Designpreis, had it existed.......

László Moholy-Nagy may have given Marianne Brandt “mettle for metal”, and metal may be the material with which she is most readily and popularly associated; however, as she wrote in 1922, “Ich bin ganz von Glas”….. I am entirely glass.

Fragile? Transparent? Opaque? Metamorphic? Refractive? Sparkling?

For its 7th edition the triennial International Marianne Brandt Contest sought projects exploring glass in all its interpretations, properties and essences; the 60 nominated projects being presented alongside a cabinet showcase devoted to Marianne Brandt in the exhibtion Ich bin ganz von Glas. Marianne Brandt and the Art of Glass Today at the Sächsische Industriemuseum Chemnitz.

Ich bin ganz von Glas. Marianne Brandt and the Art of Glass Today, Sächsische Industriemuseum Chemnitz

For the fifth year in succession ArkDes, Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design, is hosting the Ung Svensk Form/Young Swedish Design award/platform exhibition: a showcase of 25 projects providing for 25 understandings of contemporary design in/from Sweden.

Ung Svensk Form/Young Swedish Design 2019 Exhibition, ArkDes Stockholm

With a new name, but a familiar format, the 2018 Kölner Design Preis once again celebrates the city’s design students and creative colleges, including an exhibition of all nominated projects in the Cologne Museum für Angewandte Kunst.

1st Prize: Unfolding Space by Jakob Kilian (KISD), as seen at Kölner Design Preis/Toby E. Rodes Award 2018 Exhibition, MAKK Cologne

We’re great believers in Fate, in the guiding principle that if it is meant to be, it will be: not least because it protects us from the expectations of achievement.

Further proof of the veracity of Fate was provided by our meeting during Milan Design Week 2018 with the project Moorwerk by Jan Christian Schulz.

Moorwerk by Jan Christian Schulz, as seen at ein&zwanzig, Milan Design Week 2018

Organised by the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design, IKEA, the City of Malmö and ArkDes, Sweden’s national architecture and design museum, the annual Ung Svensk Form/Young Swedish Design award/platform, premiers young design talents not only of Swedish birth, but non-Swedes currently based in Sweden, regardless of genre, but who, in the words of outgoing Swedish Society of Crafts and Design CEO Ewa Kumlin, “experiment freely, venture without fear, believe in their ideas and have the strength to implement them”

Celebrating its 20th edition Ung Svensk Form/Young Swedish Design 2018 features the work of 29 creatives; works which can be experienced in the Ung Svensk Form/Young Swedish Design 2018 Exhibition at ArkDes, Exercisplan 4, Skeppsholmen Stockholm until Sunday March 18th.

As ever with such competitions, the jury have made their choices, the work is on display, and now it is up to the visitors to form their own opinion on the validity, or otherwise, of the inclusions. For those who can’t make it to Stockholm, the exhibition will be touring, see local press for details, and all winners are listed online at http://ungsvenskform.se

We have made it to Stockholm, a few thoughts on some of the projects….

Ung Svensk Form/Young Swedish Design 2018 Exhibition, ArkDes Stockholm

In context of Designblok Prague 2017 the winners of the fourth edition of the pan-European design graduate competition Diploma Selection were unveiled at a ceremony in the city’s Palace of Industry.

Diploma Selection 2017 winners, nominated, jury, Uncle Tom Cobley and all at Designblok Prague 2017

Algorithms as dance, a tactile architecture guide and a future-proof flat sharing platform.

On Thursday October 26th the winners of the 2017 Kölner Design Preis were unveiled at a ceremony in the city’s Museum für Angewandte Kunst, MAKK; and where until Sunday November 19th the three winning, and all nominated, projects, can be viewed in a specially conceived Kölner Design Preis 2017 exhibition.

Kölner Design Preis 2017 exhibition at Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln, MAKK

’tis a curious thing time. It has accompanied our universe since the instant of its creation, has allowed for the development of our civil and social society, is the bedrock of our economic, industrial and commercial systems, guides us through every day, week, month, year, life.

Yet it is questionable if it actually exists.

And if it does exist. In what form? How can we visualise and document it? Does it have an inherent value?

Clues towards some possible answers are provided by the Designpreis Halle 2017 exhibition.

Designpreis Halle 2017. White

The Bayerischer Staatspreis für Nachwuchsdesigner is one of the more interesting international design prizes. Not only because it is biennial and thus steadfastly refuses to play with the “every year new” ethos of the contemporary design industry, nor only because it is exclusively for young designers, but also because in addition to the “usual” categories it also recognises Design Research and Applied Crafts. And thus promotes a pleasingly healthy and positive understanding of the term “Design”

The winners of the 2016 Bayerischer Staatspreis were announced on Monday March 6th at an awards ceremony in Munich.

Merhaba by Susanne Honsa – Winner Applied Crafts, as seen at Bayerischer Staatspreis für Nachwuchsdesigner 2016 exhibition, Munich

International Marianne Brandt Contest 2016 Exhibition, Chemnitz Museum of Industry

The winners and nominated projects from the 2016 International Marianne Brandt Contest can be viewed in an exhibition in Chemnitz.

IMM Cologne 2016. Pure Talents Contest

For reasons known only to the IMM 2016 organisers the numerous segments composing the “Talents” section – that section of

Fionda table for Mattiazzi, Ormiale Bordeaux & Bac Armchair for Cappellini, as seen at the exhibition A&W Designer of the Year 2016 - Jasper Morrison, Passagen Cologne

2016 sees the 20th anniversary of German architecture and design magazine A&W’s “Designer of the Year Award.” Following on from