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)

Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be smow if it followed the rules and did that which you’d expected it to.

Thus it should have come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that the inaugural Grassimesse smow-Designpreis produced not the expected one, but two, joint, co-winners: Budapest based designer Annabella Hevesi and her studio Line and Round I O and Nürnberg based glassmaker Cornelius Réer…….

smow co-founder Martina Stadler reads the laudatio for Cornelius Réer (m) Annabella Hevesi / Line and Round IO (l, represented by Gabor Bella) at the opening of the 2023 Grassimesse Leipzig

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

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.......

The 2023 edition of the Grassimesse Leipzig will see the inaugural awarding of the €2,500 smow-Designpreis. The first dedicated design prize in the institution’s long (hi)story. Entries are were open until Friday May 12th.

But what if that first Grassimesse smow-Designpreis had been awarded not in 2023, but 1923?

Who might have won?

Who would the 1923 Grassimesse jury have selected from the many possible candidates?

????

A smow Blog fantasy final four…….

The Grassimesse smow-Designpreis 1923: A Fantasy Shortlist

For the first time in its long and illustrious history Leipzig’s Grassimesse will award a dedicated design prize at its 2023 edition.

More specifically, will award the €2,500 smow-Designpreis.

The call for entries is now open, and you are all cordially invited closed…….

grassimesse smow-designpreis