Nearly 90 candidates have submitted more than 230 projects to the jury. The 2019 edition of the Luxembourg Design Awards, the third of its kind for this biennial event, is thus already proving to be a success.
The awards are handed out by the professional association Design Luxembourg, which brings together 51 companies and freelancers of various design professions. Since its creation in 1995, the association has been promoting the skills of these professionals in the country.
This Wednesday, 44 candidates will present 83 projects competing in 13 categories, including three new ones compared to the previous edition: Interior design, Fashion design and Social design. They join the categories Product design, Information design, Corporate design, Editorial design, Packaging design, Illustration design, Digital design, Motion design, Print design and Junior talents.
“Through these awards, we wish to demonstrate the dynamism of a creative sector that is available for institutions and companies and has a rightful place in the economic world,” explains Laurent Graas, President of Design Luxembourg. “Creative industries are becoming increasingly important in modern post-industrial knowledge-based economies. They are promising in terms of growth and job creation, and they are also vehicles of identity and cultural diversity.”
Design to fight against cultural regression
In his opinion, it is also a question of highlighting the quality of the players in this field, who know how to constantly adapt to technical developments, with the ultimate objective of supporting their customers, whoever they may be, with creativity, relevance and efficiency. “This dynamic of innovation is necessary for a sector whose professional diversity is in line with the evolution of the economy. Design does not only adapt constantly, but also anticipates societal and economic changes,” explains Mr Graas.
The jury for this 3rd edition of the Luxembourg Design Awards is international and chaired by Davor Bruketa, Creative Director of the Croatian advertising agency Bruketa&Žinić&Grey, in Zagreb. The keynote speaker, Frank Stephenson, will also bring an additional international dimension to the event. Mr Stephenson is an American automotive designer and chief designer of McLaren Automotive since 2008. He is considered as one of the most influential automotive designers of our time, having designed many successful iconic models for Ford, BMW, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Pininfarina, Ferrari, Maserati and McLaren.
“Design has always been a creative way to improve our lives,” says Mr Stephenson. “It differs from art in that it incorporates elements of science to improve the functioning of an object as well as make it pleasing to the eye of the beholder.” According to him, true design cannot remain static. The talent of a a designer lies in his or her ability to always find a better way of improving objects with more effective solutions to solve the challenges he or she faces. “Without design and designers (who could also be called visionaries), society would tend to culturally regress and lose its forward momentum towards achieving ever-higher levels of civilisation. We are all genetically engineered towards evolution and progression. This makes design itself play a vital role for the constant development of the human psyche and soul.”
Thirteen awards will thus be presented this Wednesday.
Among them, the one in the Interior Design category will be presented by Jan Glas, the initiator of the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster, the most recent cluster managed by Luxinnovation.
“Creativity does not necessarily mean innovation. But innovation is certainly not possible without the complicity of design,” says Marc Lis, the cluster manager. “We tend to forget that design, in its many forms, is an added value that helps us not only to embellish a product, but also to reflect on it, push it in ingenuity and make it more effective. The Design Awards are an important event that celebrates this expertise, as well as the talents that are ‘hidden’ behind these creative products, tools and services.”
This festive evening will also be an opportunity to see how active the design scene in Luxembourg is.
Design Luxembourg and all the players in the sector are clearly determined to perpetuate this dynamism through the training of young designers, whatever specialty they choose afterwards.
“The link between professionals, the world of training and students is essential not only to ensure the next generation, but above all to stimulate new ideas,” explains Mr Graas, who highlights the importance of the “Junior talents” category. “This award give young talents an opportunity to express themselves through their achievements.”
Luxembourg talent is well exported
Although they are not nominated in this category, two young Luxembourg talents perfectly illustrate this dynamism: Irina Moons (31 years old) and Julie Wagener (29 years old) who both represented Luxembourg at the 2019 edition of the Creative Expo Taiwan Talent 100 in April. The fact that only four European artists were invited to be among the “100” speaks loud and clear of their level of excellence.
“This participation allowed me to experience beautiful encounters with other exhibitors,” says Ms Moons. “I think that many of these meetings are likely to lead to future projects, either between exhibitors or with potential customers who came especially for licensing. I also received good media coverage and was mentioned in creativbloq / Computer, a magazine that I follow very closely.”
On top of that, Ms Moons was awarded the Cultural and Creative Award of Taiwan for her illustrations and silkscreens that show different places and moments in the world. This reward gives her a ticket for coming back next year.
Julie Wagener admits that she came back from Taipei with “a new energy, to keep plugging away at the full-time profession I studied for and which challenges me every single day. I feel optimistic about my future as an illustrator here in Luxembourg and abroad. This strengthened my ambitions and convictions which I try to follow as an artist and use to nurture my work. I also gained a few opportunities and new connections to people who value illustration as much as its creators do.”
She will also be in competition this Wednesday evening, as she is nominated in the Illustration Design category. “This ceremony will give professionals the opportunity to see the recognition of their work and also demonstrate to outsiders that there is value in their work here in Luxembourg.”