Want your design recognised with a Focus Open award? The Design Center BW is looking for new products or products so new they've not yet been launched.
Those who currently work in design are aware of the current situation: no trade fairs, no exhibitions and hardly any news from the creative industries. The pandemic has brought many things to a standstill. Nevertheless, despite the current restrictions, many new things are emerging that are simply not on the radar at the moment. After all, designers don't suddenly stop having good ideas.
In addition, many compelling projects have been completed in the recent past and innovative products have been brought to market – sometimes under difficult conditions. That is why it is perhaps more important than ever that the Focus Open, which is organised worldwide by the Design Center Baden-Württemberg, is taking place again this year. Furthermore, its non-profit orientation fundamentally distinguishes the award from many other design prizes.
Here, smaller companies and studios tend to benefit, as they have the opportunity to compete against international competition, which can be great for their market visibility – both within the design scene and with regard to possible new clients and the media. For manufacturers who work particularly with freelance designers and are perhaps looking for new partners in this field, a prize like the Focus Open is an important opportunity.
So once again this year, creatives and companies have the opportunity to apply for the award with designs that are either ready for production or have been on the market for no longer than two years. The submission deadline is April 1, 2021, and all information about the award, this year's jury and the conditions of participation can be found at this link:
As an institution, the Design Center Baden-Württemberg has a long history, dating back to 1850. At that time, Ferdinand von Steinbeis, an economic politician from Württemberg, laid the foundation for a ‘model collection‘ of excellent products. His goal, too, was to use selected exhibits to bring outstanding design achievements to greater public attention. And similar to the Design Center today, Steinbeis was also interested in promoting and networking business representatives and designers.
The list of categories to which designs and products can be submitted is long and wide-ranging: it comprises a total of 14 subgroups, including Building Technology, Mobility, Service Design, Healthcare, Bathroom/Wellness, Interior and Lighting. All categories can be found on the Design Center website. The inclusion of the word ‘Open’ in the name is chosen to highlight the thematic openness of the call for entries that brings together so many different producers and designers – including those who work in otherwise often overlooked but important fields, such as urban design or in the development of new materials.
The 260-page bilingual documentation of last year's competition is a well-prepared compendium of outstanding design achievements. As every year, the publication is published by the renowned design publishing house av edition. Each award-winning product is accompanied by the jury's explanatory statement and each jury member is introduced in detail. In addition, the book contains interviews with leading figures from the companies and with participating designers.
New this year are the precise explanations of the evaluation criteria for the Focus Open, which comprise twelve points according to which the jury is required to make its decisions – and which also provide the participating companies and design offices with a guideline for assessing their own design work. The evaluation catalogue can also be found on the Design Center website and defines aspects such as design quality, functionality, branding and sustainability.
This year's jury members are Daniela Bohlinger from BMW Group (Munich), Roland de Fries from Hudson Vandam LLC (New York), Susanne Ewert from product design studio Zielform (Berlin), designer Dr. Sybs Bauer (Hamburg), Sven von Boetticher from design studio ID AID (Stuttgart), designer Tilo Wüsthoff (Gauting) and Gerrit Terstiege.
As is tradition, the award-winning concepts and objects will be exhibited at the Film and Media Centre, Ludwigsburg. In addition, numerous media outlets will report on the results, so the award winners receive the publicity that is particularly important this year. The public is thus made aware of their creative achievements, helping to pave the way back to normality.