What does a globally active, well-positioned company with a strong US sales partner, a sales office in Hong Kong, and nine subsidiaries have in common with a small town in Poland? A great deal, it turns out: a few years ago, the idea of honouring design and architecture that provides social, ecological, and sustainable benefits to society gave rise to an ambitious competition.
We are of course talking about the Design Educates Awards (DEAs), which are being presented this year for the third time, and which have already achieved international renown. The partners behind the awards are the non-profit organisation Laka Foundation, named after its headquarters in the Polish municipality of Laka, and the market-leading manufacturer of bi-folding glass doors Solarlux.
The Laka Foundation is concerned with networking experts in order to highlight perspectives in architecture and promote sustainable developments. Solarlux sees itself not only as a sponsor of the DEA but with its Solarlux Campus in Melle, also offers an adequate and open platform for dealing with diverse topics in architecture and design.
Jury of Well-Known Architects
The jury of the young awards is suitably first-class and the field of participants excellent. "We ourselves are a little overwhelmed by the positive reactions we have been receiving from participants and jurors alike, and by the high standard of the designs," says architect Dr. Peter Kuczia, initiator of the DEA, whose research on fine buildings has created a guide of sorts for sustainable architecture.
The decision to make the competition ambitious from the outset and to promote inspiring solutions has proven to be spot on. International greats such as Toyo Ito, Alison Brooks, Hadi Teherani, and many more come to act as jurors for the competitors’ extraordinary designs in the categories Architecture, Product Design, Universal Design, and Responsive Design.
Who Were the Winners?
This year, Walda Verbaenen was one of the Gold Prize winners in the Universal Design category. Her translation of visual emoticons into a grid of Braille dingbats for the blind and visually impaired was convincing. The Solarlux Choice Award in the Architectural Design category went to the architectural firm Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architektenk. The team's design of the city library in Dornbirn, Austria, impressed with its façade made using 8000 ceramic books plus many aesthetic as well as functional ideas.
Just as communication between designers and users forms the basis for translating the wishes and requirements of an educational building into a ground-breaking design, the exchange of experiences among designers is equally important for driving visions forward. The event architecture in foyer (aif), in which the DEAs are awarded, stands for the latter.
The exhibition and lecture series at the Solarlux Campus will provide direct insights into the work of creative minds and bring young designers into contact with established design greats. In addition to the two prize winners Walda Verbaenen and Much Untertrifaller of Dietrich|Untertrifaller, further top-class speakers have been secured for 30 September and 1 October 2021.
Architect Jette Cathrin Hopp of Snøhetta is considered an innovative sustainability expert; Architect Sven Thorissen of MVRDV stands for forward-looking projects and experimental design; Armin Pedevilla of Pedevilla Architects is associated with buildings that impress with regional references, surfaces, and materials; Kristina Bacht has brilliant expertise on the "DesignBuild” teaching method. Registration for online participation is free of charge.
The Future of Architecture
The lectures will promote interdisciplinary exchange and build on the success of the last two aif events. The Solarlux headquarters in Melle serve to stimulate questions of building culture on the days of the aif events.
For 40 years and counting, the company has stood for the cultivation of light, customised solutions, and trusting cooperation regarding movable window and façade solutions and glass extensions. A good 900 employees ensure optimal conditions for the implementation of projects of all kinds – from revolutionarily simple to decisively different.