"Here, There & Everywhere" Swiss Design Awards 2020

“Here, There & Everywhere”
Swiss Design Awards 2020

INTRODUCTIONMay 01, 2020

By Anna Niederhäuser, photography by Philippe Jarrigeon and art direction by Dual Room

"Here, There & Everywhere" Swiss Design Awards 2020 - © Swiss Design Awards Blog
"Here, There & Everywhere" Swiss Design Awards 2020 - © Swiss Design Awards Blog

In future, there will be always a time before and after Covid-19. The big question that design asks is unchanged and yet is suddenly far more topical, namely: what role does design play in our society?

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In future, there’ll always be a time before and after Covid-19. The open call and first jury round for the Swiss Design Awards took place before the corona lockdown came into effect — in what now seems like a different era. Today we find ourselves in the midst of the crisis, and there is much uncertainty about what the future holds.

The big question that design asks is unchanged and yet is suddenly far more topical, namely: what role does design play in our society? If we are to answer that question for a wider audience, promoting and highlighting the relevance of design is now more important and fascinating than ever.

Last year, we began extending the scope of our blog. In addition to a detailed presentation of the finalists’ individual projects, we’ve worked with various authors to pinpoint key issues of overriding importance in the fields of graphic, product and fashion design, photography and design mediation which are now being presented and discussed in essays. These place the projects in a broader context, setting up contrasts and identifying commonalities in some rather unexpected places.

Diploma projects from design universities have long been a central feature of the entries for the Swiss Design Awards, and in their essay the authors from common-interest observe that neither design nor education ever happens in a vacuum. In his two contributions, researcher and graphic designer Jonas Berthod reflects on the significance of the Swiss Design Awards for the various stages of a design career, as well as the importance of self-initiated projects and serial commissions for one’s own positioning as a designer. Artist Yves Mettler considers everyday rituals that are imbued with design, and the associated environmental and social issues of our time. With an eye to the current situation, design journalist Susanna Koeberle will be touching on some other topics related to the role of designers in the age of corona. In his essay “Here and There”, historian Mathieu Musy writes about photographic projects that seem to open up a window on the world and at the same time tell us much about our own gaze. Its title references the communicative framework designed by Dual Room: HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE – three concepts that accompany us on our journey towards an uncertain destination.

A summary of the topics can be found below. The essays will be published here on the blog at regular intervals. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

ESSAY by common-interest
Made in School or School Made?
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In 2020, diploma projects represented 20% of all entries to the Swiss Design Award, and 16% of all nominations. These numbers point to the pivotal importance of the diploma project, which can be a stepping stone in someone's career. In this article, we will look closely into the works and trajectories of Clio Hadjigeorgiou, Lora Sonney, and Martina Huynh, recent graduates from ECAL, HEAD, and the Design Academy Eindhoven. By doing so, it will become clear that neither design nor education ever happens in a vacuum. A diploma project is simultaneously the work of a student, as well as a product of the pedagogical environment in which it was created.

"Here, There & Everywhere" Swiss Design Awards 2020 - © Swiss Design Awards Blog
Essay by Jonas Berthod
Careers and the Cultural Field
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Designers are at different stages of their careers when they present projects to the Swiss Design Awards. They range from recent graduates to established practitioners, and their submissions reflect these positions. Winning an award at these different stages certainly has a distinct impact on career progression. But while I had assumed the reasons for applying varied, it turns out they remain broadly the same throughout the applicants’ professional development, especially for those who work in the cultural field. What does this tell us about designers’ needs and career possibilities?

"Here, There & Everywhere" Swiss Design Awards 2020 - © Swiss Design Awards Blog
Essay by Yves Mettler
Designing Togetherness
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Implicated as it is in everyday life, design inevitably has to deal with day-to-day episodes: rituals where people come together and share time together. Obviously, eating is one of these moments. Looking at this year’s nominees as well as the two previous editions of the Swiss Design Awards, we aim to trace this thread in order to see how our designers challenge, appropriate, adopt and intervene in these often deeply rooted rituals. How are contemporary environmental issues of sustainability, recycling and decarbonisation, as well as societal questions of identity, traditions and de-growth addressed through their work? This will of course lead us towards product design, such as furniture (Stéphane Barbier, Filipe & Viricel), urban design (Dimitri Nassisi) and architecture (Antonio Scarponi), the up-and-coming field of ceramics (Ursula Vogel, crisp-id, Yusuké Y. Offhause, Noemi Niederhauser, Laurin Schaub) as well as pioneering food design (Carolien Niebling) and social design (Martina Huyhn), and, more surprisingly, fashion design (Collective Swallow, Luca Xavier Tanner).

"Here, There & Everywhere" Swiss Design Awards 2020 - © Swiss Design Awards Blog
Essay by Mathieu Musy
Here and There We Are
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A cultural product representing a distant “elsewhere” is not so much a window on the world as a mirror reflecting our own gaze back at us. The selection for the Swiss Design Awards 2020 presents a large number of photographic projects, including several in the documentary category. The documentary photo, more than any other genre, allows us to question the relationship between “us” and “them”: a relationship defined by distance that is spatial but also social and even temporal, separating “here” from “there”. Yet we should not let ourselves be deceived by the seeming exoticism of these photos. They are always about us, and our perspective on the other.

"Here, There & Everywhere" Swiss Design Awards 2020 - © Swiss Design Awards Blog
Essay by Jonas Berthod
Time and the Essence
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Many design projects are the result of a long-term effort. They broadly fall into one of two categories. On the one hand, there are significant projects realised over extended periods of development. On the other, there are series of commissions for the same client or on a similar topic over a number of years. Both categories come with their challenges. The former can test designers’ ability to sustain their focus and energy, keep the flame alive or adapt to changes in trends and techniques. The latter confronts them with the need to reinvent themselves, the risk of creative inertia, and a potential impact on their portfolio and client list. However, these long-term projects also allow designers to develop and refine an language that is distinctively their own.

Anna Niederhäuser Born 1979, lives and works in Zurich and Bern

In 2008 master’s degree in art history, literature studies, and history at the University of Zurich. From 2009 to 2012 design and art promotion associate, Swiss Federal Office of Culture, Bern. From 2012 to 2014 head of administration and projects, Design Center Langenthal. Since 2012 president of the Expert Committee of the Bern Design Foundation. Freelance author and curator since 2014. Head of design promotion at the Swiss Federal Office of Culture since 2018. In 2019 she published together with Mirjam Fischer the catalogue raisonée “Susi & Ueli Berger. Furniture in Dialogue” (Scheidegger und Spiess).

Photographer: Philippe Jarrigeon, Art direction: Dual Room, On set producer: Jasmin Nahar, Photo assistant: Corentin Thevenet, Studio manager and retouch Quentin Lacombe, Stylist: Azza Yousif, Set Design: Giovanna Martial, Hair artist: Franco Argento, Make-Up artist: Cécile Paravina, Manicurist: Isabelle Valentin Camille Ferrand, Casting Director: Martin Franck, Model: Natascha Wiese and Georges L.

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