Young Balkan Designers (YBD) is a regional talent platform founded in 2011 with the aim to identify, promote and develop creative potential of the Balkan region in the field of design. The initiative also aims at unifying the regional design scene, bringing it closer to the international audience, strengthening its potential by providing additional education and practice, while at the same time contributing to the restoration of multi-cultural cooperation in the Balkan region.
Young Balkan Designers theme for 2022 – “Life Hacks for Health & Wellbeing” calls for design projects, objects, concepts, services, scenarios and inventions which create a “shortcut” between sustainable living and wellbeing, provoking conversation on alternative and “outside of the box” approach to designing and re-imagining healthier everyday worlds: at home, at school or work, in public, in our intimate and community spaces, urban and rural environments, in our physical and digital realms.
We challenge young designers to emerge positively from the pandemic and use those enlightenments to twist and band the current “state of the art” in design practice to make space for unconventional, witty interventions and “fixes” which contribute to life-promoting environments and use nature-based solutions to address physical health, but also enhance the experiences of human-nature interactions, good relationships, social connections, solidarity and sharing, inclusion, belonging and multitude of other positive emotions through engagement of all senses, addressing neglected needs, or introducing quite surprising and unexpected functionalities, etc.
We encourage young creators to surpass limitations and dependency on massive, industrial production and lead the way towards self-sustenance and easily personalized solutions, increase of inclusion and equality by creating a choice & flexibility for different needs and supporting members of families, teams, communities and social networks to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles and come together to help each other.
The proposed projects should not necessarily have the ambition to “leave a mark” but, instead attempt to minimize their carbon footprint and embody thoughts on circularity of the materials used, implementation of local skills and resources, involvement of local actors in problem-solving and production, creating a positive environmental, economic, cultural and social impact.
Marcus Fairs, founder and editor in chief, Dezeen.com, UK
Ana Kras, artist & designer, Serbia / USA
Vasso Asfi & Loukas Angelou, founders, StudioLav, Greece / UK
Jovana Zhang, founder, Pinwu studio, Serbia / China
Denis Leo Hegic, designer & curator, founder Supermarket Lab/Unblock Art Fair / Museum of Now, Germany
Design concepts; products – furniture, lighting, interior elements, everyday objects, urban gardening inventions, didactic toys and tools, aid products, shelters, home accessories, textile and fashion garments, stationary; etc. urban services; digital solutions; innovative design and production scenarios that offer economically and socially sustainable solutions to local problems, both in urban and rural environments, etc.
Criteria appreciated by the Jury: socially engaging and innovative features of the project that enhance the quality of everyday life; innovativeness in addressing needs of different social groups; effectiveness in addressing user’s personal health and wellbeing; potentials for circularity of product or its elements; ergonomics; rational production and transportation costs; innovative use of materials available locally; implementation of local knowledge and techniques; environmentally friendly production process, innovative use of recycled materials; relevancy in relation to local / global environmental and social issues; significant social impact on local community.
The competition is open to all persons up to 35* years of age, from the following countries: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey. Applicants may be individuals or groups of creators. Each applicant may submit more than one entry.
* Age limit is the requirement of the Salone Satellite talent zone of Milan Furniture Fair dedicated to designers under 35. Authors applying to YBD now should be 35 or under in June 2022, when the selected winners will be exhibiting at Salone Satellite.
The competition is open from December 8th, 2021 till February 1st, 2022
Applicants can register and submit their projects by filling in a Young Balkan Designers form online at ybd.mikser.rs until 1st February 2022 at 23.59Fe
Winners of the Young Balkan Designers 2022 competition will be announced on 15 February, 2022
8 December, 2021 – 1 February, 2022 – Competition open for entries
1 – 10 February, 2022 – Pre-selection and jurying process
15 February, 2022 – Public announcement of the YBD competition winners
15 February – 15 May, 2022 – Online workshops with curatorial team / development of prototypes
15 May, 2022 – Designers gather and bring prototypes to Belgrade for final approval of exhibits / Photoshoot / Press event
7-12 June, 2022 – YBD2022 exhibition at Salone Satellite, International Furniture Fair, Milan
October, 2022 – YBD2022 exhibition at Mikser Festival, Belgrade
The International Jury will select the Young Balkan Designers 2022 Competition winners for:
*During International Furniture Fair in Milan and Mikser Festival in Belgrade a series of meet-ups between the competition finalist and representatives of selected regional furniture and product manufacturers will be organized to explore potentials for collaboration on development of a concrete design product or a service for a specific company, which would be a subject to a separate agreement between the company and the designer.
If selected for the YBD 2022 selection, submitted entries in the category of products must be executed as functional prototypes, while concepts and scenarios must be adequately presented through other media (installation, live action, video, animation, storyboard, etc).
By submitting this application, designers commit, if selected to participate in the exhibition, to produce their prototype and secure their transportation to Belgrade, Serbia, by 15 March 2022 at their own expense, for the purpose of final approval, professional photoshoot and collective shipping to Milan at the organizers’ expense.
Upon the announcement of the competition results in late January, the Organizers will contact the laureates to provide them with the official invitation letter to accompany their prototypes during the transportation and the detailed information about the pick-up location in Belgrade.
The following expenses related to the collective YBD exhibition at Salone satellite 2022 will be covered by the organizer: exhibition space fee, design and production of the exhibition stand, communication materials, transportation of the approved exhibits from Belgrade to Milan and back to Belgrade.
After Salone Satellite, prototypes will be returned to Belgrade for the exhibition at Mikser Festival in October 2022, in which designers will be invited to participate and can collect their exhibits at their own arrangement. Affordable accomodation (hostel or host family) will be offered by the organizer for 1-2 representatives per project, while transportation to and from Belgrade is at the designers’ own expense.
The decisions of the jury are final. Any claims arising in relation to the authorship of the design or of possible plagiarism thereof, will be the responsibility of the designer. In the event of non-fulfillment of any of the rules herein, or in case of inconsistency of the prototypes with the initially submitted and selected project and/or insufficient quality of the final outcome, the curatorial team maintains the right to exclude the submitted exhibit from the exhibition and the accompanying events.
Jelena Matic, Professor at the University of Belgrade, Serbia
Nikola Radeljkovic, Product Designer, Numen / ForUse, Croatia
Maja Lalic, Founder, Mikser Association, Serbia
Co-authors: Jelena Matic, Maja Lalic
Communications: Jelena Pavlovic
Design: Ksenija Pantelic
Project coordinator: Mia Protic
Project is conducted under the umbrella of BALKAN DESIGN NETWORK, informal collaboration network of design initiatives, institutions and individuals across the Balkans, gathered around the aim of articulating and providing long-term strategic support for the development of Balkan designers and their promotion on European and International level.