Young Balkan Designers (YBD) is Mikser organization’s regional talent platform aimed at discovering, developing and promoting creative talents of the Balkan region in the field of sustainable 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 to emerging designers, while at the same time contributing to the restoration of multi-cultural cooperation in the Balkan region.
Nunc (now) is a furniture manufacturer from Slavonia, Croatia. It debuted on international design scene in 2019 at the furniture fair in Cologne Germany, and it has been growing and conquering international markets ever since. Nunc’s witty and refreshing approach to design of everyday objects comes from collaboration with emerging designers from the entire region, many of which have debuted on the regional and international scene via Young Balkan Designers platform.
The company visionaries and Mikser curators teamed up in launching a special edition of Young Balkan Designers competition, creating a unique opportunity for the next generation of Balkan designers to join Nunc on its mission to reinterpret the region’s rich tradition and culture into innovative and recognizable contemporary design products.
COMPETITION THEME: “HERE AND NOW”
May you live in interesting times. We do. Technological breakthrough opens new possibilities of remote working and flexible working arrangements that also affect configuration of our personal and communal spaces. On the other hand, the global health crisis gave us time to reflect on our personal values and aspirations, leading to mass self-reflection on the ways we want to spend most of our day – where, when, with whom and why. Theme “Here and Now – Hybrid Solutions for Contemporary Living, Work, Exchange and Play” calls for sustainable, smart, flexible design solutions for ever-changing environments and circumstances we live in nowadays.
We challenge young designers to explore new furniture and space functions for in-between and overlapping areas of everyday worlds: home, work, school, public spaces, fun, intimate and communal zones, urban and rural environments, static and moving experiences. Submitted projects should be able to offer multiple functions and experiences to its users, support diverse living scenarios, hybrid and nomadic work models, enable easy creation of “third spaces”, transform any place into a play room or informal education set-up and much more. We encourage young designers to concoct new or revisit their existing design ideas, by looking into cross-over, hybrid functions of furniture pieces, modular systems or other utility objects, from perspectives of diverse users (grown-ups, children, different genders, elderly, people with disabilities, etc.), various time scenarios (by night, by day, seasonal, etc.), alternating environments and social contexts (outdoor, indoor, private, public), etc.
Marva Griffin, curator, Salone Satellite, Milan Furniture Fair, Italy
Henriette Waal, industrial designer, professor at Eindhoven Design Academy, Netherlands / Director of Experminental Research, Atelier Luma, Experimental Program, France
Nikola Radeljkovic, designer, Numen/For Use, Croatia
Jelena Matic, product designer, professor at Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Maja Lalic, architects, founder of Mikser Association, Serbia
Design concepts, products – furniture items and systems, lighting, interior elements, everyday objects, outdoor elements, toys and tools, home accessories and textiles, innovative design and production scenarios that support and enable mobility, multifunctionality, transformability and adaptation of spatial elements to diverse functions, time and use scenarios.
Criteria appreciated by the Jury: innovative features of the project that enhance the quality of everyday life; ability to address needs of diverse users; multifunctionality; 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 challenges.
The competition is open to creators up to 40 years of age, who live or work in the Balkans, have Balkan origin, or appreciate Balkan culture. Applicants may be individuals or groups of authors. Each applicant may submit more than one entry.
The Jury will select the Competition winners for:
- I Round Winners: Participation in YBD for NUNC Exhibition of proposals in Belgrade (Faculty of Forestry, side program of Belgrade Furniture Fair)
- II Round Winners: Product Development for NUNC w/ company product development team
- Successful Prototypes: Presentation of prototypes at Milan International Furniture Fair 2024 (Nunc Booth) and Mikser Festival 2024 in Belgrade
I Round Winners for The Exhibition Selection Category will be announced on 2 October 2023 online at mikser.rs (Jury decision)
II Round Winners for Product Development Category will be announced on 11 October 2023 at the YBD for NUNC Exhibition Opening in Belgrade, during Belgrade Furniture Fair (Curatorial and Product Development Teams’ decision)
Final selection of successful prototypes for presentations at Milano Furniture Fair 2024 and Mikser Festival 2024 will be made in February 2024
27 Sep 2023 – Competition Deadline for submission of proposals
28 Sep – 1 Oct 2023 – Pre-selection and jurying process
2 Oct 2023 – Public announcement of the I Round Winners: Exhibition Selection Category
11 Oct 2023 – Exhibition Opening and the public announcement of the II Round Winners: Product Development Category at the YBD Exhibition Opening Cocktail in Belgrade at Faculty of Forestry, side program of Belgrade Furniture Fair
Nov 2023 – Jan 2024 – Product development phase
Feb 2023 – Final selection of successful prototypes for Milano at Nunc factory in Djakovo, Croatia
Feb – Mar 2024 – Preparations for products’ presentation at Milan Furniture Fair at Nunc’s booth
16 -21 Apr 2024 – Exhibiting new products at Milan International Furniture Fair
May 2024 – YBD for NUNC exhibition at Mikser Festival, Belgrade
By submitting this application, if selected for the product development, designers commit to collaborate with the YBD curatorial and NUNC product development team on developing functional prototypes for Nunc products to be presented at Milan International Furniture Fair. If the company decides to manufacture the selected products for the market, a separate standard business agreement (contract) will be signed between the company and the designers.
The organizers will cover all expenses related to the organization and production of the Exhibition in Belgrade (design/print of exhibition panels, technical equipment, set-up, communication materials, cocktail, etc.), as well as the presentation of prototypes at Milan International Furniture Fair (production and photographing of prototypes, their transportation to Milan, NUNC booth design and production, communication materials and promotional activities on-site, etc.)
The travel and accommodation expenses for designers to attend the exhibition in Belgrade and NUNC exhibition booth at Milan International Furniture Fair are to be covered by designers.
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 insufficient quality of cooperation or the final outcome, the curatorial team and product development team maintains the right to exclude the prototype from Nunc’s presentation in Milan and promotional materials.
The Future of Shared Spaces – Vitra
The Hybrid Home – At Home with Children
The New Era of Hybrid Work – Steelcase
Drivers of Change for the Future of Work – Herman Miller
Reconnect: Design Strategies for a Post-Covid World – Gensler
Innovation Spaces – Brookings
“Third places” as Community Builders – Brooking
Speculative Design – MIT
Jelena Matic, Professor at the University of Belgrade Serbia
Nikola Radeljkovic, Product Designer, Numen / ForUse, Croatia
Maja Lalic, Founder, Mikser Association, Serbia
NUNC / PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TEAM
Markica Stanusic, CEO, Nunc / Ancona Group, Croatia
Nikola Radeljkovic, Product Designer, Numen / ForUse, Croatia
Mladen Salinovic, Chief Sales Officer, Nunc / Ancona Group, Croatia
MIKSER / YBD TEAM
Co-authors: Maja Lalic, Jelena Matic
Communications: Aleksandra Malusev
Design: Ksenija Pantelic
Project coordinator: Maja Lalic