Pure Talents Contest 2021

Winners of the young talent design competition

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. For this reason, the Pure Talents Contest 2021 was held online for the first time. The winners were announced during an online press event on 9 February, at which the award winners were announced by imm cologne Director Claire Steinbrück and jury member Sebastian Herkner. pandemic.

Feb 10 2021

This year's winning entries represent a highly creative new generation of designers that appear surprisingly poetic, playful and light-footed: a light object with a strong emotional impact, a bookend that functions as a reading light, an ultra-light wooden chair and a snack trolley with a modular look. 

Twice light, once chair and a mobile kitchen 

The Maya Collection by Luiza Guidi, which won first prize, consists of a series of light sculptures that add a new dimension to the wall. The second prize went to Dirk Vosding for his design Elina, with which the young designer, in an age geared towards digital communication, throws an accent on the analogue medium par excellence: the book.  

Third prize went to Tatu Laakso's Olivia chair - a lightweight universal wooden chair that strikes a successful balance between slender structure and a comfortable seating experience. In the LivingKitchen Selection - the prize category of the Pure Talents Contest, which is only awarded every two years on the occasion of the kitchen event held parallel to the imm cologne - Erik Mantz-Hansen's compact, modular street food kitchen Guerilla Kitchen won first prize.  

The Maya elements take the form of an empty frame and form a collection of light sculptures that emit a seductive light and add a new dimension to an otherwise flat wall. © Luiza Guidi

Expert jury praises mature and sensual product designs 

In October 2020, this year's Pure Talents Contest jury, consisting of designer Eva Marguerre (Design Studio Besau-Marguerre), Jennifer Reaves, Managing Director of the international design fair blickfang, designer Sebastian Herkner from Offenbach and Norbert Ruf, Creative Director and Managing Director of Thonet GmbH, viewed a total of 862 product submissions from 59 nations. The 26 nominated designs represent the product areas of furniture, floor coverings, wallpapers and textiles, lighting, smart home, home accessories and kitchen. 

The jury's conclusion: this year's designs stood out above all for their high level of product maturity as well as their sensual, appealing and extremely likeable appeal. "In addition to the idea, composition and design quality, the judging process should also recognise the ability of designers to create commercially functioning products," said jury member Jennifer Reaves. Many of the submissions to the current edition of the Pure Talents Contest hardly allowed any conclusions to be drawn about their often still student origins.

Maya Collection by Luiza Guidi 

This is also the case with the Maya Collection by Brazilian Luiza Guidi. It forms a group of light sculptures that add a new dimension to an otherwise flat wall. Like opening a window, the LED-lined frame swings open from the wall, creating a sensual play of light and shadow in a completely self-explanatory way.  

With every movement of the frame, the light in the room also changes. "We were particularly moved by the sensual play with light, both as an object sculpture and as a functional product. The simplicity with which light can be staged in such a sensual way inspired us," says Reaves, explaining the decision for the winning entry. 

Elina design by Dirk Vosding 

The Elina design by German Dirk Vosding is also about interaction with light and its changeability. When closed, Elina is a bookend; when it is slowly pulled out, the glass pane inside begins to glow, casting more and more light on the surrounding books. When fully extended, the adjustable illuminated pane can then be oriented as a reading light.  

"The design is reminiscent of old-fashioned clamp lamps for the bookcase, but it is infinitely more charming - a simple, small, fine product that can stand just as well as a table lamp or as a bookend on the sideboard or bedside table," says designer Eva Marguerre, explaining the jury's decision.

The Maya elements take the form of an empty frame and form a collection of light sculptures that emit a seductive light and add a new dimension to an otherwise flat wall. © Luiza Guidi

Olivia chair by Tatu Laakso 

The jury was also enthusiastic about the Olivia chair by Finnish designer Tatu Laakso, the third-place winning design in the Pure Talents Contest 2021. The design explores the balance between lightness, stability and ergonomics in the material moulded plywood, resulting in a light yet stable structure in the Olivia chair.  

"We were inspired by the beautiful model because of its play with moulded plywood and its design language, which is sensual and light and shows references to Finnish design. A very confident design for a semester project, the quality of which cannot be taken for granted even for diploma theses," finds designer Sebastian Herkner.

Olivia is a lightweight universal wooden chair that strikes a successful balance between a slender structure and a comfortable seating experience. © Tatu Laakso

Guerilla Kitchen by Erik Mantz-Hansen 

In the LivingKitchen Selection of the Pure Talents Contest 2021, the Guerilla Kitchen by the German Erik Mantz-Hansen convinced the jury. It is designed as a tool for the preparation of street food in urban spaces, which with its compactness allows mobility in the confined spaces of the city as well as the development of diverse usage options in a small area. Thanks to individually combinable modules, every requirement can be flexibly met and a wide variety of dishes can be prepared.  

"Here, the design fits perfectly with LivingKitchen's claim to really live nutrition and cooking," finds Norbert Ruf. "Implemented with a very functional, almost tool-oriented design language, the product also looks very robust. One can imagine that it can be in use for a long time as a functional object. In addition, the likeable design, which is very well thought out with its different functionalities, carries the theme of tools for the kitchen and for cooking into the public space in a good way."

Guerilla Kitchen.jpg Guerilla Kitchen is a tool for preparing street food in urban spaces. © Erik Mantz-Hansen

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