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Deadline: February 20, 2019 00:00 (CET)| Apply here
Eligibility: The competition is open to all persons born in 1985* and younger, 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.

Young Balkan Designers Competition 2019

Young Balkan Designers (YBD) is a regional talent platform founded in 2011 with the aim to identify, promote and develop the creative potential of the Balkan region in the field of product design.

The initiative also aims at unifying regional design scene, bringing it closer to the international market, strengthening its potential by providing additional education and practice, while at the same time contributes to the restoration of multi-cultural cooperation in the Balkan region.

Challenge overview

Young Balkan Designers competition consists of two parts. In the first part young designers are challenged to get familiar with the basics of circular economy and explore possibilities of innovative design approach enhancing circularity of product, materials, services and concepts.

The wider selection of winners made in the first round of the selection process will be part of a talent exhibition at the Mikser Festival 2019, while the best projects selected at the Mikser Festival will tour major regional design festivals.

The big news of the YBD 2019 edition is that it introduced the second, product-oriented phase of the project in collaboration with leading regional furniture and product manufacturers.

Representatives of selected companies will choose designers among the final winners of the YBD19 competition based on their performance in the first part of the competition, to collaborate with on development of new circular products whose prototypes will be developed in cooperation with the mentor companies and exhibited at Salone Satellite within International Furniture Fair in Milan in 2020.

Based on results of potential product’s presentation at one of the most important global fairs, companies will define the future development of potential products, with possibilities of serial production, which would be a subject to a separate agreement between the company and the designer.

Competition theme 2019: “Circular Design”

Young Balkan Designers theme for 2019 – “Circular Design” calls for design projects − products, concepts, services and scenarios that can bring the Balkans to the forefront of a much-needed paradigm shift in design, production and consumption.

You are challenged think about the circularity of the production process and how it can address the changing needs of product and services users, implementation of local skills and resources, the involvement of your immediate surroundings in problem-solving process and production, creating a positive impact, both on your local community and the rising global issues.

Today’s linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economy relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy, and is a model that is wasteful and polluting.

We need to think and design differently

A circular economy is a viable alternative, but to drive the transition towards a more regenerative economy, we need to think and design differently.

At its core, a circular economy means that products no longer have a linear life cycle with a beginning, middle, and end, but are restorative and regenerative, they contribute less waste and can add value to their ecosystem. When materials stop being used, they go back into a useful cycle, hence the circular economy.

Design defines the types of resources used and the way they are combined in the production process and use, time and possibilities of recycling, the efficiency of resource use, reuse, the potential life cycle of the product, the possibility of repair and return of the product or service to the market.

Can you find opportunities to redesign this system?

Designers play an essential role in choosing materials that are fit for the circular economy. Not all materials are suitable for use in circular products because they contain chemicals of concern that may be polluting or potentially hazardous for humans or the environment.

Making products, services or organisations more circular can begin with small changes. Understand an everyday product by exploring the system it is part of.

Imagine how both could be redesigned to be in accordance with the circular economy and its three principles: design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; regenerate natural systems. Look at the material flows and examine where they come from and where they go after use?

Interested in applying for the Young Balkan Designers Competition 2019? Register your participation by following the registration link and taking the suggested steps.


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