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Design studio H2E (Riga, Latvia) organized the first National Design Award of Latvia. The Award is an innovative proposition for the Latvian Design society as it introduces an approach completely open to interdisciplinarity. Namely, submissions are not divided into individual categories. Initiated by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, the award aims towards raising the development and quality of Latvian design. The competition is the biggest event of the year in Latvian design. One of the world’s leading IT company “Accenture” is the general sponsor of the award.

This year 147 entries were received, covering a wide variety of design projects. The first three places also demonstrate the diverse approach to design. The first place was awarded to digital solution, a data visualization tool „Infogram“ (author, team: Infogram). Spatial design was represented by exhibition stand design „The Imprint of Civilization“, receiving the second place (author: Ilze Kanbērziņa Praz; team: Zane Zajančkauska, Jevgenijs Sisojevs).

The third place was awarded to children’s balance bike „Brum Brum“, product design (author: Krišjānis Jermaks; team: Krišjānis Jermaks, Zigmārs Lācis, Raimonds Tāle, Conrad Schmidt, Oskars Cirsis, Jānis Jirgens, Edgars Krūmiņš, Imants Bisenieks, Toms Grīnbergs, Aldis Blicsons). Altogether, jury selected 20 finalists, following identical evaluation criteria, for example, market potential, compatibility with its purpose etc., regardless of entry being a product, graphic, fashion or service design. All finalists received jury comments, thus enabling professional feedback that is mostly missing.

That is the jury statement on the actual situation in Latvian design scene for the year 2016. The international jury featured Robert Thiemann (Co-founder and Director of the leading global design magazine „Frame”), Hringur Hafsteinsson (Creative Director, „Gagarin“), Stephane Vial (Associate Professor, Doctoral Advisor and Research Leader, „University of Nîmes“), Vesma Kontere McQuillan (Architect; Professor, Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology), Inese Baranovska (Head of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design), Rihards Funts (designer, curator, RIJADA; founder, International Design Summer School MAD), Barbara Ābele (design visionary; Associate Professor, Art Academy of Latvia).

Every year the jury members will change, however the international and inter-disciplinary aspect will remain most crucial. The bright graphic identity created by H2E implies characteristics of the award – dynamism, clarity, open space for conversation and tracing of the development of Latvian design. Alongside the graphic identity and jury sessions, the award encompassed different actions and events. An open discussion “Design Doing” gathered both design professionals and jury members to express their opinions; the award ceremony highlighted the best entries.

The design awareness of general public is raised with the finalist exhibition (till April 9), also inviting people to express their opinion on the criteria and best work. Additional educational lectures will take place.Planning for the next year is in full swing. The ceremony of the National Design Award of Latvia 2018 will take place on April 12, 2018. Entries for the award will be accepted from January 8, 2018 till February 8, 2018. The structure of the award, the organizational principles and results of the first year serve as a starting point for new and progressive society’s view on design. H2E will organize the Award for the next two years.

Design: H2E

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