The Henry van de Velde Awards, the annual labels for good design, have been announced. With that the gold rush can begin towards January 22, 2020 because only then will the real oscars or so-called Henry van de Velde Gold Awards be honored.
TEK STIEL, the co-creative social-artistic project of the City of Genk and Linde Hermans, is already receiving one of the Awards in the “Collaborative” category. The Waterbench by Barbara Standaert – which we previously brought to Pukkelpop – and the Zutendaal company Ebema is distinguished in the “Habitat” category. The Bilzen specialist in kinematerial Gymna saw her collaboration with Axel Enthovens ’Yellow Window honored. For graphics and communication, an award goes to Bureau BoschBerg, the graphic studio of which Laura Bergans is a part. Bergans is indebted to Z33 and also gave color to MARKED in 2013, at the time an equally perceptive and successful design process from C-mine Genk.
The formula of the Henry van de Velde Awards has been adjusted several times in recent years and it still causes some confusion. Now that the “awards” have been announced, there are already newspapers that lack the sense of nuance and all the “oscar winners” applaud. But that confusion is understandable, because previously there was a division between Henry van de Velde Labels and Henry van de Velde Awards. While the Labels were a kind of communication-technical label, the Award made it clear who shot the main bird. In recent years, however, there have been other ideas. A professional jury composed by Flanders DC now selects the 3 best designs or design processes that have been submitted in 7 different categories (Business Innovation, Collaborative, Consumer, Design-led Crafts, Digital Product, Graphic & Communication and Habitat).
The jury therefore only selects on the basis of submitted designs and that proves once again how crucial it is for designers and companies to submit in time for this, because unknown makes unloved. This year, therefore, 304 dossiers were prepared and that is then reduced to a shortlist of 3 most relevant designs each time. So these now receive an Award. The real oscars – or Gold Awards – will then be announced on January 22. These winners in each of the categories are also selected by the jury, except for the Public Gold Award, where the public chooses.
Flanders DC has been awarding meaningful design since 1994 and these Henry van de Velde Awards play an extremely important role in the recognition of design and designers. The involvement and interest of the wider public is also increasing year after year, although we continue to make reservations whether the many formula changes of the past years have now led to a recipe for success. It is clear that it is very difficult to grasp the difference between the Award and the Gold Award and the status of the “Gold Award” also seems to devalue somewhat for the designers and companies involved. A battle for gold, silver and bronze may make it more comprehensible, but even then. That, too, is not immediately a salient formula for success.
It is also striking that Bokrijk has taken on the Design-LED Crafts category. In a press release, Bokrijk emphasizes that this category is in line with its objectives: “guiding professionals in the realization of their dreams and ambitions” and that “Museum Bokrijk wants to honor people, groups or companies who, based on a tradition, craft work relevant and contemporary know how to use, be it socially engaged, research-oriented, or from a creative self-relativistic attitude. ”
Bokrijk and Flanders DC have previously worked together in the best of terms and now find each other blindly. And that is therefore converted into an official designation of Design-led Crafts by Bokrijk. By Bokrijk. Not by BKRK nor by VAKlab. The will to collaborate on this category in the coming years is clear, but it is not known whether this also implies anything in the field of judging. It is certainly in line with the Henry van de Velde Ecodesign Gold Award by OVAM, which will be awarded on January 22, but no longer has a specific award category because good design must always be sustainable today.
If you want to view the 21 different Award Winners, you can do that here. You can vote for your favorite until December 19th.