Young Balkan Designers Competition

Open call for regional design competition:
Heritage in contemporary, inclusive usage has come to mean anything, created in the past, that helps us, collectively or individually, to understand the present and create a (better) future. It is a fluid and living concept, and always in the process of being created.
— Matthew Taylor and Clare Devaney

Young Balkan Designers (YBD) is a regional talent platform founded in 2011 with the aim to identify, promote and develop 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 creative potential by offering additional education and practice, while at the same time contributes to the restoration of multi-cultural cooperation in the Balkan region. Calling out for activism and design advocacy, Young Balkan Designers project has gathered vital design forces throughout the region and resulted in foundation of the Balkan Design Network, an innovative platform established with the aim of articulating and providing long-term strategic support for the development and promotion of the Balkan design, both within the region and at European and international level.
Reinforced by the Balkan Design Network framework, YBD’s two-year program consists of the regional design competition(December 2014 – March, 2015), interna­tional touring exhibition of the 20 to 30 winning projects (June 2014 – November 2015),designers mobility program: travel, education seminars and practical work­shops hosted by the key regional design festivals (June 2014 – November 2015), crowned with a series of mentored residency workshops (November 2015 – February 2016) tailored for the final three winners selected by the Jury, pursued in cooperation with the leading regional manufacturers.

Competition theme: Common Grounds
Young Balkan Designers slogan for 2015 – common grounds calls for introspective view on one’s own heritage and cultural values, vernacular roots, authenticities and imperfections, and their intelligent interpretation into contemporary Balkan context.
We challenge you to think about heritage in the broadest terms, from your own personal heritage – ancestry and culture – to our collective heritage as a society, including the places we live in. In your pursuit to define what universal values lie at the intersection of common interest and passion of traditional and progressive urban population, activate the value of cultural assets in and incorporate material and imma­terial heritage in your work.

Competition subject and criteria
Design concepts, products (furniture, lighting, interior elements, everyday objects, home accessories, stationary, aid products), urban services, recycled materials, fash­ion garments, etc. that offer innovative yet rational solutions to everyday problems. Criteria appreciated by the Jury: threads of material and immaterial heritage woven into innovative features of the project that enhance the quality of contemporary com­munity life; ergonomics; rational production costs; use of materials available locally; environmentally friendly production process; significant social impact.
If selected for YBD touring exhibition, submitted projects must be executed as functional pro­totypes. Print outs of renderings and other 2D presentations can be included in the exhibition only as additional illustration of the project.

Konstantin Grcic, kgid, Industrial Designer (Germany)
jury members
Jan Boelen, Product Designer, Design Academy Eindhoven (nl), Z33 house for contemporary art (Belgium)
Nikola Radeljković, Product Designer, Numen / ForUse, president of Balkan Design Network (Croatia)
Jelena Matić, Furniture Designer, Professor at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade (Serbia)

Project development mentors
Nikola Radeljković, Product Designer, Numen / ForUse (Croatia)
Ivana Borovnjak, Product Designer, Director, Croatian Design Association (Croatia)
Aleksandar Velinovski, Design manager; Founder, Skopje Design Week (Macedonia)
Jelena Matić, Furniture Designer, Professor at the University of Belgrade (Serbia)
Maja Lalić, Architect; Creative Director and Founder, Mikser organization (Serbia)

General terms
The competition is open to all persons aged 35 years 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.

The competition is open to 28th February 2015
The jury will announce the winners of the: Competition Level 1: Selected designers for the touring exhibition young balkan designers, on 10th March 2015.
Competition Level 2: Selected designers for the residency workshops and practical training program, will be announced inOctober 2015.

Registration and project submission
Applicants will be able to register and submit their projects by filling in a Young Balkan Designers form online at
until 28th February 2015 at 23:59.

Award / step 1: touring exhibition “young balkan designers” (20–30 winning projects)
Around ten best projects will be selected among the competition entries to participate in the Young Balkan Designers exhibition which will be on tour to all major regional design festival and selection of international design events including: Mikser Festival in Belgrade (3–7 June, 2015), D Day in Zagreb (25–29 June, 2015); One Design Week in Plovdiv (20–29 June, 2015); Skopje Design Week (September 2015); Wienna Design WeekTirana Design Week (October, 2015); Istanbul
(November, 2015), IMM Cologne (January, 2016).

Award / step 2: young balkan designers mobility and education program (7 Designers per event)
Thanks to Balkan Design Network and the support of the Creative Europe of the Eu­ropean Commission, each of the Young Balkan Designers 2015 will be able to travel and attend educational seminars and workshops at the organizers’ expense to three design destinations during the first eight months of the project:
1) to attend the grand opening at the Mikser Festival 2015 in Belgrade,
2) visit one additional regional design festival (in Zagreb, Skopje, Plovdiv or Tirana), and
3) participate in one of the international design events (Vienna, Istanbul or Cologne).

Award / step 3: residency workshops and practical training program (3 finalist designers)
Three designers or design collectives that perform the best throughout the mobili­ty program of the YBD will be selected among exhibition participants by program mentors to win a residency in one of the host cities around the region, pursued in cooperation with the leading regional design manufacturers from Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia. Residency program simultaneously takes place in three partner cities: Belgrade, Zagreb and Skopje, it lasts three to four weeks and covers the travel and board costs for the selected designers and includes residency in a local manufacturing facility, practical training at a local design studio and the internship at the organizer’s design institution.

Important notes
By submitting this application, designers commit, if selected to participate in the Young Balkan Designers exhibition, to produce 2 identical pieces of prototypes and secure their transportation to Belgrade, Serbia by 31st May 2015, at their own ex­pense. 2 pieces of prototypes are needed due to the overlapping dates of some of the design festivals at which YBD exhibition will be presented.
Upon the announcement of the competition results in March, the Organizers will con­tact the laureates to provide them with the official invitation letter to accompany their prototypes during the transportation and the detailed information about the delivery location. After Mikser Festival in Belgrade, designers leave their prototypes with the YBD organizational team for the purpose of the touring exhibition for the duration of eight months. The return of the selected prototypes is possible upon request and the return transportation costs need to be covered by the designer.
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 the case of inconsisten­cy of the prototypes with the project selected by the Jury, the objects submitted will be excluded from the Competition.

Main organizer
balkan design network
hdd / Croatia /
mikser / Serbia /
public room / Macedonia /

Info & Inquiries


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