Slovenian design centre on cards at this year’s Bio

Slovenia’s 20th Biennial of Industrial Design, which is underway in Ljubljana until 5 November, will expand its global reach and seek to attract more international designers and partners from South America and Asia in the future.

The main exhibition is accompanied by several other related smaller exhibitions and lectures. One topic that is being debated is the possibility of establishing Slovenia’s first design centre, which will be financed by the Slovenian government and a host of regional businesses.

‘The Slovenian design centre is a big issue at the moment,’ says the Biennial of Industrial Design marketing director Anja Zorko. ‘We are in the process of negotiations. Slovenia needs a design centre because currently there is nothing to connect designers and the industry. There is a need to implement a network.’

A strategy to boost the event’s international standing – more commonly referred to as Bio – could also see the organisers embark on a global pitch to appoint designers to create a fresh brand identity and redrawn exhibition layout for future biennials, says Zorko.

‘Our focus is to increase international co-operation. At this point we have to reconsider and re-evalute what the Bio is. Where do we have to go from now, what does it want to be and how do we get there?’ says Zorko.

At this year’s event, designers from 17 countries display some 350 exhibits. Awards are bestowed from an international panel of judges to the Best of Show exhibits. German designer Markus Temming wins the Bio Gold Medal for ‘Me Markus T,’ a pair of glasses designed with a unique hinge system. The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design Excellence Award is awarded to a free-standing fridge and freezer unit, designed in-house by manufacturer Pininfarina and Slovenian white goods maker, Gorenje. As part of a more extensive kitchen line, the unit includes an integrated touch-screen and flexible shelves and trays, which are designed to hold items of varying sizes.

Slovenia based design group Gigo Design is awarded the International Council of Graphic Design Associations prize for its corporate identity design for casino operator, Hit Gorica. Croatian designers Izvorka Serdarevic and Jelena Zecevic win the Bureau of European Design Associations European Design award for best European achievement, for a bottle design for Brachia Olive (pictured).

According to Zorko, overall the number of exhibits has declined, despite a greater level of international interest in the event.

There has also been a marked decline in the amount of student work submitted this year. ‘We have noticed the decrease in student work, which is usually the most innovative and daring. This brings us to another challenge to address for the future,’ she adds.

The festival has been enlarged this year to include an educational programme for the first time. This includes guided tours and workshops for children and students. It takes place at the Architectural Museum of Ljubljana in Fuzine Castle.

Biennial of Industrial Design, BIO:

• Founded 44 years ago

• Objective is to present current movements in contemporary industrial and graphic design

• Includes 1000m2 exhibition space at Ljubljana’s Fuzine Castle

• On average, every two years about 600 designers exhibit. There are between 13 and 20 countries on display in each exhibition

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