Slovenia’s global industrial design show

An exhibition of industrial design from 19 countries around the world will open in Slovenian capital Ljubljana in October, but just one British project will be among the works on show.

Peter Crnokrak, the sole British designer shortlisted for Bio, Slovenia’s well-established design biennial, believes that more British designers and students should enter what he views as a unique event.

‘Bio is distinguished from the myriad of other awards on the design scene by its conceptual aspect,’ asserts Crnokrak. He says that, as a ‘semi-regular’ design awards

competitor, he is selective about how many he enters because of the amount of time it takes to prepare for them. ‘Very few competitions allow you to present non-commercially-oriented design, and that attracted me,’ he explains.

Crnokrak is a graphic designer at Nick Bell Design in London, but also runs his own consultancy, Plusminus.

The project he has entered for the 21st Bio is a double-sided poster that attempts to measure the contribution of United Nations member states to either world peace or terror.

‘The focus is going to be on design projects oriented toward sustainable development and social responsibility,’ states Bio 21’s rules for participation.

The organisers report that a record number of countries have entered work this year. The full 2008 shortlist was announced last week at the Architecture Museum of Ljubljana.

Nearly half of the 126 shortlisted works – picked from 421 entries – are by Slovenian designers, while eastern European countries – including Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – will display about ten works each in the exhibition. Germany, Italy, Austria and Belgium are contributing between four and six works each.

Given its geographical distance from Slovenia, Japan clocked up an impressive five shortlisted projects, while the UK, the US, Portugal, Brazil, Turkey and Iran each managed to get one or two entries into the exhibition.

The month-long, 820m2 show – created by Slovenian product design group Jure Miklavc Studio – kicks off with an awards ceremony. On the opening night, a design jury will dish out Bio gold medals, quality concept awards and honourable mentions to about ten entries. All exhibited works will be published in the Bio 21 awards book.

Crnokrak, who is Croatian by birth, believes that the international appeal of Bio and other design competitions is set to grow.

‘There is a proliferation of on-line design portals and blogs publicising competitions,’ he says. ‘Also, Bio offered an on-line registration system for the first time this year, which makes any competition massively more appealing to overseas designers.’

The exhibition runs from 2 October to 2 November at the Architecture Museum of Ljubljana at Fuzine Castle in Slovenia.

Bio 21 schedule

  • April – call for entries closes. There are 421 entries from a record number of countries
  • May – shortlist of 126 successful works from 19 countries announced
  • September – Bio 21 book published
  • 2 October – awards ceremony selects about ten winning entries. A month-long exhibition begins in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, arranged in three categories: products, visual communications and design concepts
  • November – exhibition closes

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