Young Swiss designers illustrate their potential

Award-winning fashion designs by Lela Scherrer. Oliver Lang

Switzerland’s most promising young designers are being honoured by an exhibition at Lausanne’s Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts.

This content was published on November 3, 2003 minutes

They have all won awards from the Federal Culture Office for their innovative designs, ranging from fashion to photography.

Over 270 participants took part in this year’s competition, with 29 winners. Each of them can choose between a cash award of SFr20,000 ($15,000) or an internship in a design institute in Switzerland or abroad.

“The jury simply looks for new designs of the highest quality,” joint curator Patrizia Crivelli of the Federal Culture Office told swissinfo. “And this year the quality is very high.”

“There is a huge potential in Switzerland for young designers. We now have several design schools which are very much up-to-date and the competition reflects that.”

Fashion trends

Crivelli added that a noticeable trend over the past few years has been the rise in the number of promising fashion designers such as Irène Münger and Lela Scherrer, both of whom won awards for the second consecutive year.

As a result of her 2002 award, Münger is currently living and working in New York.

But there is much more to Swiss Design 2003 than fashion – such as a computer-controlled device created by Ulrich Franke and Jürg Lehni.

“Hektor, Graffiti Plotter” sprays graphics from an aerosol can onto a wall and won the jury’s praise for being an innovative tool for graphic design.

“We envisage that it will become a tool for performance art at exhibitions,” co-creator Lehni told swissinfo.


Another award winner commended by the jury was Leo Fabrizio for his series of colour photographs of Swiss military fortifications and bunkers.

“His unassertive, to a certain extent neutral eye, respects the character of these structures – some quite absurd – and uses them to provoke viewers into an amusing and entertaining ‘search for errors’,” the jury said.

“[It’s] a game of double camouflage and [an] artistic examination of a quintessentially Swiss theme.”

The exhibition, which is on at the museum until February 15, also showcases over 30 books published recently in Switzerland which were judged to be the most aesthetically pleasing.

swissinfo, Richard Dawson in Lausanne

In brief

Organised by the Federal Culture Office, the competition for young designers was first held in 1918.

Judged by a panel of experts, it covers several design fields, including graphics, fashion, textiles, photography, theatre set design and ceramics.

Twenty-nine designers were selected from 277 participants in the 2003 competition.

Winners can choose between a cash award of SFr20,000 ($15,000) or work experience.

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