ein&zwanzig newcomer award: "Best of Best" distinction presented for textile installation

Apr 21, 2020

The international ein&zwanzig competition is a staple of the German Design Council’s support for young talent. Each year it recognises the 21 most impressive products from up-and-coming designers internationally. Juliette Berthonneau, a designer from France, received the highest distinction, “Best of Best”.

Light and floating 3D textiles

The “Best of Best” winner, chosen from among 1,035 entries, is Juliette Berthonneau from Paris with her product debut, “Bouncing Patterns”. The textile installation impressed the jury with an intricate and poetic design statement coupled with high functionality in use. “Bouncing Patterns” are pleated 3D textiles known as spacer fabrics, featuring absorbent, cushioning and self-supporting properties. The multilayered, hollow structure of the fabric is light and rigid yet also flexible. “My goal from the outset was to question the traditional idea of a flat weave,” says Juliette Berthonneau, a master’s graduate from the Swedish School of Textiles. Her new fabric can be used as textile panels to form sculptures and, moreover, provide a solution for acoustic issues, thermal insulation or upholstery. The shapes that it takes vary freely, letting self-supporting, agile objects transform endlessly through pleating or pressure treatment.

Poetry and functionality

The winners’ works make an excellent impression through their considered confrontation of topical issues: increasing mobility, housing shortages, multifunctionality and the desire for individuality and simplicity. Manuel Kugler, Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, is even receiving an award for two entries: Kugler seeks to inject individuality into serial production with his “tryk” porcelain objects, a collection of bowls and cups. To achieve this goal, Kugler experimented with porcelain clay. After extruding the porcelain, the designer deliberately encouraged individual deformations through manual actions, for example by folding, bending and squeezing. The “Woody” toy glides like a hoverboard above the asphalt while simultaneously sweeping the ground. Featuring round timber in combination with bristles, the design is a tongue-in-cheek play on the typology of a broom.

The idea of multifunctionality can lead to new types of furniture, and this is proven by Valeria Lambrecht, Hochschule Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and Marie Radke, Berlin University of the Arts. In its closed state, “Piu” by Valeria Lambrecht is a minimalist furniture module. However, hidden behind its oak slats is an electric piano. The elegant musical instrument-cum-item of furniture further contains a sound system that can connect to any mobile device. Meanwhile, Marie Radke is adding a storage function to seating furniture. Her “Hempel Family” series consists of a stool, ottoman, bench and perch in and on which clothing can be kept or aired. The clothing chair acts as a tool for presentation.

The “Airchair” by Austrian designer Kerstin Pfleger is a furniture item for those on the go. The outdoor hanging chair, made of welded TPU and equipped with a valve, is simple to inflate and can be used for an upcoming picnic. It is easily put back into storage after deflating and folding. The “Trio” kitchen is another product that accompanies the owner around the world. Dirk Biotto, a graduate of Berlin University of the Arts, developed a three-part, independently functioning kitchen reduced to the essential elements of preparing, cooking and washing up. Detached from any architectural environment, the kitchen module ceases to need space and instead enables any setting to become a kitchen.

The “Round Chair” by Jeong Ho Ko draws the inspiration for its materials and form from the bonds of a family, encapsulated in the concept of kinfolk. The designer opted for simple timber as the material for his chair. “Although this natural material is hard and rigid, it nevertheless conveys softness and comfort,” explains Ko, “These properties make it fantastically suitable for communicating human togetherness.” “The Patterns of Industry”, by Oneseo Choi from South Korea, transforms a typical aluminium bar, mainly used in industry, into aesthetic furniture and objects. The profile of the aluminium bar, which features geometric patterns, is what inspired the designer for his project. These industrial patterns can be scaled without end; the opportunities are therefore diverse.

Combining poetry and functionality was Studio Flaer’s mission for the “Piuma” light design. Anna Drewes and Dario Iannone from Berlin were already among the winners of the ein&zwanzig awards in 2019. “Piuma” is inspired by the floating, light weight of a spiderweb. The light tilts at an angle or fixed in a stable horizontal position by pushing a weight. The ultralight shade rotates on its own axis and directs the light in all directions.

International promotion by the German Design Council

Providing support to new talent is a core task of the German Design Council. Its ein&zwanzig competition has in this context become a coveted mark of excellence. The competition generates interest internationally, having received a total of 1,035 entries from 74 different countries and thereby recording year-on-year growth of 25% (from 824 entries). The German Design Council provides the 21 winners with a prominent platform, boosts their visibility and allows them to gain important contacts.

As Lutz Dietzold, Managing Director of the German Design Council, highlights, “We are proud that the ein&zwanzig awards have in recent years become a relevant platform that young, international designers use to draw attention to themselves and their work and to network with important producers and businesses. We regret that we cannot offer the usual stage at Salone del Mobile this year, though we are very satisfied with the attention and reach that we are generating for this design talent, including in digital spaces. After all, access to our networks is not tied to Milan.”

Further information can be found at: Instagram: @ein_und_zwanzig | Facebook: @GermanDesignCouncil | Twitter: @DesignInGermany  

ein&zwanzig awards

The German Design Council supports young design talent with the ein&zwanzig competition, which calls for entries internationally. The awards are directed towards design students and graduates with innovative and trendsetting work in furnishings, home accessories, lighting, floor and wall coverings, textiles and lifestyle. An international expert jury selects 21 outstanding works from among the entries, with one of these works receiving the “Best of Best” distinction.

German Design Council

The German Design Council is one of the world's leading centres of excellence for communication and knowledge transfer in the design, innovation and branding sector. Currently, more than 320 companies belong to its foundation. The German Design Council was founded in 1953, at the initiative of the German Federal Parliament, to support and enhance design expertise in the German economy. It pursues a wide range of activities with a single goal: to promote awareness of how to increase brand value on a sustained basis through the strategic use of design and innovation.

Contact The German Design Council Janine Wunder, Vice President Communications and Marketing Phone +49 (0) 69 24 74 48-699 E-mail: