Innovation and Empowerment: 21 Design Talents Honoured With the German Design Council’s “one&twenty” Young Talent Award

Mar 19, 2024

Every year, the German Design Council honours outstanding design students and graduates in the fields of product design and lifestyle with the international competition "one&twenty". The 21 winning projects for 2024, announced today, impressively demonstrate the determination of young designers to find solutions to the pressing challenges of our time. The winning projects were selected from more than 800 entries from over 50 countries. They are characterised by the use of advanced technologies and innovative materials, as well as a deep understanding of the interplay between sustainability, interdisciplinarity and collaboration.

Lutz Dietzold, Managing Director of the German Design Council, points out: "The award-winning design talents show what is possible when innovation meets responsibility. These projects demonstrate the power of design to create real solutions for the future and thus drive forward the ability of companies to transform themselves in a sustainable way. The challenge for companies is to integrate these concepts and visions of young designers and create the space for creative and solution-oriented design". On 15 April, the winners will be honoured at a new exhibition venue in Milan's Brera district. One project will also be awarded the 'Best of Best' prize at the opening of the exhibition. The exhibition will run during the Salone del Mobile Repairing instead of throwing away: an end to the throwaway culture The 21 winning projects show that sustainability can’t be an afterthought, but instead should be an integral part of the design process. Several winners tackled the problem of the growing throwaway culture, in which repairing broken items is no more financially viable than buying new ones. The solution lies in circular design approaches: If objects are made from easily replaceable components from the outset, repairing them is easier and more attractive than disposing of them.

"New Gen" by Marcus Götschl is a simple bed that can be delivered as an environmentally friendly flat pack. No tools are required for assembly, as the bed has no fittings. Instead, the components are snapped together. The plug-in system of thin wooden elements and hollow legs has a low resource consumption and can be replaced with spare parts if necessary.

"ButtonUp" by Lilian Onstenk tackles the problem of increasing clothing waste. The designer wants to make it easier to replace buttons, as faulty fasteners are one of the main reasons why clothes are thrown away. ButtonUp's aluminium fastener is not sewn in, which makes it easier for users to handle, allows buttons to be changed without the need for a needle and thread, and ultimately ensures that the individual parts can be recycled separately.

With "ANTI throw-away mentality", designer Zixuan Zhou focuses on two household appliances that are often thrown away prematurely: the toaster and the kettle. In the case of the industrial versions, repair is financially unattractive or simply not possible because many manufacturers use glue or welding to fix components inside the appliances. This makes disassembly difficult. Resistors or capacitors are often soldered directly onto circuit boards. This makes it difficult to replace individual components. Zixuan Zhou's heat-resistant ceramic devices, on the other hand, are intuitively designed and allow spare parts to be replaced. The aim is to promote a long-term relationship between users and their devices.

Hot tip for chilly times: "Hotspot" revolutionises the indoor climate An outstanding example of the innovative spirit of the one&twenty winners is the "Hotspot" project by Moritz Walter, which is dedicated to the challenges of future room heating. "Hotspot" provides a visionary answer to the question: How do we want to heat in the future? By developing a decentralised, electricity-based heating system that creates small, individually adaptable heating zones, the project breaks new ground in room heating. The product family, consisting of a heating panel for large-area heating and mobile, modular heat storage units for heat close to the body, is characterised by flexibility and seamless integration into living spaces. The trendy yet miniature design of the foldable heating modules ensures that they also fulfill a function as attractive design objects in the warmer months.

Courageous transparency: a project goes open source Among the winning projects, one stands out for its accessibility. "Opencyclone" uses the principles of open source hardware to redefine the boundaries of collaboration. Lion Sanguinette and Jonathan Stein created a production system for open source hardware as part of their studies at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design. On the website, individuals and companies can download blueprints to build their own handheld vacuum cleaner with just a few tools, skills and materials. "Opencyclone" can be built to different levels of complexity, making it suitable for both DIY enthusiasts and businesses. This project illustrates the possibilities that open up when design knowledge is freely shared – an inspiration for a new generation of designers who value openness and collaborative growth.

"Best of Best" honoured by prestigious jury in Milan In addition to announcing the 21 winners, the jury consisting of designers Hanne Willmann (Studio Hanne Willmann), Eva Marguerre and Marcel Besau (Studio Besau-Marguerre), Philipp Mainzer (E15), Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto (Studiopepe), Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach (Raw Colour), Min Chen (Chen Min Office), Yoko Choy (Collective Contemporist, China Editor Wallpaper*), Joa Herrenknecht (Studio Joa Herrenknecht) and Sabine Marcelis (Studio Sabine Marcelis) has selected one project as 'Best of Best'. Which designer will receive this award will be announced at the award ceremony on 15 April in Milan.

From 15 to 21 April, all 21 projects will be presented in a public exhibition during Milan Design Week in Brera:

Where: Amy-d Arte Spazio, Via Lovanio 6, Brera, Milan

When: 15 April 2024, 12 noon, press event 15 April 2024, 7 pm, awards ceremony and exhibition opening 16 to 21 April 2024, 10 am to 8 pm, public exhibition

The 21 winners of the one&twenty award 2024 are …

Jesse Altmann, Klara Schneider & Valentina Lenk, Morari, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Germany

Marcus Angerer, Layer, ECAL, Switzerland

Eva Benamou & Antonia Gauß, Off the Grid, Bezalel Art and Design Academy, Israel & Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, Germany

Esther Betz, Elisa Bessega & Sylvia Chen, Mantis, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany, Politecnico di Milano, Italy & Pratt Institute, USA

Daniela Cimen, RE•IN•WASTE, Hochschule Hof, Germany

Marcus Götschl, New Gen, Schulen für Holz und Gestaltung Bezirk Oberbayern, German

Gaspard Fleury, Soft Objects, The Swedish School of Textiles, Sweden

Sofia Kocher, SATTEL, Universität für angewandte Kunst, Austria

Lirjeta Maxhuni, GyneCare, ECAL, Switzerland

Juni Sun Neyenhuys, Designing the Afterlife, Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin, Germany

Nir Neria, Copine, Bezalel Art and Design Academy, Israel

Lilian Onstenk, ButtonUp, ECAL, Switzerland

Emilie Palle Holm, [ ORIORI ] :: folding woven textile, The Swedish School of Textiles, Sweden

Jan Penka, YSHELF, Universität für angewandte Kunst, Austria

Cornelius Richter, STUHL, Folkwang Universität der Künste, Germany

Josua Roters, Cable Mania, Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein, Germany  

Valerio Sampognaro, Radiator Flask, Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg, Germany

Lion Sanguinette & Jonathan Stein, Opencyclone, Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein, Germany  

Manuel Steffan, Running on (h)air, ECAL, Switzerland

Moritz Walter, Hotspot, Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin, Germany

Zixuan Zhou, ANTI throw-away mentality, Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, Germany

Media for download are available via Dropbox

About the Foundation German Design Council

With the 'one&twenty' competition, the Foundation Council for Design supports promising design students and graduates, providing them with a platform on which they can present their visionary ideas. These young talents are the future of design – actively shaping a circular, resource-efficient, and more inclusive world. The foundation German Design Council, based in Frankfurt am Main, has been operating since 1953 as the world's leading competence centre for communication and knowledge transfer in the field of design, brand and innovation. With international offers, support for young designers and memberships, it is part of the global design community and has always contributed to establishing exchange and networks worldwide. Through events, congresses, competitions, jury meetings and expert circles, the German Design Council networks its members and numerous other international design and brand experts, promotes discourse and provides important impulses for the global economy. More than 330 companies currently belong to its circle of founders. The German Design Council considers the promotion of young talent to be one of its core tasks. It wants to offer design newcomers a presentation platform and also opportunities to make contact with leading personalities in the design-oriented industry.  

Alexandra Sender, Vice President Marketing and Communication
Tel +49 (0) 69 24 74 48 699

Download the press release