Every June, the Designers of the Future Award is presented to a group of promising young studios that represent new directions in their field and exciting developments in broader design culture.
For the fourth year running, Design Miami/ and W Hotels have collaborated on this Award, which looks beyond pure product and furniture design to acknowledge pieces that push the limits of technology, discipline and concept.
In an evolution of the Award, this year for the first time, the winning designers were sent to new or renovating W Hotels to solve a specific design challenge or need. The newly commissioned works will be unveiled at Design Miami/ Basel (June 11-16, 2013) and later installed at W Hotels in Verbier, Bangkok and Mexico City.
“The W Hotels Designers of the Future Award allows us to recognize the best up-and-coming design talent from around the world,” said Mike Tiedy, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Design & Innovation, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “These emerging designers provide forward-thinking and innovative design solutions for our hotels, while showcasing their unique works to both W guests and locals alike.”
“We are proud to continue our partnership with W Hotels to create a meaningful platform for talented emerging designers,” said Marianne Goebl, Director of Design Miami/. “With the introduction of the design residencies abroad, the designers get the opportunity to dive into the local culture and develop new work.”
“It’s such a fantastic opportunity,” said Wood. “I want my project to celebrate the joy I experiences in Mexico with all these amazing colours and mixing of people. I loved being on the boats and river and I want to reflect that.”
Started in 2006 at Design Miami/ Basel, the Designers of the Future Award recognizes up-and-coming designers and studios that are expanding the field of design.
Each year, three designers or studios are selected as a way to honor a variety of approaches in the constantly evolving landscape of contemporary design.
The Award moves beyond pure product and furniture design to acknowledge technologically and conceptually vanguard pieces that work across multiple disciplines, offering the next generation of design creatives the opportunity to present newly commissioned works to an influential audience of collectors, dealers, and journalists at Design Miami/ Basel.
The W Hotels Designers of the Future Award also draws attention to design practices that exemplify new directions for the design field, and as W Hotels continues to grow globally, the Award provides the W design and innovation teams with access to the world’s brightest talent in contemporary design.
The objective for W Hotels is to create a vision of how guests may conceptually interact with cutting-edge and technologically advanced design solutions throughout hotel Living Rooms (the W brand’s re-interpretation of the hotel lobby) and guestrooms globally.
Designer Projects Focused on “Making Connections”
The brief for this year’s award commissions was entitled “Making Connections”.
The designers’ projects will facilitate exchange between local communities and the international visitors who pass through them, whether for business or pleasure. The goal of these projects is to deepen the appreciation for the distinct regional characteristics found in each destination.
For the first time, each of the winning designers has been paired with a new or renovating W Hotel to create a site-specific project.
Each designer had already been sent on a design visit to a specific W Hotel, finding inspiration in the hotel design concept, the destination, local craft and materials as well as investigating the cultural and material conditions of the surrounding area, all of which will inform their finished project.
Jon Stam spent time in Verbier, where the W brand’s first ski retreat will open later this year, Seung-Yong Song visited W Bangkok, which opened December 2012, and Bethan Laura Wood traveled to W Mexico City, which will complete a full renovation in 2014.
In addition to being showcased at Design Miami/ Basel in June 2013, their finished work will ultimately be installed at the hotel they visited, solving for a specific design need.
2013 W Hotels Designers of the Future Award Winners
Born 1978, Seung-Yong Song attended École Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Reims and received his BFA, MFA in France. He has worked with Claudio Colucci, Jean Marc Gady, Patric Nadeau and Matt Sindall, and opened his own studio in 2011 in Korea.
Song worked as an artist’s assistant at the internationally renowned Claudio Colucci Studio. He’s also worked with Jean Marc Gady, Patric Nadeau and Matt Sindall. Studying with this diverse cast of interior, furniture, and product designers has informed his practice and Song has gone on to develop his own unique vernacular as a result.
His work calls into the question the divisions between fine art, installation, and functionalism. While Song’s vocabulary is minimalistic, efficient, and often of a light, organic texture, they still manage to take on extremes. Height, hybridism, and poetics are accentuated in his work. He opened his studio in Seoul in 2011.
Past projects by Korean designer Seung-Yong Song include furniture shaped like baskets (above), concrete vases with steel cages and a collection of chairs that double up as ladders, clotheshorses, shelves or lamps.
Born in 1984, Canadian-Dutch designer Jon Stam studied design at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Canada, before moving to the Netherlands to study under Aldo Bakker, Jan Boelen and Ilse Crawford at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2008 he graduated cum laude, and set up his own studio in 2010 in Amsterdam.
Stam’s work orbits the twin planets of the real and virtual. He graduated Eindhoven in 2008 with a project titled Curiosity Cabinet, which is a series of cabinets that not only store physical objects, but also contain embedded codes that link to digital information. His pieces are created with a craftsmanship that harkens pre-industrial methods, yet at the same time they integrate and communicate Internet-era verbiage.
Privileging quiet interaction over disruption, Stam’s projects take on a reflective mood. They are playful, but request serious consideration from their audience/ participants regarding time and space. His pieces evoke big questions about the constitution of people and the objects they interact with, but by using an aesthetic that is cleanly simple and modern, he’s able to do so in a way that is inclusive.
Previous projects of his include the ‘Bioscope’; You look through the ‘lens’ and then, by turning the red wheel back or forth, you can see your home movie frame by frame which creates a very retro like effect.
Bethan Laura Wood
Born in 1983, Bethan Laura Wood completed her degree from the Royal College of Art in 2009, where she studied under Jurgen Bey and Martino Gamper in the Design Product department. Bethan set up her own studio, WOOD London, that same year, and showcases her limited edition lighting and furniture ranges with Nilufar Gallery in Milan.
She is a designer with an impressive range – from jewelry, to ceramics, to furniture, to large-scale interventions – and she has a proven ability to integrate manifold material and methods. Wood received her degree from the Royal College of Art in 2009, where she studied under Jurgen Bey and Martino Gamper in the Design Products department. Bethan set up her own studio, WOOD London, that same year, and showcases her lighting and furniture ranges with Nilufar Gallery in Milan.
Wood’s pieces and projects have a special focus on the mundane, everyday objects that populate our modern existence. Her work is celebratory of these supposedly innocuous details, and explores new combinations by re-contextualizing them and presenting them as fresh visuals. Particularly through her uses of color and pattern, one can see that she derives her ideas from an near-infinite reservoir of objects.
With a keen interest in collecting (in the sense that she is a collector and is also interested in the mentality of the collector), Wood is captivated by the stuff that defines people’s lives. In turn, she has created work that is expansive yet locally defined, creating new connections where none existed before through extensive research and thoughtful execution.
British designer Bethan Laura Wood creates patterned products, textiles and jewellery. Her work was shortlisted for London Design Museum’s Designs of the Year in 2012.
The winners were selected by an international jury that included Jan Boelen of the Design Academy Eindhoven and Z33; Tony Chambers of Wallpaper* magazine; Aric Chen of M+ Museum Hong Kong; Alexis Georgacopoulos of Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL); Marianne Goebl of Design Miami/; Benjamin Loyauté, author, curator and journalist; and Mike Tiedy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, parent company of W Hotels Worldwide.
Qualifying candidates for the W Hotels Designers of the Future Award must have created original works in the fields of furniture, lighting, craft, architecture and/or digital/electronic media. Candidates must have been practicing for less than 15 years and have produced a body of work that demonstrates originality in the creative process, while also exhibiting an interest in working in experimental, non-industrial or limited-edition design.
This year’s laureates have been commissioned to create original, site-specfic work inspired by their visits to W Hotel branches in Verbier, Bangkok and Mexico City. The finished projects will be unveiled at the Design Miami/Basel event in June.
As a high profile fair, Design Miami/ Basel brings people together from all over the world; likewise, W Hotels around the world are public sites of international congregation. It is this spirit of connectivity and interaction that is highlighted with this partnership and with this year’s award brief.
W HOTELS WORLDWIDE
Each hotel and resort is uniquely inspired by its destination, mixing cutting-edge design with local influences and creating a place to play or work by day or to mix and mingle in high-energy spaces by night. So, while every hotel is unmistakably a W hotel, each has its own personality that is brought to life by our collaborators who are always on the cusp of what’s new and next in design, music and fashion.
Combining the personality and style of an independent hotel with the reliability, consistency and attentive service of a major business hotel, W Hotels has redefined the luxury and design-led lifestyle hotel experience.
It began with the recognition that there are guests who seek a balance between style and substance – in their own lives, and in the destinations they choose. Each W hotel embodies this balance with a strikingly modern approach to design that is as refreshing, accessible and comfortable as one’s own living space, with an emphasis on comfort, attentive service and exceptional amenities.
The W Hotels experience began with the W New York (49th St. and Lexington Ave.), which opened its doors in December 1998. An instant phenomenon, its success drove the development of more than a dozen new properties in colorful destinations – including Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and Seoul – in an unprecedented two-year span.
The approach we started with in 1998 still energizes us today. Each hotel and retreat worldwide synthesizes our birthplace’s (New York City) energetic, vibrant, forward-thinking attitude into an atmosphere entirely appropriate to its destination. It’s an approach that reflects the W Hotels vision of the hotel as a mix of vibes and elements that mingle to create a welcoming and social gathering place.