BIO 23 – Design Award Winners 2012, Ljubljana

October, 22 2012 10:00

Posted inCompetitions

Photo: Jana Urbas

In its 23rd edition, the Biennial in Design (also known as BIO in its Slovene acronym) is a major international event where Ljubljana becomes the centre of contemporary trends in international design. For the last 48 years, the BIO exhibitions have been known to show a careful selection of exhibitors and given prominent awards for the best design made (or conceived) in the last two years.

This year’s topic is “Design Relations”, how modern technologies, digitalisation and globalisation, as well as nature and its resources, influence designers and their creative work. Projects from 27 countries are currently exhibited in the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana, with the best works receiving on the opening night (27th September 2012) the BIO Design Awards. The international jury consisted of Giulio Cappellini, Sven Jonke, Sophie Lovell, Jimmy MacDonald and Vasa J. Perović.

The exhibition, opened on the 27th September, will go on until the 11th November 2012.

THE AWARD WINNERS – including comments from the jury

BIO Gold Medal & BIO Green Award:

Sea Chair
Design: Studio Swine and Kieren Jones
Co-authors: Azusa Murakami, Alexander Groves

This is an ingenious, solution-driven, holistic project that nevertheless retains a poetic component in its apparent simplicity. In our view it fulfils many of the requirements of “good design” in today’s world. One cannot justify separating “green” from “good” design – good design should consider the environment in all its aspects. In this respect the Sea Chair, which considers life-cycles, systems, industrial and social factors in a local, global and product context, as well as addressing one of the biggest pollution problems of our age, is a fine example of good green design. We very much hope to see this project implemented in the future.

Special Jury Awards:
Each of these three projects is a paradigm - changing in their own way, and exhibit the potential to effect social change.

Balkan type system
Designers: Nikola Đurek (Typonine) and Marija Juza (Babushke)
Producer: Typonine, Zabok, Croatia


An unusual typography project that responds to a political communication issue in an inclusive rather than divisive manner.

Trail$ smart banknote system
Designer: Nitipak Samsen
Client: Future of Money Design Competition 2011, Consult Hyperion, Surrey, United Kingdom

Finding solutions is about identifying problems. A critical project in a documentary medium that works on many levels, this project simultaneously proposes a new monetary system and criticises the surveillance society context of our digital world at the same time.

DNA Hacking Yoghurt
Designer: Tuur van Balen


A superb example of communicating a complex design concept and processes, Van Balen deals with a highly technical issue by hacking the seemingly impossible with the help of online shopping and DIY.

Awards for a Student Work:

Gravity Stool
Designer: Jólan van der Wiel
Tutor: Bas van Beek, Gerrit Rietveld Academie/DesignLab, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


By combining iron filings, resin and the power of magnetism Jólan manipulates material to create a unique and highly memorable new process-driven form and aesthetic.

Wooden coats
Designer: Max Böhme
Tutor: Dieter Hofmann, Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule, Halle, Germany

An ingenious DIY synthetic wood veneer process of accretion that is 100% biodegradable and suggests a new “organic” aesthetic that is not, for a change, computer-generated.

Visualising Typographic Diversity posters
Designer: Karin von Ompteda
Producer: Digital Print Studio, London, United Kingdom
Client: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Ottawa, Canada
Tutor: Jeff Willis, Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom


Typography meets the growing design discipline of infographics in a particularly elegant manner.

(Un)Useful clothes collection
Designer: Irena Rojs
Tutor: Metka Vrhunc, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Ljubljana, Slovenia



A project that takes production left-overs from a hyper-inflated, hyper-wasteful industry to offer a product where consumers buy less, spend less, yet get more.

BIO Honourable Mentions:

MeshMatics lamps
Designer: Rick Tegelaar



The film, the tools, the process, the production and the products themselves all combine to create a harmonious and poetic whole.


Terra stools
Designer, producer: Adital Ela


One of the most ancient construction techniques adapted to process waste building materials to generate a universal and simple object of utility.

Navigating in the Biesbosch buoys
Designer, producer: Sabrina Koning-Woud, SKW Vormgeving


An ingenious signage system that combines rethinking accepted materials and parameters and implementing traditional craft solutions in a contemporary way.



Grasshopper lamp
Designer: Feodor Mayow
Tutor: Ilkka Salonen, Lahti Institute of Design, Lahti, Finland

Creating a good desktop lamp is a challenge that can defeat even the most experienced of designers. This piece is all the more impressive for being a student work.

Bee’s diagnostic tool
Designer: Susana Soares
2007–on going project



An intriguing example of a conceptual crossover between medical diagnostics, design and art.

Swallowable Parfum
Designer: Lucy McRae


A conceptual study, which demonstrates that the potential of design knows no barriers beyond our own prejudices and taboos, when it comes to manipulating the human organism.

The Ring (T)Rail urban renewal project
Design: Anagram Architects
Client: National Association of Street Vendors of India, New Delhi, India



The success of New York’s High Line project has already proved the enormous value of urban renewal design. This project takes that principle to the next stage in a different urban context that could benefit greatly from the intervention if it were to be realised.

Matka – Vases of skin collection
Design: Studio Pepe Heykoop
Producer: Tiny Miracles Foundation and Pepe Heykoop (client), Mumbai, India


A project that is actually being implemented, rather than just proposed by a designer committed to integrating social benefit into the production process.

Particles series of vessels
Design, producer: Studio Jo Meesters, Eindhoven, The Netherlands



The jury was more taken with the stools in this project than the vessels themselves, yet the forms have a commercial potential that is not to be underestimated. 

(from Press Release)