A few years ago, as a Design Products student at the RCA, Sofia Souidi made the usual pilgrimage to Milan in April. There, she attended the 'ein&zwanzig' exhibition, which displayed outstanding works by up-and-coming international designers, and felt inspired and astonished by the quality of the proposals. After graduating in 2017, she took a chance and sent in an application herself, with a portfolio that was as playful as it was rigorous. She ended up making the cut for the 2018 show. ‘I couldn’t have imagined this two years ago,’ she mused. ‘It’s great to be offered the possibility to apply.’

That possibility is once again extended to emerging talents such as her. The 2019 edition of 'ein&zwanzig' is open for submission – and we would certainly like to encourage our young Frame readers to seize this chance. The deadline is January 25, after which a jury of renowned experts will choose 20 Winners and one Best of Best designer – 21 in total, hence the name of the competition.

The platform, created by the German Design Council, is a priceless opportunity for students and recent graduates to present themselves and their work in front of a global audience. The range is wide in this open call: from furniture to home accessories and lighting, from floor covering to wallpaper, textiles and lifestyle. The winning projects will be on display at the Tortona Design Week, part of the Salone del Mobile in Milan that will take place from April 9-14 next year.

With this privileged location, the yearly exhibitions tend to be high-profile visual showstoppers. In 2017 it was designed by Studio Besau-Marguerre; in 2018, the exhibition designed followed the vision of Danish consultant Nina Bruun. In 2019, Milanese powerhouse Studiopepe – known for their iconographic work and their ingenious multidisciplinary approach – will be behind the presentation decisions.

And just how high-profile is the 'ein&zwanzig' exhibition? Take it from Seoul-based Designstudio PESI, one of 2017’s winners. Beyond the far-reaching media exposure, ‘the greatest benefit we had was the chance to introduce our studio to international audiences and companies looking to collaborate with us,’ explained PESI co-founder Seungjoon Song. For the duo, that translated into a spot at the IFA Berlin, the chance to develop products with Samsung through its Creative Square programme, and arranging contracts with sellers and exhibitors such as the MoMA.

In other words: for these newcomers, 'ein&zwanzig' was a watershed moment in their careers. The next round of winners will surely be able to say the same.


For further information, including how to download the participation documents, visit this site. And remember: the deadline for applications is January 25.