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International Composites Design Competition & Exhibition

02 April 2006

A new international design competition and a travelling exhibition of composites has been started, under the title Composites-on-Tour-2, a follow-through initiative on the 2002 Composites-on-Tour that won a European Commission Descartes Prize for Science Communication.

With Composites-on-Tour-2 K.U.Leuven and Design Vlaanderen opted for an uncompromising international approach. This opened the design competition up to designers from all over the world and the exhibition travels with the prize winners of the Brussels design competition from Brussels to Paris, Barcelona, Budapest, Ljubljana and Eindhoven. It may even go as far afield as Korea and Japan. This crossborder strategy promotes international networking between designers and commercial and industrial circles. Such globe-straddling cross-pollination often leads to innovative product development.

Composites-on-Tour-2 also seeks to bring science closer to a broad public. The design exhibition has a fellow traveller in the form of a small scientific exhibition that explains how scientific research into composites and the ensuing product innovation shape our daily lives. In a fluent, interactive manner visitors are shown how composite materials are produced and why they have such fantastic properties.

The initiators behind Composites-on-Tour-2 are K.U. Leuven and Design Vlaanderen. They submitted this project for subsidies with the European Commission, which selected it from a good 50 entries and included it in its ‘Science and Society’ programme. Prof. Dr. Ignaas VERPOEST is the coordinator of this project.

Six European partners provide their active support:
• The Hungarian Design Council.
• The University of Technology and Economics of Budapest, Hungary.
• The Biennial for Industrial Design (BIO), Slovenia.
• The JEC Group (Journals and Exhibitions on Composites), France.
• The Barcelona Design Centre (BCD), Spain.
• The Design Platform Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Thanks to these partners the exhibition may be visited in six countries in Europe. They saw to it that the competition jury will include some of the most eminent scientists and designers who are active in the field of composites in Europe.

In May and June 2006 the initiators and partners will be organising various workshops on composites in their respective countries. These workshops will mainly target designers and enterprises.

’Composites
Gravioli from Weyers & Borms (Be), Design Competition Winner in 2002

The scientific component of the travelling exhibition will have its premiere in Leuven in late November 2006 in the context of the European Science and Technology Week. This interactive exhibition will explain why composite materials have such interesting properties, what they are made of and how they are produced. Reference will also be made to the results of recent EU research projects. How designers make creative and inventive use of these new materials will be shown in a second part of this exhibition by using examples of certain products by the winners of the first composite design competition (2002).

The design competition aims to award a prize to the product design considered to be the best example of an optimum application of composite materials. The competition is open to professional designers from all over the world: individual designers, design offices, independent designers and in-house company designers. The latter must present written permission for participation from their employer. The submitted product designs are divided into two categories. The first category includes products marketed and sold between 1 January 2003 and 1 September 2006. The experimental prototypes which are nonetheless feasible belong to the second category. The winner in each category will receive € 7,500.

All entries must satisfy the following criteria:
• The product designs must make intelligent use of composite materials
• The participating products must be innovatory from a technical as well as from a non-technical viewpoint.

Competitors must register by 15 June 2006 and then finally enrol not later than 6 September 2006 (see box below).

An international competition naturally entails an international jury. It will be presided by Johan VALCKE, Director of Design Vlaanderen. The membership of the jury will be as follows:
• Ron ARAD, designer, United Kingdom
• Adriaan BEUKERS, professor in composites, Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands
• Stefano CASCIANI, editorial consultant with Domus, Italy
• Ignazio CRIVELLI-VISCONTI, professor in composites, University of Naples, Italy
• Jure MIKLAVC, designer, Slovenia
• Carmen RUBIO PALAU, designer with SEAT, Spain
• Philippe PICAUD, design director with Decathlon, France
• Hans Robertus, senior studio designer with Philips Design, the Netherlands
• Ignaas VERPOEST, professor in composites, K.U. Leuven, Belgium
• József Zalavári, designer, Hungary

The jury sessions will be organised in Brussels on 22 September 2006. The jury will confer the CoT-2 Award upon two designs and make an additional selection of products to be featured in the travelling exhibition.

The CoT-2 Awards will be conferred during the ceremony organised by Design Vlaanderen on 22 February 2007. The exhibition will be inaugurated during the prize-giving ceremony and will later be staged by the 6 project partners in their respective countries. A de luxe illustrated catalogue will be published to commemorate this exhibition.

The aforementioned scientific exhibition on composite materials and the winners of the first ‘International Composites Design Competition’ of 2002 will be part of this travelling exhibition.

Related activities will be organised in order to increase the visibility and impact of the travelling exhibition in the hope that this project should reach out beyond designers and enterprises and also involve the general public. For instance, two additional international competitions will be organised specifically for young talents: an ‘Ideas Competition’ and a ‘Short Movie Competition’. Entries in these competitions will also be included in the travelling exhibition.