About Swiss Design Awards 2020
As every year, the Awards started with the three-day first round of jury sessions. The Federal Design Commission and its experts selected 37 dossiers from over 200 submitted and invited them to the second round in Basel. In the end, both the exhibition and the judging had to be called off due to the pandemic at the start of July 2020. The prize money was divided among all finalists, who received 10,000 Swiss francs each. In addition, the Federal Office of Culture has spent more than 100,000 francs in 2020 to purchase design items for the Federal Art Collection – money that also flows into the active Swiss design scene.
Instead of the competition and exhibition, activities were organised during a week in September 2020, which were subsequently incorporated into the publication Failure Is Not an Option? We networked actively, enabled encounters, and maxed out the potential of design discourse. The result is a snapshot: we will probably have learned more about the current state of the design scene this year than in any other year before.
We asked the current finalists to give us an insight into their work via a series of chatrooms on various topics. There were also ten filmed conversations with Swiss and international design personalities which are now available on our Youtube channel.
The Federal Office of Culture has brought together a variety of standpoints and provided a platform for the professional experiences and opinions of a selection of designers and design mediators. They include contributions on current, ongoing discussions as well as issues that will need to be addressed more intensively in future.
The following topics have been preoccupying designers this year: the low level of public awareness of the designer’s profession, the impact that lack of exposure has on those vital networks, and the absence of diversity in training and practice.
Project Head, Swiss Design Awards
Federal Office of Culture