Design students win prestigious awards in Zurich

Three final year students at Zurich’s design school have received the annual Förderpreis for outstanding conceptual talent.

This content was published on July 21, 2000

The school’s rector, Hans Peter Schwarz, told swissinfo that the prize was traditionally awarded "to students with the best new concepts and ideas, which are not necessarily the most pragmatic or commercially oriented".

Two of the winners, industrial design students Collette Krummenacher and Elvira Mühlebach, had researched the language used by deaf people when describing objects, and on the basis of their descriptions they constructed a new design concept.

"Normally objects are designed because they are useful or easy to handle. This research allowed people who could not hear the discussion on design to have an input," said Schwarz. "It’s good to approach design from a totally different point of view."

The other Förderpreis winner is Iranian-born photography student Shirana Shahbazi, for a series of photographs about her image of her native country, as seen through the eyes of someone who has lived for the past ten years in Switzerland.

The design school - Switzerland’s largest - is later this year marking its 125th anniversary with a congress on the future of design and the role of the school as an educator in such fields as fashion, film, photography and textiles.

by Tom O’Brien

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