European Home Run: design teams visit Vienna

What is it that makes Vienna so special? What should be on every visitor's itinerary? Where would you find examples of creativity and design in the city, and who are the major proponents? Six design teams from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom took up the Vienna Tourist Board's invitation to find out the answers to all these questions. A full tour of the Austrian capital from June 15-17, 2012 covered all the classic sights including Schönbrunn Palace, the Hofburg, the Giant Ferris Wheel and the MuseumsQuartier. The three-day program also included trips to contemporary and traditional manufacturers, such as glassmakers Lobmeyr and former purveyor of confectionery to the imperial court Demel, as well as a stop-off at the Augarten porcelain flagship store to show the visitors what makes Vienna and its design scene tick.

The competition

Product designers from six different European nations have been invited to transform their responses to contemporary, creative Vienna into a three-dimensional design. This challenging task has been taken up by a group of young design firms who have already made people sit up and take notice on the international design stage: Germany's DING3000, Switzerland's BIG-GAME, France's Ionna Vautrin, Italy's Studio Formafantasma, Spain's Hector Serrano and the United Kingdom's PearsonLloyd.

Until now, Vienna's creative side has virtually been ignored when it comes to providing motifs for souvenirs. This year, for the very first time, the Vienna Tourist Board's European Home Run design competition aims to capture a twenty-first century interpretation of the souvenir by distilling the city's creative and contemporary essence - as seen through fellow Europeans' eyes. The project will be curated by Vienna Design Week Director, Lilli Hollein. A high-profile jury comprising leading international experts from the worlds of design (including Galit Gaon, Chief Curator of Design Museum Holon) and tourism (Norbert Kettner, Director of the Vienna Tourist Board) will evaluate the individual entries. Their findings and the outcome of a public vote will determine the identity of the winning project, which will be announced at the Vienna Tourist Board tourism conference in Vienna at the end of October 2012. Visitors to the city will be able to see the submissions in a special exhibition hosted as part of Vienna Design Week, from September 28 to October 7, 2012.

One of the members of the expert jury, International Herald Tribune Design critic Alice Rawsthorn, outlined some of the challenges facing the participants: "Designing souvenirs is challenging. Not only do they have to be desirable in their own right, they must also evoke the place they represent and do so in an inspiring and original way."

Austrian Airlines is Official Carrier of the design competition. Austria's largest airline is committed to making sure that art and culture is readily accessible in other ways, too. All passengers are entitled to significantly reduced or free entry to more than 70 leading attractions in Vienna and other international cities upon production of their boarding pass up to ten days after their Austrian Airlines flight. Austrian Airlines passengers can claim discounted entry to popular Viennese tourist attractions such as the Albertina, all of the museums at the MuseumsQuartier, Sigmund Freud Museum and the Spanish Riding School. Admission to the Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury) is completely free of charge, and the Musikverein offers free tours of the legendary Golden Hall. The Austrian Airlines homepage contains an up-to-date list of participating venues, showing precisely why the Austrian Airline boarding card deserves the title of the "world's most valuable boarding card".

More information on the European Home Run competition

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At the MuseumsQuartier left to right:

Lilli Hollein, Vienna Design Week director and curator of the European Home Run design competition
Ionna Vautrin (FR)
Anne Lutz, Ionna Vautrin (FR)
Lucy Kurrein, PearsonLloyd, (UK)
Francesco Zorzi, Studio Formafantasma, (IT)
Rafa Vinader, Héctor Serrano (ES)
Barbara Pargfrieder, Vienna Tourist Board (AT)
Elric Petit, BIG-GAME, (CH)
Alexa Brauner, tour guide
Sven Rudolph, Ding3000 (D)
Ralf Webermann, Ding3000 (D)
Seated (foreground right): Héctor Serrano (ES)

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