“If we can imagine it, we can make it”, the pioneering philosophy behind the revolutionary watch brand, Rado. Any style of watch whether it be ceramic or the thinnest watch you have ever seen will have originated from the brand. This is the brand which the watch industry looks at for their innovative design inspiration and technology development, and now 2017 see’s the prestigious Rado Star Prize arriving to the UK for the first ever time!

Art reflects our imagination whereas design is bought about by imagination and yet it also contributes to our actuality. If you consider everything in production there will be two elements which will need to be considered, first the function and then the design.

Since the 20th century, we have witnessed technological advancements on an unprecedented level, and to a point where form and function go hand in hand a product development is king. Formed over 60 years ago, Rado has become renowned for their use of ground-breaking materials and as champions for design the brand has become the palpable choice for the watch connoisseur.

But where would we be without cultivating the talents of the next generation of designers? As part of their unwavering dedication to design, Rado launched the global competition, The Rado Star Prize, in 2010 to invite young and emerging designers to exhibit their work.

This global celebration of design runs simultaneously in the countries which participate. The Star Prize of 2017 has already been awarded to those in the USA, France, and Italy. In collaboration with designjunction, 2017 will now see the inaugural edition of the Rado Star Prize UK. The prize will culminate in a spectacular exhibition of the 10 UK finalists, with an awards ceremony at the designjunction exhibition during the London Design Festival.

A show by the industry for the industry, Designjunction is London’s leading annual exhibition for contemporary interior design and culture. The winner of The Rado Star Prize will be announced during the show and visitors to the exhibition will also be able to nominate their favourite project from the Finalists.

‘Design Meets Time’, is this year’s chosen theme by Rado. Britain’s young designers were asked to imagine a new frontier of design pieces which relate to time in either a conceptual or material sense. The theme was brought to life through the desire for longevity and sustainability, a distinctive contrast to the throwaway nature of 21st century materialism. We are excited to share the 10 first ever British finalists which you will be able to see at London Design Festival:

The classic art of pinhole photography is brought to the 21st century. Developed by James Benham, the Pinhole Camera invites people to reconnect with their surroundings. By providing the user a finite amount of shots, there is an anticipation of waiting for images to be developed. The attention that shooting with film demands can transform the images from something instant and ordinary, to something physical and evocative.

6James Benham
Pinhole Camera

A spin of a top is a measure of time. Topped by Willam Hoggons is a modern take on the timeless iconic spinning top. Sitting pure and honestly, it captivates and draws the user’s attention, allowing for a moment of focus. When the spin is initiated, a constant motion is created. The fact that this movement can be stopped abruptly at any time makes it a fragile experience, invoking care.

9Willam Hoggons

Developed by Mark Mitchell, Tate-ium is a chair is designed with the innovative use of the phase changing material, Sodium Acetate, to heat and mould around the user. The removable sections of the chair further enable the shape to be altered. The focus point of this design is the aspect of time passing through the piece.

7Mark Mitchell

The origin of any glass vessel is in the first breath. Breathe by Jahday Ford combines traditional craftmanship with the digital age. By recording the sound of the craftsman’s first breath, the sound wave was then formatted as a visual stimulus and was then manipulated into a three-dimensional form using the software, Solidworks. By doing this, the designers have captured a moment in time, where the craftsman becomes part of the object.

Jahday Ford

Taisei Mishima created Trid as a transformable piece of furniture which can be used from birth to adulthood. With 3 different functions: cradle, bouncer and chair, Trid can provide an optimum form which is usable for kids of all years in response to the growth of the child, the purpose, or the usage.

Taisei Mishima

Value is quickly lost due to poor quality materials or manufacturing, which limits the aesthetic value over time and inhibits emotional attachment. The Moravian Collection, by Jasmine Craven-Huffer, takes direct inspiration from a stool designed in the 15th century by the Moravian Church movement. Traces of its key features can be found right through to the mid-20th century. In these years, furniture was an investment and purchased to last a lifetime or longer. We now live in a throwaway society, it is very rare that products are purchased with the expectation of remaining in use for generations.

Jasmine Craven-Huffer
The Moravian Collection

Time is the very core of the Kintsugi Ceremony Kit. Alida Sielaff’s main objective in its design process was to create an experience-based product, which would stimulate product longevity. The Kit is a wedding present and its “ceremony” is a crossover between the German wedding tradition, Polterabend, where dishes are smashed for good luck and Kintsugi, the Japanese art of joining broken ceramics with gold. The couple would smash the plate and then collaboratively reassemble it using the Kit, crafting a memory which will give the final product a special meaning and ultimately achieve longevity.

Alida Sielaff
Kintsugi Ceremony Kit

The Apollo Tripod is a unique and versatile design created to suit all environments. Connor Holland took inspiration from how the Apollo Lunar Module was previously designed to land perfectly on the surface of the moon. The tripod shape and wide feet provide stability on uneven or soft ground.

Connor Holland
Apollo Tripod

There is probably nothing which is more related to time than light. The wireless 180° Lamp by Frederic Rätsch uses light as an indicator of time. The product is concentrated on performing one function very well, when the light is turned on it gradually dims until turning off after 45 minutes and needs to be flipped 180° degrees to start over again.

Frederic Rätsch
180° LAMP

Joachim Froment’s aim of his 0.6 Chair project is to diminish our wood consumption and celebrate the noble material that is wood. Through the design of a robust, long lasting chair with an efficient and simple process, the 0.6 Chair is a dinning chair and café chair with a new process of laminated wood.


6Joachim Froment
0.6 Chair

To highlight the importance of the Star Prize, let us look to some past winners whose ideas have now become part of common parlance in design…

After receiving the Rado Young Designer Award for her Crystallisation collection in 2010, Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen credited the win as advancing her fledgling career in fashion design. Impressive on both the surface and a technological level, Van Herpen’s haute couture designs have graced the red carpet and Paris runways ever since.

Kim Markel won the US Star Prize in 2016 with Glow. These handcrafted chairs are translucent and whimsical, these chairs are made from a variety of recycled plastics. Once cured, the chairs are polished to reveal their inherent translucency.

glowKim Markel

The piece ‘Dancers’ is a collection of cotton and latex chairs from the 2015 French Star Prize winner, Aurelie Hoegy. Soaked and dried, between movement and stability, Hogey places form before function. By giving the chairs an ‘intangible gesture’, each chair’s physical presence creates a new perspective on the functionality of the classic object and its everyday use.

DancersAurelie Hoegy

Developed in collaboration with the Petrus company, Jules Levasseur’s Projet S is a collection of objects in corrugated sheet metal. As an iconic element in industrial production Levasseur jointly won first place with Aurelie Hogey in 2015. Its undulating, rhythmic quality, lends the piece a specific identity, grounded in democratic principles of mass production.

Jules Levasseur
Projet S

Melaine Husson won the 2013 French Star Prize with Trait d’union. Here concrete and paper are used to create a functioning table. In this project, it is the paper that supports the concrete which reverses the usual power relations.

Melaine Husson
Trait d’union

What happens after flowers in a vase have withered? In 2011, Hong Kong’s Star Prize winner Leo Yiu attempted to think of ways to fill an empty vase with uniqueness. After dissecting a large vase into three smaller ones, Yiu found that he could fit it with flowers of different kinds and sizes and use them for other purposes.

Leo Yiu
Stackable Vase

Design is rarely a singular entity. It can be understood as a felt emotion, a revolutionary way of thinking and an exploration for the sublime. Distinctive and pioneering, design is evidently at the heart of Rado’s ethos, and The Rado Star Prize represents this.

Rado true colours new
True Colours

Images Courtesy Rado
With thanks to Pamela Justice