This is the fifteenth edition of the Henry van de Velde Awards. Over time, the name has evolved into the Henry van de Velde Awards & Labels. These Awards were inaugurated in 1994. We asked the family Van de Velde if we could use the name of their grandfather and they gave us permission to do so. It was the start of a wonderful adventure.
The origin of the Awards lies in the simple fact that at the time, no Awards existed for professionals in design or related fields in Flanders or Belgium. Provincial Awards did and still do exist, but that was all. In the 1994 Awards leaflet I wrote: Conferring distinctions on designers is, apart from a few exceptions, a rather uncommon event in Belgium and Flanders... An authentic, official and instutionalized Award, behaving as a continuous incentive to designers, does not exist. And so VIZO took the initiative.
We also wanted a few 'symbols', like a trophy and a calligraphic certificate to underline the prestige of the Henry van de Velde Awards. The first trophy was designed by Siegfried De Buck and was used for five editions. The second trophy was created by Nedda El-Asmar and the third by David Huycke. Jean Lemmens will be designing and producing the fourth trophy. The certificate had to be calligraphic in order to illustrate, just as the trophy, the power of craftsmanship. The first calligrapher was Bert Binneweg, the second Brody Neuenschwander, who collaborated with Peter Greenaway on several of his movies like The Pillow Book, Prospero's Books and others.
Johan Valcke was appointed director of Design Flanders in 1992. In that function he founded the Henry van de Velde Awards. He also founded the Design Flanders Gallery, the Triennials for Design and established the design magazine Kwintessens. He was elected to the Board of WCC-Europe and the Board of BEDA. Today, he remains active in the sounding board group for Design Museum Gent, the general assembly of HISK Gent and the purchasing committee of DIVA Antwerp. In 2018 he opened his gallery VALCKE Art Gallery.
Klara De Smedt is the manager of De Winkelhaak. After obtaining a master’s degree in product development, she worked as a designer and then at Design Flanders for two years before moving to De Winkelhaak. In 2008, Klara De Smedt came up with the co-working concept Bar d’office. Since 2014, she has been one of the driving forces behind ANTWERP. POWERED BY CREATIVES.
Dieter Van Den Storm specialises in content creation and communication in the field of the creative industry. After fifteen years as a project coordinator at the Biennale Interieur, he joined MAD Brussels in 2021, the centre for fashion and design, where he takes on the creative leadership as the Creative & Communication Director.