These Awards were inaugurated in 1994. Their origin lies in the simple fact that at the time, no prizes existed in Belgium or Flanders for professionals in design or design-related fields. There were Provincial Awards, which did or still exist, but that was all. To underline their prestige, we wanted to attach a number of symbols to the Henry van de Velde Awards, including a trophy and a calligraphic certificate, as well as the prize money of course. Siegfried De Buck created our first trophy and we used his design for five editions. Nedda El-Asmar created our second trophy and the third was by David Huycke. Helena Schepens, one of our youngest silversmiths, with a Masters from the Royal College of Art in London, is the designer and maker of our fourth trophy. The certificate had to be calligraphic in order to illustrate the power of craftsmanship, just like the trophy. Our first calligrapher was Bert Binneweg, and the second was Brody Neuenschwander, who worked with Peter Greenaway on films like The Pillow Book, Prospero’s Books and others. For the present, we continue to work with Brody. The monetary prizes have been increased to 5000 Euro for the Career Award, the Company Award and the Award for Young Talent. The Public Award is worth 2500 Euro.
Martine Gyselbrecht receives the Career Award for her tireless creativity and research in the field of textiles, the world of yarn and looms. The jewellery of Jorge Manilla Navarrete, our Mexican Belgian, wins him the Award for Young Talent. His jewels are not really pleasing, but you can wear them as symbols of a spiritual world when you understand the deeper meaning behind their aesthetic. Drisag receives the Company Award, for its continuous pursuit of design in all its facets. Not only in its products but also in its building and most certainly in the spirit within the company. Since 2003, we have exhibited the Awards & Labels every two years at The World Best Design Exchange exhibition in Seoul, held this year in Incheon, South Korea. The Henry van de Velde Awards stand alongside the Red Dot Design Award, the Compasso d’Oro and a dozen other design awards from around the world.