The 18th edition of the Henry van de Velde Awards and Labels is now upon us. We introduced these prizes in 1994 because at the time there were no Belgian or Flemish awards with which to recognise professionals from design and other fields. There were of course the Provincial Prizes, but that was all.
Along with a cash prize, we attached several symbols of success to the Henry van de Velde Awards, such as a silver trophy and a calligraphic certificate. We wanted these to emphasise the prestige of the awards. The first trophy was designed by Siegfried De Buck, whose work made him an icon of Belgian silversmithing. We used his design of a staff for the first five editions. The next trophy was designed by Nedda El-Asmar and the third by David Huycke, recently the first designer/artist to become a Doctor of Arts. Helena Schepens, one of our youngest silversmiths, is now the fourth talented designer to design and make the trophy for us. Each of the trophies is used for five years.
The certificate had to be calligraphic to illustrate, as does the trophy, the importance of the craft aspect. The first calligrapher was Bert Binnenweg, and the second was Brody Neuenschwander, the Texan from Bruges, who worked with Peter Greenaway on films such as “The Pillow Book”, “Prospero’s Books” and others. This year Brody is again doing the calligraphy for the certificates that the winners take home with them.
The cash prizes for the awards are EUR 5000 for the Henry van de Velde Lifetime Achievement, Young Talent and Company awards. The winner of the Public award receives EUR 2500.
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.