Design Entrepreneurs: The Next Generation

If you’re hoping to follow in the footsteps of great designers like Mies, Gray, Aalto, Eames, Perriand, and Starck, where do you take your ideas about making innovative furniture? If you’re in America, the major place for peer and public recognition is the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), which first opened in New York 14 years ago this May. While there are many success stories associated with exhibiting at the fair, we feel something is missing.

Innovation is the lifeblood of architecture and interior design—and often the byproduct of youthful imagination. And yet for years we’ve listened to the laments of young designers. It made us think that our free-enterprise system is too cruel to them. Compared to their European counterparts, who often get financial breaks through government programs and group rates for exhibitors at international trade shows, our designers end up maxing out their credit cards by the time you see their booths at the fair. While we believe that talent and drive wins out in the end, we also understand the need for support at strategic times in a fledgling career. Now we’re in the position to offer some help.

During the Metropolis Conference at the ICFF—the focus on May 19th is on Design Entrepreneurs, the Next Generation—we will announce the first annual Metropolis Prize for Young Designers. While the conference program will offer useful information about how others have made it and helpful contacts to manufacturers, marketers, and others, the Metropolis Prize of $10,000 will help jump-start the business of a deserving young designer in 2004. A call for entries will be distributed at the conference; the same call will run in Metropolis throughout 2003 as well as on The winner will be announced at the ICFF in 2004.

We have faith in the genius of youth. It’s helped build the success of this magazine. It’s now our turn to help. E-mail for more information.

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