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Joost Grootens wins Rotterdam Design Prize 2009

Thinking he hadn't the faintest chance of winning, Joost Grootens wasn't going to attend the awards ceremony of the Rotterdam Design Prize. Lucky he did when he was announced the winner of the prestigious €15 000 prize.

By Editor / 02-12-2009

Studio Joost Grootens has won the Rotterdam Design Prize with an exquisite set of Atlases.

Walking through the exhibition of the 2009 Rotterdam Design Prize nominees, currently on show at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the visitor is left with a sense of curiosity about developments in the design world. This year, the ten nominees displayed strong social, cultural and conceptual thinking. What was most clear, was a return to materiality, thoughtfulness, humanity and heritage. Christien Meindertsma and Atelier NL/Maarten Kolk's projects both looked at agricultural influences often touching upon Dutch heritage, Customr's beautiful jail sport domes posed difficult questions concerning enclosure and security, Studio Makkink & Bey's collaboration with Prooff aims to change the way we think about working environments, Gitte Nygaard and Jair Straschnow created a play area for homeless children in Durban, Damen Shipyards and T&W Designteam presented a contemporary tug boat.

During the award ceremony, Studio Wieki Somers with their playful Merry-Go-Round coat rack, Royal Tichelaar Makkum and Studio Joost Grootens were announced as the three finalists.

Finally, the Rotterdam Design Prize 2009 was awarded in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen pavilion by Alice Rawsthorn, member of the international jury, to Studio Joost Grootens. The judges unanimously praised Grootens’s atlases as indicative of the moment, representing an extraordinary redesign of the atlas typology. The atlases made clear the relationship between geography and politics, representing complex data by graphic variables and symbols rather than by text. "Grootens attaches great importance to the clarity of the information. His design is clearly intended to serve the reader. For Grootens, designing is not a self-seeking activity, nor does it mean promulgating a particular vision. The result is at once brilliant and functional."

The public prize also got their say, voting online for their favourite project. The winner for 2009 was awarded to graphic design collective Gorilla with the visual column for de Volkskrant, which is a clever, contemporary reinvention of the political cartoon.

The international jury comprised design critics Alice Rawsthorn and Rick Poynor, and Patrizia Moroso, director Moroso furniture.

For more information on all the nominees and to download the jury report, please visit the Rotterdam Design Prize website.

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