13 times Focus Gold! 15 times Focus Silver! 20 Special Mentions! The 31st edition of the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award is again presenting outstanding design from a broad spectrum of fields – and looking into the near future with the Focus Meta.

A trolley case with skater qualities, a classic watch powered by invisible solar technology, ergonomic binoculars with excellent optics, a lifter for people who can’t manage alone, a clever tool for vehicle diagnosis. Once again, Focus Open 2021 demonstrates the incredible innovativeness design brings into play when it joins forces with engineering, materials technology and research. The independent jury of experts presented a total of 49 awards – to small products like hex keys and large-scale production machinery, to things for the home and things for personal wellbeing, to exhibition concepts and digital services. The fact that the accolades are mostly going to small and medium-sized companies explains the special appeal of the Focus Open awards – which thus also document the vital role SMEs play when it comes to innovation.

Focus on the future
This year, the Focus Meta award goes to a system that has its sights set firmly on the future. Entitled Feldschwarm (Field Swarm), the project centres on the automated cultivation of agricultural land – and was in part presented with the award because it is a prime example of successful cooperation between wide-ranging disciplines: no fewer than 11 partners from industry and research are involved under the design team’s supervision.

Economic development in practice
As a component of the state’s activities to promote economic development and design, the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award Focus Open occupies a very special position. Thanks to its non-commercial orientation, it enjoys high standing among Germany’s international design competitions with an international orientation. The fact that it is a state-run competition ensures moderate entry fees – even newcomers and the smallest of companies can afford to enter their innovative products and compete in an international context. Focus Open thus also signals that innovation only succeeds when it is envisaged on different levels – and that design always makes a key contribution to the success of the project as whole. As is apparent year after year, design is neither an end in itself nor merely “nice to have”: today it has to be an integral part of every development, regardless of what it involves – be it products, systems, services or even materials. Clever design gives manufacturers an edge over their competitors and delivers a unique selling point.

An evening in celebration of design
The awards are a cause for celebration for companies and design agencies alike – and were presented at the traditional Focus Open evening in Ludwigsburg on 8 October 2021. But design is an important issue in terms of economic policy too, as evidenced by Michael Kleiner, Ministerial Director of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism, and Wolfgang Reimer, President of Stuttgart District Government. Both attended the presentation of the awards and once again pointed out design’s relevance not just for the economy but for the people who live or work with the products and services as well.

The results: online and real
The Design Center Baden-Württemberg traditionally shows the results of the Focus Open competition at the MIK Museum, Information, Kunst in Ludwigsburg – enabling visitors to experience the qualities of the award-winning products for themselves. The exhibition is open daily (except Mondays) and runs until 21 November.
In addition, details of all the award winners, including background information, are available on the Design Center’s website:

The exhibition catalogue contains detailed information about the awards, the jury’s verdicts and interviews with the winners. The bilingual yearbook (German/English) is therefore also a compendium on the current state of design and the challenges it faces; it presents solutions, provides inspiration and explains background factors. The 248-page yearbook will be published by avedition in early October 2021 and costs €49.

Focus Open 2021

Exhibition: 9 October to 21 November 2021

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00 – 18.00

MIK Museum - Information - Kunst
Eberhardstraße 1
71634 Ludwigsburg