We’re overwhelmed by the incredible number of pioneering and inspiring design solutions that we’ve received to assess for FOCUS OPEN 2023. A big thank-you to all the entrants for their willingness to compete at international level!

Once again, the quality of the registered entries is outstanding! Our 2023 jury will be judging works submitted not just by established players but by ingenious newcomers and startups as well.

As is typical for FOCUS OPEN, virtually all the entries will be assessed on the basis of the actual physical product. And what’s more, they’ll be judged by top-notch experts!

As always, our jury is made up of renowned designers who will meet for a two-day judging session in May and make their decisions after meticulous and competent examination of all the products, services and forward-looking ideas that have been entered for the competition.

The experts on the FOCUS OPEN JURY for 2023 are:


Photos: Thomas Simianer

Julian Appelius

copyright Martin Tervoort

Julian Appelius
Studio Julian Appelius

Julian Appelius was born in Munich in 1973 and grew up in France.

After completing a cabinetmaking apprenticeship and studying sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, he moved to Berlin in 1998 and studied industrial and process design at Berlin University of the Arts (UdK), where he completed his diploma in 2003. He founded his firm Studio Julian Appelius immediately afterwards. Besides designing a wide range of products for renowned manufacturers, he also collaborates closely with partners, clients and agencies on the interdisciplinary development of concepts, installations, presentations, trade fair booths and events.

He lives in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district with his four children.


Matthias Bohner

Matthias Bohner
Solarmax GmbH

November 2022 - present
Solarmax GmbH

January 2007 - December 2022
Head of System Development and Design
ads-tec GmbH

January 1998 – December 2006
Bohner-Design GmbH
für Design und Produktentwicklung

Büro für Industrie-Design

Diplom-Designer Industrie- und Produktdesign
State Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart


Claudia S. Friedrich

Claudia S. Friedrich
zweigrad Industrial Design

Claudia Friedrich is managing director of the Interface Design business unit and partner at zweigrad Industrial Design. She has worked in various design agencies and has more than 20 years of experience in the development of UX strategies and design languages as part of a holistic approach to product ecosystems.

Driving change through design is her passion. She sees design as a strategic added value in the orchestration of all the relevant stakeholders within the user-centric and collaborative design process, based on her training as an industrial designer, design manager and speaker.

Since 2022
Spokesperson DDC Deutscher Designer Club e.V.

Since 2022
Co-Managing Partner, zweigrad Industrial Design

Since 2021
Board Member DDC Deutscher Designer Club e.V.

2019 – 2021
Managing Director Interface Design, zweigrad Industrial Design

2001 – 2019
Creative Director, Member of the Executive Board, Human Interface Design

2015 – 2016
Design Leadership Programme, grow

2000 – 2001
Senior Designer, designaffairs

1999 – 2000
Junior designer, ma design

1997 – 1998
Freelance designer, f/p design

1996 – 1999
Intern designer, Studio Mario Mazzer
Conegliano, Italy

1994 – 1998
Diploma in industrial design, Muthesius Hochschule für Kunst und Gestaltung


Linda Ruth Schmidt

Linda Ruth Schmidt
President VDID
(Association of German Industrial Designers)

After completing her studies in London (BA hons.) and Essen (Dipl.-Des.), Linda Ruth Schmidt had the opportunity to set up and lead first the industrial design division and later the UX department in an industrial setting. The focus was on the development of strategic projects and the introduction of the UCD process (ISO 9241), including the surveying of international user requirements.

As design manager and director of the UX team at EPLAN she is currently developing systems for the electrotechnical planning of industrial plant.

She has been active in the VDID since 2014 and heads the project group Wirtschaft(s)macht Design. She was elected president of the VDID in October 2021.

She has given diverse lectures and workshops on topics including “Industrial Design for Capital Goods”, “What Can UX Learn From Industrial Design?”, “Industry 4.0 & User 4.0” and “Rams’ 11th Principle” and is on the topic committee of the Future of Industrial Usability conference.


Judith Tenzer

Judith Tenzer
Burgrieden bei Ulm

The in-depth interest in function and fabrication that the designer brings to her work stems from her training as a foundry and coachwork modelmaker. After her studies, Judith Tenzer initially worked as an associate lecturer at the University of Design (HfG) and at a design firm in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Then, 25 years ago, she was ready for the challenge of setting up her own business. Together with Marc-Gregor Weidt, she founded Einmaleins in Ulm, where she is responsible for the product design, innovation and ecodesign portfolios.

The resulting products deliver added value not just with regard to their usability but in terms of emotional appeal as well. Due in no small part to modular system architectures, she devises complex and sustainable developments for renowned manufacturers and startups alike (Dentsply Sirona, Assa Abloy, Waagner Biro, Ziegler, etc.). The firm has been presented with numerous design awards in recognition of this design quality (iF Gold, Red Dot, Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany).


Prof. Mario Zeppetzauer

copyright Michael Liebert

Prof. Mario Zeppetzauer
formquadrat gmbh
Linz, Austria

Prof Mario Zeppetzauer lives and works in Linz, Austria. He is head of the Industrial Design department at the University of Art and Design Linz. The programme focuses on innovative products and product systems and teaches design in context with technology and society.

As co-founder of design agency formquadrat he works on projects that centre on brand, function and ergonomics for companies such as B&R Automation, BWT, Fill, Fischer, Fronius, Haselmeier, Josko, Kapsch, Loxone, Magna, Palfinger, Pewag, Poloplast, Rosenbauer, Swarovski Optik, SIG, Trodat and Wittmann. The resulting products have won over 100 awards to date, including the Austrian State Prize for Design, Focus Open, the German Design Award, the iF Design Award and the Red Dot Best of the Best.

Prof Mario Zeppetzauer studied industrial design at the University of Art and Design Linz and the Art Center Europe in La Tour-de-Peilz.