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W Hotels Announces 2011 Designers of the Future Award

Design Miami/ Basel and W Hotels Worldwide name second annual award recipients


W Hotels Announces 2011 Designers of the Future Award

The winners of W Hotels' 2011 Designers of the Future Award: Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler of mischer‘traxler, Priscilla Lui and Timo Wong of studio juju, and Asif Khan.

MILAN—W Hotels Worldwide continues its successful collaboration with Design Miami/ Basel with the announcement of the 2011 Designers of the Future Award. This event marks the second occasion that the two organizations have collaborated on the award, having announced the coveted award along with their partnership at Salone del Mobile in Milan one year ago.

The Designers of the Future Award, originally launched by Design Miami/ Basel in 2006, recognizes young, emerging designers whose work reflects exceptional innovation and beauty in limited-edition design. The winners named today will go on to present their special commissions at Basel in June. W Hotels, a leader in design and innovation, further backs the award by allowing for the award winners to carry out their legacy in various W Hotels around the world.

“We are very excited to take the partnership with Design Miami/ Basel and the W Hotels Designer of the Future Award into its second year,” says Eva Ziegler, global brand leader of W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. “Recognizing the W Hotels Designers of the Future here in Milan during the Salone del Mobile and presenting their projects at Design Miami/ Basel in June is a great introduction to the next stage of their careers.”

The 2011 Award winners include: UK-based designer Asif Khan, Austrian design team mischer’traxler, and studio juju in Singapore.

Each W Hotels Designers of the Future Award winner is given a brief and a budget to design and produce new work to be unveiled at Design Miami/ Basel.  The theme for this year is “Conversation Pieces”. Design Miami/ Basel and W Hotels has asked each winner to create a project that encourages people to overcome social barriers, sparks unexpected interactions, instigates discussion among strangers, or forges new relationships. This brief aims to foreground the potential of design—whether object, series of objects or installation—to activate social settings and to help visitors reap unforeseen rewards through spontaneous human contact.

Asif Khan
Asif Khan studied architecture at the Architectural Association and Bartlett School, University College London. In 2008 he founded Asif Khan Ltd., a design office based in London that aims to combine the disciplines of architecture, products, interiors and furniture in new and unexpected ways. Asif caters to a diverse range of clients, from manufacturers to private individuals, including Magis, Idée, Danese, Sawaya & Moroni, Design Museum London, the Clinton-Hunter Foundation, the British Council and the Royal Academy.

His work intermingles high technology and low technology, and is characterized by craftsmanship, innovation and wit. Current projects include a restaurant in London's Borough Market and furniture for schools in Malawi.  His work has been recognized by MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program and the Hospital Club 100 List, and the New York Times featured him in the top five London designers to watch for 2011.

Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler formed their studio mischer‘traxler in 2009 after graduating from the IM-masters department of Conceptual Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2008. Based in Vienna, they develop and design products, furniture, installations and more, with a focus on experimental and conceptual thinking. Balancing handcraft and technology, their approach aspires toward the creation of new objects, materials, concepts, systems and production methods that respect sustainability and the relevance of nature.

The studio has been recognized by the Austrian Experimental Design Award and the DMY Award; they received an honorable mention at the Prix Ars Electronica; and they were nominated for the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2010. Their work has been exhibited by Art Institute Chicago, Design Museum London, MAK Vienna and the Designhuis Eindhoven, among others.

studio juju
Established in 2009 by Timo Wong and Priscilla Lui, studio juju is a design partnership based in Singapore. The studio’s process is characterized by a hands-on approach to prototype making, focusing on a detailed understanding of design principles related to functionality, form and material. studio juju works with industry clients and partners with businesses, start-ups and other designers, while also undertaking projects in the field of education.

Timo graduated with merit from the Nanyang Polytechnic in Industrial Design in 2003 and Priscilla graduated with honors from National University of Singapore in Industrial Design in 2006. Prior to founding studio juju, they developed the dlab's Objects Around the Table-scape collection, under the direction of Patrick Chia.  This collection has exhibited at Maison et. Objet, Paris; Salone Satellite, Milan; Ricordi Sfera, Kyoto; National Museum of Singapore and P5, Singapore. 

About Design Miami/
Design Miami/ is a prominent and substantive forum for collectible design, representing a convergence of commerce and culture. Its annual shows in Basel, Switzerland (June) and Miami (December) bring together the most influential galleries, collectors, designers, critics and curators from around the world. For more information, please visit