YOUNG BALKAN DESIGNERS: Here & Now Hybrid Solutions for Contemporary Living, Work, Exchange & Play

YOUNG BALKAN DESIGNERS: Here & Now Hybrid Solutions for Contemporary Living, Work, Exchange & Play


Young Balkan Designers (YBD) is Mikser organization’s regional talent platform aimed at discovering, developing, and promoting creative talents of the Balkan region in the field of sustainable design. The initiative also aims at unifying the regional design scene. Therefore, bringing it closer to the international audience, and strengthening its potential by providing additional education/practice to emerging designers. While at the same time contributing to the restoration of multi-cultural cooperation in the Balkan region.


Nunc (now) is a furniture manufacturer from Slavonia, Croatia. It debuted on the international design scene in 2019 at the furniture fair in Cologne Germany. Additionally, it has been growing and conquering international markets ever since. Nunc’s witty and refreshing approach to the design of everyday objects comes from collaboration with designers from the entire region. Many of them have debuted on the regional and international scene via the Young Balkan Designers platform.


May you live in interesting times. We do. Technological breakthrough opens new possibilities for remote working and flexible working arrangements that also affect the configuration of our personal and communal spaces. On the other hand, the global health crisis gave us time to reflect on our personal values and aspirations, leading to mass self-reflection on the ways we want to spend most of our day – where, when, with whom, and why. Theme “Here and Now – Hybrid Solutions for Contemporary Living, Work, Exchange, and Play” calls for sustainable, smart, flexible design solutions for the ever-changing environments and circumstances we live in nowadays.

We challenge young designers to explore new furniture and space functions for in-between and overlapping areas of everyday worlds. Home, work, school, public spaces, fun, intimate, and communal zones, urban and rural environments, and static and moving experiences. Submitted projects should be able to offer multiple functions and experiences to their users, support diverse living scenarios, and hybrid and nomadic work models, enable easy creation of “third spaces”, transform any place into a playroom or informal education set-up, and much more. We encourage young designers to concoct new or revisit their existing design ideas, by looking into cross-over, hybrid functions of furniture pieces, modular systems, or other utility objects, from the perspectives of diverse users (grown-ups, children, different genders, elderly, people with disabilities, etc.), various time scenarios (by night, by day, seasonal, etc.), alternating environments and social contexts (outdoor, indoor, private, public), etc.


Marva Griffin, curator, Salone Satellite, Milan Furniture Fair, Italy
Henriette Waal, industrial designer, professor at Eindhoven Design Academy, Netherlands / Director of Experminental Research, Atelier Luma, Experimental Program, France
Nikola Radeljkovic, designer, Numen/For Use, Croatia
Jelena Matic, product designer, professor at Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Maja Lalic, architect, founder of Mikser Association, Serbia


Design concepts, products – furniture items and systems, lighting, interior elements, everyday objects, outdoor elements, toys and tools, home accessories and textiles, innovative design and production scenarios that support and enable mobility, multifunctionality, transformability, and adaptation of spatial elements to diverse functions, time and use scenarios.


Criteria appreciated by the Jury: innovative features of the project that enhance the quality of everyday life; ability to address needs of diverse users; multifunctionality; potential for circularity of product or its elements; ergonomics; rational production and transportation costs; innovative use of materials available locally; implementation of local knowledge and techniques; environmentally friendly production process, innovative use of recycled materials; relevancy in relation to local/global environmental and social challenges.


The competition is open to creators up to 40 years of age, who live or work in the Balkans. Applicants may be individuals or groups of authors. Each applicant may submit more than one entry.


I Round Winners: Participation in YBD for NUNC Exhibition of proposals in Belgrade (Faculty of Forestry, side program of Belgrade Furniture Fair)
II Round Winners: Product Development for NUNC w/ company product development team
Successful Prototypes: Presentation of prototypes at Milan International Furniture Fair 2024 (Nunc Booth) and Mikser Festival 2024 in Belgrade


I Round Winners for The Exhibition Selection Category will be announced on 2 October 2023 online at (Jury decision)

II Round Winners for the Product Development Category will be announced on 11 October 2023 at the YBD for the NUNC Exhibition Opening in Belgrade, during the Belgrade Furniture Fair (Curatorial and Product Development Teams’ decision)

Moreover, The final selection of successful prototypes for presentations at Milano Furniture Fair 2024 and Mikser Festival 2024 will be made in February 2024


  • 27 Sep 2023 – Competition Deadline for submission of proposals
  • 28 Sep – 1 Oct 2023 – Pre-selection and jurying process
  • 2 Oct 2023 – Public announcement of the I Round Winners: Exhibition Selection Category
  • 11 Oct 2023 – Exhibition Opening and the public announcement of the II Round Winners: Product Development Category
  • at the YBD Exhibition Opening Cocktail in Belgrade at Faculty of Forestry, side program of Belgrade Furniture Fair
  • Nov 2023 – Jan 2024 – Product development phase
  • Feb 2023 – Final selection of successful prototypes for Milano at the Nunc factory in Djakovo, Croatia
  • Feb – Mar 2024 – Preparations for products’ presentation at Milan Furniture Fair at Nunc’s booth
  • 16 -21 Apr 2024 – Exhibiting new products at Milan International Furniture Fair
  • May 2024 – YBD for NUNC exhibition at Mikser Festival, Belgrade


By submitting this application, if selected for product development, designers commit to collaborate with the YBD curatorial and NUNC product development team on developing functional prototypes for Nunc products to be presented at the Milan International Furniture Fair. Also, If the company decides to manufacture the selected products for the market, a separate standard business agreement (contract) will be signed between the company and the designers.

The organizers will cover all expenses related to the organization and production of the Exhibition in Belgrade. As well as the presentation of prototypes at the Milan International Furniture Fair.

Moreover, The travel and accommodation expenses for designers to attend the exhibition in Belgrade and the NUNC exhibition booth at the Milan International Furniture Fair are to be covered by designers.

The decisions of the jury are final. Furthermore, Any claims arising in relation to the authorship of the design or of possible plagiarism thereof will be the responsibility of the designer. In the event of non-fulfillment of any of the rules herein, or in case of insufficient quality of cooperation or the final outcome, the curatorial team and product development team maintain the right to exclude the prototype from Nunc’s presentation in Milan and promotional materials.

Application form:


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