Topic: Material Effects

With its focus on material effects, the sixth International Marianne Brandt Contest continues the search it began in 2000 for The Poetry of the Functional within the polarities of art and design. It thereby links up with and develops the theme of  “cradle to cradle” and its awareness of  material, mankind and the environment − the special category of the contest 2013.

Young designers, artists and photographers, also scientists and creative people from other disciplines are invited to work on interesting answers or further questions on this topic. The contest is interested in material-sensitive products and imagery, likewise projects and experimental designs dealing with the derivation, history and characteristics of materials; these might be concepts that perhaps question in a social and aesthetic context the sustainability of a design oriented on products and things and thus support the planning of new perspectives of behaviour and action.

Competitive contributions are expected to address issues about the contemporary use of material in a visibly and contextually clear way, with an artistic, scientific and creative treatment of the topic that considers ecological, social, economic and cultural effects. Accordingly, prizes will be awarded in the categories of "products," "photographs" and "experimental designs."

The competition's namesake, product designer and artist Marianne Brandt

The key question for Bauhaus in the 1920s was the question of how materials — in selection, conversion or combination — could shape design and artistic processes; this was a central object of the preliminary course taught by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers. Marianne Brandt attended this class in 1924, in which various materials such as metal, wood, plastic and paper were studied using simple tools. She first playfully explored how spatial structures could be developed based on the specific qualities of the materials and using appropriate processes. Marianne Brandt applied this basic knowledge of materials into her designs for the metal workshop in Dessau, first teaching the technical aspects, then, from 1928 on, the artistic aspects as well.

Marianne Brandt's lamps for the Bauhaus building and her table objects — from tea extract pots to ashtrays — have become icons of modern design with their sensitive, geometric and logical, functional material composition. Parallel to her practical, functionally-oriented work in the metal shop, Marianne Brandt also expressed her free artistic talents in retaining a poetic space and playground to carry out her sensory experiments working with material effects that flowed indirectly into her application-oriented designs. The camera was a special instrument for Marianne Brandt's artistic work; she had already completed studies in painting prior to her Bauhaus years, but it was finally the camera and the exploration of the medium of photography which culminated in about fifty photo collages consisting of her own photographs and collected press photos.


Submissions can be uploaded in PDF format (max. 5MB/ max. 5 pages) to this platform:

The call is open for young designers and photographers under 40 years of age.

further questions regarding the submission 


Online registration and entry upload for product design, photography and experimental set-ups
1 October 2015 — 31 May 2016

proof of payment instruction until 31 May 2016
23:59 o'clock European Central Summer Time
(UTC+2) qualifies for participation

upload is possible until 5 June 2016
23:59 o'clock European Central Summer Time

Nominee announcement for product design, photography and experimental set-ups
30 June 2016

Submission of the nominated entries of product design, photography and experimental design to the museum
1 August — 12 August 2016


Industriemuseum Chemnitz
submission International Marianne Brandt Contest
Zwickauer Str. 119,
09112 Chemnitz



The contest is divided into two phases:

The first phase contains the digital submission of the exhibits. Participants register at: 
After successful registration (on receipt of the participation fee and the issuing of credentials by the Marianne Brandt Design Contest host) participants may upload a digital version of their exhibit as a single PDF document (max. 5 MB). The jury will then nominate the exhibits for the second phase.

The second phase includes the submission of the exhibits by mail. In case participants are nominated for this phase they will receive further details for their submission by mail. The postage fee for submission and return by mail is covered by the participant.

Participation fee

€30, payable upon the upload of the contribution.

Each participant will obtain a free copy of the catalogue.


A prize of 5,000, as well as three awards will be bestowed in all three categories.
Special prizes will be awarded by well-known companies: vitra GmbH Weil am Rhein, smow GmbH Leipzig, Neue Schule für Fotografie Berlin. Other special award donators will be published soon.

Each participant will obtain a free copy of the catalogue.

Host & Initiator

Kunstverein VILLA ARTE e.V.
Augustusburgerstr. 102
09126 Chemnitz