The Fair, which was officially opened on Tuesday, 8 November, by President of the National Council of Republic of Slovenia Blaž Kavčič, MSc, closed its doors on Sunday, 13 November. Over the 6 days, the Fair showcased 297 companies from 19 countries on 25,300 m2 of exhibition surfaces. As in previous years, the Top Ten prizes were presented for best creative achievements in the field of design. This year, the highest prize among the 10 was awarded to Toni Kancilja for the solid wood cabinet manufactured by Mitja Bolčič, Mizarstvo Bolčič. Three equal prizes for the Best Exhibition Space were presented to: company Kolpa, d.d., Metlika, project Alpe-Adria Holz/Les – Collignum, and company Pobles. The Golden Plaque of the Naš dom magazine (the Večer publishing house) and the prize awarded by the Designers Society of Slovenia were also presented. The furniture exhibition was accompanied by the supporting programme, which included expert conferences, round tables and exhibitions. The Fair was attended by 35,500 visitors.
The recipient of the highest prize awarded by GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre was selected by special international jury presided over by Prof. Janez Koželj. The cabinet Istra, made of solid wood, was chosen since »it proves that wood represents an immense source of inspiration to the designer. Although wood may be used in various combinations and forms, let them be organic or geometric, its natural properties are always expressed. The designer of the awarded product used wood in a manner to preserve its characteristics of a living, organic part of nature, together with its record of life, and thus creating direct and consistently achieved useful form, without unnecessary additions or ornaments.« Upon receiving 2 prizes, the Top 10 and the Top of the Top prize, designer Toni Kancilja stated: »The prizes embody the strongest bond between the master, who creates the object, and the designer, who envisions it. This bond is necessary; without it, there is no success. The award is thus the confirmation that this bond is very strong.« Mitja Bolčič, Mizarstvo Bolčič: »These prizes are even more significant since we received them for prototypes, which were produced at the last minute, spontaneously, while controlling the construction of unpredictable, but because of long years of experience, on the basis of predictable characteristics of wood.«
In addition to receiving the prize for the Best Exhibition Space awarded by GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, the Alpe-Adria Holz/Les - Collignum project also won the prize of the Designers Society of Slovenia. Upon this occasion, designer Andrej Mercina, from the company Trije arhitekti, said: »The two prizes have special meaning particularly in the context of the background, the story itself, which goes beyond the Collignum trademark products and the exhibition space itself. Through the Alpe-Adria Holz/Les project, at the persistence of the project manager Mrs. Marina Einspieler (Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Klagenfurt) and co-workers, and on the basis of ideals of interregional, intergenerational and interdisciplinary cooperation alongside all possible problems, which occur in such multi-member group, we are successful in uniting new design energy with awakened traditional joiners’ knowledge and contemporary technology. The design of furniture elements consciously reaches for the widest range of design themes and aims for the widest target public since we would like to transpose the described high standards of the Collignum brand to the general public. The exhibition space was thus seemingly easy to design; we only had to faithfully follow the cleverly conceived connecting thread of local specifics, ecological sensitivity and commitment to wood. The prizes are the best possible epilogue of this first phase of the Collignum project, a project with a message.«
Another company also received 2 prizes at the 22nd Ambient Ljubljana Furniture Fair; the Top 10 prize and the Golden Plaque of the Naš dom magazine for 2011 were awarded to the company Brest pohištvo d.o.o. for the multifunctional programme ALTERA, designed by Matej Velušček. »The prizes again confirm the correct direction of development of multifunctional furniture of the company Brest pohištvo d.o.o., which began years ago with the Modulo prototype programme. The prizes provide the development team of the company Brest with additional motivation and impetus«, told Velušček and added, »before joining Brest as a designer in February 2011, I was employed in one of the architectural offices in Ljubljana. This switch to industrial design succeeded me very well. The prizes of the Ambient Ljubljana – Furniture Fair provide me, as a beginner, with assurance and additional motivation for the future. It is a good start.«
The next Ambient Ljubljana – Furniture Fair will take place at GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre between 5 and 11 November 2012.