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House of Music © Iwan Baan
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The ICONIC AWARDS 2023: Innovative Architecture – organised by the German Design Council – have been awarding prizes for the best achievements in architecture, pioneering interior and product design, outstanding brand communication and a particularly innovative use of materials in the architecture sector for over 10 years. This year’s winners were announced last Friday, 22 September.

From 620 submissions from over 30 countries, the jury selected 62 groundbreaking projects for the “Best of Best” award. The international jury of experts emphasises the importance of visionary design that is not only aesthetically inspiring, but also ecologically and socially influential. The special awards this year go to Sou Fujimoto Architects (“Architects of the Year”) and Holzrausch (“Interior Designers of the Year”). The honorary prize “Architects’ Client of the Year” is awarded to the Norwegian furniture company Vestre for its new production facility “The Plus”.

The award winners will be honoured on 4 October 2023 at BMW Welt in Munich.

Special Winner of the ICONIC AWARDS 2023: Innovative Architecture
The “Architects of the Year” award goes to Sou Fujimoto Architects. With this award, the jury honours the outstanding work of the internationally renowned architectural firm from Japan. Houses without walls, roofs that lay across a landscape like fluttering ribbons, and facades that are surrounded by countless small and large terraces. Sou Fujimoto breaks with conventions – and in doing so creates something that contemporary architecture often lacks: distinctiveness, exciting relationships of closeness and distance, contrasts of smallness and uniformity, architectural forms that could often just as easily be read as sculptures. “Breathtakingly beautiful!” the jury wrote about Sou Fujimoto Architect’s projects such as “L’Arbre Blanc” and “Flowing Cloud Pavilion”. “If there is one thing that Sou Fujimoto Architects, more than any other office, prove again and again impressively, it is that architecture, in the best sense, cannot be seen as an adversary to nature, but as its ally. Architecture is nature. Nature is living space,” said the jury.

The German Design Council awards the title “Interior Designers of the Year” to the interior design studio Holzrausch from Munich. With an impressive range of design projects that combine excellence in craftsmanship with innovative planning solutions, Holzrausch has proven that they have mastered the art of interior design at its best. Whether it’s a single piece of furniture, kitchen planning or a holistic interior design concept, Holzrausch takes on all the development steps, covering everything from design planning to production and even the entire installation. The work results, which are characterised by functionality, aesthetics and market knowledge, are created in the company’s own joinery in Forstern, Bavaria, and in a workshop in Nižná, Slovakia. The jury was particularly enthusiastic about the design expertise and perfection of craftsmanship: “Their enthusiasm for craftsmanship is infectious, their artistry in design as well as in production makes natural materials appear alive, and from the rigour inherent in Holzrausch’s projects unfolds a harmony for which this company is unique.”

The honorary award “Architects’ Client of the Year” goes to the Norwegian furniture manufacturer Vestre, which makes a committed statement with its new factory “The Plus”, designed by the renowned Bjarke Ingels Group: The building embodies sustainability and innovation in an exemplary way and impressively combines Vestre’s clear commitment to the environment, its employees and its brand identity. The heart of “The Plus” is the open courtyard with a maple tree in the centre of the building. It not only connects the production facilities with the offices and the visitor centre, but also gives visitors and employees a glimpse into the production process. “With The Plus, Vestre paves the way for what is possible: economic growth – not in spite of, but thanks to a commitment to a green, climate-friendly future,” said the jury. “What has emerged is a unique typology resulting from logistical requirements, which is always in contact with the forest thanks to circumferential window strips. A real plus for nature, employees and the company, which has earned the honorary award ‘Architects’ Client of the Year’.”

Further information:

  • You can find an overview of all the winners’ projects in the online gallery
  • More information on the special prize winners can be found here

The jury ICONIC AWARDS 2023: Innovative Architecture

The selection of the winning projects and special prizes is made by a renowned international jury:

  • Ben van Berkel, Founder and Principal Architect UNStudio, Amsterdam
  • Fabian Peters, Chief Editor Baumeister
  • Virginia Lung, Co-founder One Plus Partnership, Hong Kong
  • Wei Wu, Executive Partner gmp, Shanghai
  • Lone Wiggers, Partner and architect, C.F. Møller Architects, Copenhagen

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