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No funding for designers as Year of Design opens

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16:50 CET+01:00
The first official exhibition of Stockholm's Year of Design, Designåret, opened this week to a mixed response among designers. But ministers Leif Pagrotsky and Thomas Östros are convinced that the focus on design in 2005 will have a positive effect on the country.

Östros expressed the hope that design will strengthen Sweden's ability to compete internationally.

The Year of Design aims to promote an awareness and appreciation of design. Hundreds of projects, including exhibitions, workshops and seminars, are planned for the next 12 months.

However, although anyone can participate in the Year of Design, there is no government funding available.

"We don't have any money to invest in individual projects - others will have to take care of that," said culture minister Leif Pagrotsky.

"But the government has put 64 million crowns into various national projects in order to emphasize the importance of design to national growth," he added.

The government is focusing its investments primarily on industrial design projects.

Several of the exhibitors at Liljevalchs wondered how the government's measures would benefit them, saying that the lack of funding is a problem for designers who are not already established.

"Politicians want us to show what we can do, but they're not prepared to contribute," said exhibitor Lamia Saab.

"After all, it's our new ideas that they hope will lead to the growth they're always talking about."

The year is still young and design enthusiasts have many more chances to admire the latest in design. Bang & Olufsen, Capellini, Jasper Morrison and other internationally known design companies plan to fill a luxurious 19th century Stockholm apartment with their wares.

The show is scheduled for February 12-13 in an apartment on Mäster Samuelsgatan 1.

See www.designaret.se for more information.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet

Kendal von Sydow

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