Swiss Cultural Challenge Presentations and Award Ceremony

Swiss Cultural Challenge 2019: The supportive programme at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design supports innovative ideas by cultural and creative professionals.

Graduates of Swiss Art and Design Universities spent five months developing their projects through combining aesthetics, societal issues and economic question. On 28 March 2019, the finalest of the third edition of the competition were presented at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design. Three projects were awarded with a prize totalling CHF 30’000 – generously sponsored by the Christoph Merian Stiftung.

The projects awarded were:
edcat – the art edition catalogue by Jan Steinbach, Evangelos Kleiman, Tilman Schlevogt, Sandro Nardi;
NCCFN Group by Nina Jaun, Pino Güntensperger, Thibaud Balsiger, Julia Reist, Eric Taky and
REALnTANGIBLE by Priscille Jotzu.

The jury members were Bianca Elzenbaumer (Brave New Alps), Prof. Marion Fink (Institute of Visual Communication,FHNW Academy of Art and Design), Lela Scherrer (Fashion and Concept Design), Reto Wey (Business Consultant Consultant) and Thomas Wüthrich (Co-Founder of InchFurniture).

The Swiss Cultural Challenge was launched by the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in summer 2016 as a competition and supportive platform for creative and cultural entrepreneurs. It aims to strengthen innovative processes and places aesthetic and social issues in an economic context. In addition to the competition, it includes an accompanying programme with mentoring by top-class mentors, workshops and networking events. The candidates spent five months developing their artistic and entrepreneurial ideas in this programme.

Photo Credit: Florence Dreier


For the major exhibition The Young Picasso – Blue and Rose Periods at Fondation Beyeler, the FHNW Academy of Art and Design and Fondation Beyeler have, for the first time, realized a joint project: prompted by Picasso’s paintings from the Blue and Rose periods, students of the Institute Integrative Design | Masterstudio were asked to come up with product ideas for the gallery’s Picasso shop, a task they worked on for two semesters. In the context of the trainee programme Swiss Cultural Entrepreneurship, students were thus given the opportunity to go through the whole design process, from sketch to finished product, under real conditions.

In the draft stage, the students first explored the formal, motivic, and conceptual characteristics of Picasso’s work during the Blue and Rose periods as a basis for reinterpreting them. Setting out from their sketches they went on to deal with aesthetic and functional concerns, find the right production partners, define target groups and price ranges, create designs for packaging, and select the appropriate modes of presentation and sale. In the process the students went through all the stages of product development, enabling them to gather vital experience with regard to design practice. 

In autumn 2018, a five-member jury selected the designs it believed were worth realising. Since then, six different products have been produced which will now go on sale at Fondation Beyeler’s Picasso shop as from now, most of them handcrafted uniques. On offer are mouth-blown vases, golden handheld mirrors, coloured soaps and wax crayons, a special Mikado set, and T-shirts for kids – all come in a limited edition and a specially designed packaging. For more information please visit: link

From Left to Right: Helena Tapajnova, Natalia Blanco, Charleen Elberskirch, Marie Läuger, Jennifer Keusgen, Benjamin Kniel

X_art-Talk: Interview onRadio X

The Swiss Cultural Challenge was invited to the Basel cultural radio station Radio X. How does a young creative person get fit for the market? Which ideas can be realised and how? All these questions were discussed during the X_art show hosted by Danielle Bürgin. Eveline Wüthrich from I Never Read, Tom Wüthrich from INCHfurniture and Jana Eske from Swiss Cultural Challenge were present.  Listen back.

Photo Credit: Dominik Asche

Awarded Projects 2017-2018

Tactile Audio

Many electronic music makers use self-made instruments to bring their music to the stage. As such, they have two roles: they act as interaction designers and instrumentalists. These roles are traditionally separate and require different trainings. The result is often deficient instruments, which negatively affects both the fun of playing and the performance as a whole. This is where Tactile Audio comes in: with instruments that offer full freedom in sound design, and have a well-defined interaction design, musicians are able to focus their creativity on their work. The first product, TCTL-01, is based on a multi-touch track-pad. This sensor is widely used but does not exist in the electronic instrument market. Thus, we offer a novel and innovative instrument based on a familiar gesture repertoire.

My Stay in Sainte-Croix – Language teaching aid and Hiking guides

« My stay in Sainte-Croix » is a novel combination of language teaching aids and travel guides. Written in simple French, the guide leads German, Italian and English-speaking hikers for two days through the municipality of Sainte- Croix in the Jura. The reader is encouraged to interact with the locals and can actively refresh their vocabulary through these interactions. The educational content and its attractive design have been developed hand in hand. As a result, an innovative solution was found that brings cultural, culinary and landscape features of the region closer in an interactive and authentic way. In addition to the book “ My stay in Sainte-Croix ”, more phrasebooks and hiking guides are planned by studio Monikaa ( Aline Wagner und Adriano Diethelm ) for all Swiss language regions.


The closure of small and medium format galleries, digitalisation and the need for simplified access to art for a wider audience all call for new ideas. The Kunstdepot responds to these circumstances and offers a format that creates visibility and availability for art. It digitizes, archives, stores and manages the artworks. This also solves an urgent problem that young artists have in common: the lack of storage space for their works of art.

Awarded Projects 2016-2017

I Never Read

Curator Eveline Wüthrich wants to encourage exchange beyond the borders of traditional art book fairs with her international art book fair I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel. She founded the fair in 2012 to showcase the art book in all its facets – from the elaborate book, which itself is art, to self-copied fanzines with a message. I Never Read also provides publishers from all segments with a sales platform. At its core, however, it promotes exchange in the community to strengthen and better utilize the resources from the growing network. As an exhibition series titled I Never
Read, on holiday, I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel is also present in various art spaces.

Past Events


The Swiss Cultural Challenge at the muba: In spring 2018, the participants of the Swiss Cultural Challenge were given the opportunity to present their projects at the traditional Basel public fair. The exhibition – specifically addressing cultural entrepreneurs – featured several awarded projects from the last years. Muba was one of the most traditional fairs in Switzerland and attracted thousands of visitors every year. This cooperation enabled the participants to present their projects to a broader audience.

Wie Kreative unterneh­merisch fit werden

«In der wirklichen Welt funktioniert es anders, als ich es in der Schule gelernt habe.»Rebecca Uth, Absolventin der Kopenhagen Designschule, ist heute ihre eigene Chefin. Die Produktdesignerin gründete 2013 mit einem Geschäftspartner die Firma Ro. Unterdessen sind sieben Leute sowie mehrere Designerinnen und Designer als Freelancer für Ro tätig. Ihre Produkte findet man nicht nur in Dänemark, sondern auch in weiteren europäischen Ländern und in Australien. Als Mentorin des Wettbewerbs «Swiss Cultural Challenge» möchte sie die Teilnehmenden herausfordern. «Sie müssen wissen, was sie erreichen wollen», sagt sie, «und was sie wirklich antreibt. Dieses Wissen wird ihnen helfen, wenn es einmal nicht so läuft.» E-Magazin FHNW