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Design stars impressed by young local designers

TAIPEI--Prominent designers from across the globe gathered in Taipei yesterday to submit their ideas for the medal for the upcoming first-ever Tang Prize, but they took time out of their busy schedules to tour a youth design expo they called "very impressive."

Several finalists for the medal design of what is dubbed the "Asian Nobel Prize" took a half-day tour that day of the 2014 Young Designers' Exhibition (YODEX), an annual event organized by the Taiwan Design Center.

"I didn't know that design is so popular in Taiwan," Gunter Wermekes of Germany told CNA, adding that he was surprised by the number of designs on exhibit.

Wermekes, who was responsible for redesigning the Red Dot Design Award in 2013, said he saw many young talents with great potential, praising the combination of contemporary design, machine processing, traditional craftsmanship and culture.

Massimo Zucchi, an Italian jewelry and accessory designer, said that he saw several items worth pitching to companies and commercializing.

"It was like a power-charge experience," Zucchi said, calling the experience of seeing so many young people dedicated to their work very emotional. "It is a pity in a way that I couldn't stop at every booth" at YODEX, he added.

Harry Williamson of Australia also praised the exhibit, but suggested that exhibitors can be broken down into smaller groups so that visitors can have a clearer look at every design.

"It was fantastic and very impressive," said Williamson, adding

however that it "is a shame" that he only caught the last day of the

show and did not have time to visit every booth.

British jewelry artist and lecturer Lin Cheung told CNA that she found the show "overwhelming" — in a good way, she added — as visitors can sense the young designers' enthusiasm with their "incredibly strong and creative" works.

"Keep going," she urged the young talents. "This is the beginning of something. It's not the end. It may feel like the end of your course, but don't stop. Keep going with that energy."

The finalists were scheduled to present their designs May 21, followed by an award ceremony the next day to announce the winning designer, who will be awarded US$500,000.

A total of 61 designers from 15 countries entered the International Invitational Tang Prize Medal Design Competition. In the final round of the competition, the selected designers will present a medal design for each of the four categories of the Tang Prize: sustainable development, biomedicine, Sinology and rule of law.

The 6.6-centimeter-diameter medals will be made of pure gold and will be manufactured by Taiwan's Central Mint.

The Tang Prize, established by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin in December 2012, seeks to honor top researchers in the four fields.

Winners of the prize will be announced on June 18, with the award ceremony taking place three months later on Sept. 18. Up to three winners will share a cash prize of NT$50 million (US$1.65 million) for each category.

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