32 designers set to soar in WantedDesign’s Launch Pad.

Jaime Derringer of Design Milk leads the jurors of Launch Pad who will select one designer to receive awards aimed at boosting a career or business. Photo by Noa Azoulay.

May is an exciting time for design in New York City, especially for the 32 up-and-coming designers who are finalists in Wanted Design’s 2016 Launch Pad competition.

Launch Pad, now in its third year, gives the winner of the competition a significant boost in career or business, including a cash award from DWR. It is one part of WantedDesign, a platform that promotes design throughout the year and especially each May during NYCxDesign, a two-week festival in New York featuring scores of design-related events.

Voting is open to the public until noon May 16 on the Launch Pad website. Afterward, a winner will be selected by a panel of jurors led by Jaime Derringer, founder and executive editor of Design Milk.  

Derringer says Launch Pad – modeled on SaloneSatellite, a similar competition connected to the annual Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan – received hundreds of applications from everywhere.

“It’s amazing how many fantastic designers there are around the world who are looking for a platform where they can show their work,” Derringer says.

She says narrowing the field of applicants is difficult and done through a collaboration among WantedDesign and other partners, which include DWR and Design Milk.

“I’m always looking for creative uses of materials,” Derringer says, “unique forms, and interesting methods. Of course, also something that pleases the eye! I hunt for something I’ve never seen before.”

Derringer and the jury found something special last year that prompted them to award a special prize in addition to one that went to the winning designer, Kjartan Oskarsson, whose LED lamp is featured on the home-page link to this post. They loved the ceramic tiles of Moroccan designer Sara Ouhaddou and invited her back for Launch Pad 2016.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s been up to,” Derringer says.

As for this year, Derringer hopes designers who exhibit at Launch Pad achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

“I also hope to find some rising stars,” she says.

This year’s Launch Pad finalists at a glance: