Background

The Coburg Designforum of Upper Franconia offers young designers from Europe the opportunity to compare notes in the context of the workshop Ray of Light. An old tradition is being continued with.

International relationships have always played a major role throughout Upper Franconia’s history. In the 19th century, the Coburg Duchy tied close kinsmanlike bonds with numerous european Royals – for example Prince Albert’s connection with Queen Victoria. This changed the region in those days into a carrousel of political, economic and cultural changes in Europe.

Prince Albert is a symbol for international doings. It was he who gave the impulse for the World Exhibition in London 1851. The basis for a multifaceted economic structure, oriented towards international markets is laid during this period. Still having continuance today: there are scores of major companies based in the region of Upper Franconia. These are for example the Rosenthal AG in Selb and Loewe in Kronach. Both companies being synonymous with a high claim of design. Design is also in other respects high in demand in Upper Franconia: The Coburg Designdays taking place annually since 1989 aim at making the topic of design accessible for a broad audience. Apart from experts of the branch of trade also the normal consumer should be appealed to.

Meanwhile, the Coburg Designdays became a nationally significant event. After the German Unification and during eastward expansion of the European Union there is a new chance for the former border region to gain in importance. This region is so to speak attracting attention geographically. Upper Franconia is offered the chance to again participate actively in Europe’s change and to play a similar prominent role like during the 19th century. With the Workshop Ray of Light, the region and it’s topographic vicinity to the Czech Republic signalizes moreover the readiness to interchange with the eastern european neighbourcountries. This connection between tradition and progress is personified in a special way by the patron of this event, His Highness Andreas Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

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