Our 2019 nominees are:

Prix Voltaire 2019; The concept behind the award.

Every edition of Prix Voltaire International a designer is invited to create an ‘enlightening’ piece of art . This year Willem Schouten designed the unique onepiece award.

With this award, Studio Willlem Schouten wanted to embody the values of Voltaire in a literal sense by shedding light, but even more in a poetic way. The Cube shape as used a light source is one of Plato’s solids. The Greek philosopher wrote about the solids in the dialogue Timaeus c. 360 B.C in which he associated each of the four classical elements (earth, air, water and fire) with a regular solid. According to Plato, the cube shape represented the earth. In a day and age that our planet is more and more in danger of decaying,


‘I hope that this award can not only function as a light source but also as an inspiration for a new – durable- direction in which the interests of our planet and it’s inhabitants are the most important ingredient in the given answers.’

The design of the price originates from the Kocohedron Collection, a collection made by Studio Willem Schouten en Koen Coppens for “Kocowisch”, a collaboration that stands for uncompromising and high-en objects of a timeless and unadorned aesthetic.

The award
Date: October 2019
Material: FSC Walnut wood, (brushed) gold plated aluminium, LED lighting.
Commisioned by: Prix Voltaire

About Studio Willem Schouten:


Willem Schouten is a Dutch multidisciplinary creative. His work ranges from product and graphic design to writing and branding. The born Dutchman loves to work together with others, believing that collaborations challenge both parties to create the best possible outcome.

Goal: to create timeless products, solutions and concepts that have the quality to stand the test of time.

Willem believes good concepts arise from exploring form and function, wandering through the
grey area’s that lie between different work fields and breaking down borders between them. He is also a firm believer of tinkering and a process-focused approach.

Quote Willem Schouten
“Designers often push themselves to think outside the box? But Why? What is inside the box that is so disconcerting. These simple shapes like the cube are the oldest in the book but still beautiful and relevant when used in a new way. Maybe the answers for our big problems are closer by than we think, inside the box, the only thing what we have to do is to look at them in different way.”