Limburg is one of the Netherlands’ 12 provinces. Situated between Belgium and Germany, the Region is dominated by borders. Long, tall Limburg has 351 km of borders with other countries and is connected to the rest of the Netherlands by just 113 km. It’s not surprising that Limburgians have traditionally looked further than the borders and have worked, studied or shopped in...

Winning design inspired by Limburg’s mining history

Swedish designer Anna Tuhus wins first Cross-border Design Contest 


On Thursday 30 March the awards for the first Cross-border Design Contest were presented at Leolux in Venlo. First prize went to Anna Tuhus (26, Sweden), a student at Central Saint Martins in London, for her cherry-wood floor tiles laser printed with dried flowers and inlaid with coal dust. The design, Tuhus explains, was inspired by Limburg’s rich mining history. 



The jury was unanimous in its verdict. “Anna’s design was head and shoulders above the rest”, says jury chair Jeroen Junte. “It’s original, flexible, accessible – in terms of price as well – but above all attractive. She managed to use Limburg’s mining history as a source of inspiration in a very sophisticated manner.” Following the ceremony, Anna herself was “flabbergasted”: “I never thought I’d win.” She hasn’t yet decided what to do with the prize money of €2,500,-, made available by Leolux. “But it will be put to good use, no doubt about that.” 



Mining past

Tuhus knew little about Limburg before she decided to take part in the contest. “I knew where Amsterdam was, but I’d never heard of Limburg.” She was charmed by Maastricht during the competition launch in October 2016. But she didn’t want to do something obvious with her design, and so she went looking for information about Limburg online. That was when she came across its mining history. “I was particularly touched by the social impact of the closure of the mines, including unemployment. That’s where I got the inspiration for the design. And the patterns are inspired by flowers in the region.” 



The sequel

Royal Mosa, one of the initiators of the competition, found herself pleasantly surprised by Tuhus’s work. Together the pair plan to explore possible next steps for the design. 


The contest

A select group of 56 third-year students from five international design programmes (Maastricht, London, Hasselt/Genk, Düsseldorf and Antwerp) took part in this first ever Cross-border Design Contest. The competition is an initiative of Leolux, Royal Mosa, the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design (Mafad) and the branding organisation Connect Limburg. Students were given a clear assignment: to create an “interior design jewel” inspired by the “DNA” of Limburg. 


The contest was launched in Maastricht on 24 October 2016. Designer Ron Arad provided an inspiring master class and students were introduced to Limburg design. The deadline was 28 February 2017, after which the entries were assessed by a jury composed of Jeroen Junte (chair), Roderick Vos (designer for Pode and others), Gène Bertrand (Cube Design Museum), Fabian Seibert (designer) and Jeanne Wessels (MelanO).




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