Elena BaturinaRussia’s richest woman, Elena Baturina, is investing $100 million in a new “creative think-tank” devoted to improving the world.

Dubbed Be Open, its noble aim is to stimulate innovation and creativity among young designers and improve sustainability while building bridges between Russia and the rest of the world.

She says she hopes her project, which launched April 16, will enable “the next generation to live in a beautiful, kind world by identifying solutions to major social issues and then developing them from concept stage to realization.”

The initiative that aims to harness the great minds in the arts, education, design, business and the media – and asks them to imagine and then build solutions for the future. The project will integrate international conferences, competitions, exhibitions, master classes, cultural and art events from its website, BeOpenFuture.com.

Their upcoming conferences, offering free admission, will take place in New York (May 2012) and London (September 2012), coinciding with those city’s established design weeks.

Be Open website logoThe conferences will be streamed live on the website. To attend the conferences, please register online at www.beopenfuture.com.

In April, three winners were announced in the first BE OPEN Awards, to promote young creative talent:

In first place is ALEXANDRA GINEVA from Russia, who receives a grant of 10,000 euros for the implementation of her project, which combines a futuristic winery, vineyard and spa.

Second place goes to ALBERTO VASQUEZ from Hungary, for an innovative public lighting project powered by a vertical wind turbine, to serve off grid locations.

In third place is MICHAL WROBLEWSKI from Poland, for an ingenious graphic design scheme for Polish television giant NTL.

(READ more about Elena in the Financial Times)

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