PARIS — Hermès International said Wednesday it will establish a new European design prize for travel and home objects.

Named after the late Emilé Hermès, a third-generation manager of the French luxury firm, the triannual contest will be open to amateurs, professionals and students of industrial design, architecture or applied arts in 16 countries, with cash prizes ranging from 15,000 to 50,000 euros, or $19,950 to $66,500 at current exchange, for the top three winners.

A Hermès spokeswoman said the company does not plan to commercialize or sell the designs.

The first winners will be named in June 2008 after a vetting process that will begin this fall. Hermès has assembled a high-caliber panel of judges, including Ron Arad, Hella Jongerius and Marc Berthier, and given the theme of "lightness for every day" to guide contestants.

Emilé Hermès took the reins of the family business after the First World War, and held them until 1951.

Hermès will set up a Web site at, which will go live Sept. 15 for entrants to enroll.

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