• Photo: Jordi Ruiz Cicera

  • Photo: Roderik Henderson

  • Photo: Géraldine Jeanjean

  • Photo: Stephan Keppel

  • Photo: Matthieu Litt

  • Photo: Antoinette Nausikaä

  • Photo: Martine Stig

    Martine Stig
  • Photo: Dustin Thierry

    Dustin Thierry
  • Photo: Maarten Tromp

Unique photography competition

The Somfy Photography Award is an original photography competition, now in its second edition. Nine shortlisted top photographers will create unique work based on the theme ‘Gimme shelter’ and compete for first and second place.

The Somfy Photography Award is an opportunity for professional photographers to create work on a specific subject, based on their own project proposals. They also have the chance to win a substantial cash prize and are able to present their work at important cultural venues in Paris, Rotterdam and Arles.

The Somfy Photography Award is grateful for the support of
the Nederlands Fotomuseum.

Nederlands Fotomuseum

2020 theme: GIMME SHELTER

The Somfy Photography Award is a way for Somfy to emphasise the contribution it makes to people’s comfort and well-being in non-residential buildings such as schools, universities, hospitals, offices, airports, and railway stations, and to do this in a perceptive and insightful, inspiring and creative way.

The theme of the Somfy Photography Award 2020 is Gimme shelter. The Somfy Group makes use of invisible technology to ensure the well-being and comfort of building users. Somfy also ensures that these buildings use energy sustainably. Comfort, well-being and sustainability are the three most important qualities that Somfy realises in buildings. They are The Art of Somfy and the most important of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Read more

Gimme shelter is an overarching, all-embracing fundamental need for people and animals. It means protection, shelter, safety and comfort. Gimme shelter is manifested not only in buildings, schools, hospitals, factories and offices, in mansions and flats, but also in the cardboard box of the homeless person, the embrace of lovers, the mother who cherishes her child.

A selection committee of international photography experts will assess all of the submissions and project proposals to narrow the field down to a shortlist of nine finalists. These finalists will have the opportunity to develop new work on the theme. The works produced will be exhibited in the Van Nelle Factory (a UNESCO World Heritage site) in Rotterdam.

Frits Gierstberg (Nederlands Fotomuseum) is a curator and the chair of the selection committee and jury. The other jury and selection committee members will also be renowned photographers and photography specialists.

After hanging, the work will be assessed by a jury of internationally renowned photography professionals. The winner will be presented with a €15,000 cash prize and the runner-up will receive €5,000. These prizes will be awarded during the private view at the Van Nelle factory.

All shortlisted photographers will be given €2,000 to cover production expenses. Somfy will cover the costs of presenting the photographs for exhibition, for example printing, enlarging and framing costs.


Nominees 2020
Nederlands FotomuseumFred Ernst

Press Releases


Roderik Henderson

Roderik Henderson

Géraldine Jeanjean

Géraldine Jeanjean

Stephan Keppel

Stephan Keppel

Matthieu Litt

Matthieu Litt

Antoinette Nausikaä

Antoinette Nausikaä

Martine Stig

Martine Stig

Dustin Thierry

Dustin Thierry

Maarten Tromp

Maarten Tromp

Jordi Ruiz Cirera

Jordi Ruiz Cirera

Who, what, where and when

Somfy is a publicly listed company with branches in more than sixty countries worldwide. Somfy develops, manufactures, installs, and maintains unique equipment for a range of purposes including light transmission in buildings. This technique is unique and ubiquitous; its effects are obvious but often invisible. To bring it into sharper focus, talented photographers working in Europe were invited to create a photographic portrayal of what Somfy creates, based on their own individual project motivations around the theme of ‘Gimme shelter’. The final deadline for submissions was midnight on
30 September 2019. The submissions were carefully considered and nine of the entrants were selected to participate in the Somfy Photography Award 2020.
(Click here for more information.)


The Somfy Photography Award is an opportunity for professional photographers to create work on a specific subject, based on their own clear and concise project proposals.

Shortlisted participants will have around four months to produce new and unique work based on their individual project motivations, and will be given a €2,000 production budget. The costs of developing, printing and framing the works will also be covered by Somfy.

After hanging, the works produced by the shortlisted photographers will be assessed by an international jury of five renowned photography experts. The judging will take place the day before the private view. The jury will determine the winners of the first and second prizes, which consist of cash prizes of €15,000 and € 5,000 respectively. The winner and runner-up will also be presented with certificates.

The theme of the Somfy Photography Award 2020 is ‘Gimme shelter’.


Arles – France

Launch of the Somfy Photography Award 2020

Launch in Arles

The Somfy Photography Award 2020 was officially kicked off at the international photography festival ‘Les Rencontres d’Arles’ in Arles in the south of France.

Paris – France

Photographers shortlisted to take part in Somfy Photography Award 2020 will be announced at Paris Photo.

Shortlisted photographers announced


The nine photographers shortlisted for participation in the Somfy Photography Award 2020 were announced during Paris Photo in November 2019.

Rotterdam – the Netherlands

The work will be exhibited at the Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam after summer 2020.


The work created by the shortlisted photographers will be exhibited in the Van Nelle Factory (a UNESCO World Heritage site) in Rotterdam from 2 October 2020. The winner and the runner-up will be announced at the private view on 1 October.

Unesco world heritage site

This Rotterdam factory dates back to 1929. It was built according to the principles that Somfy stands for today: Comfort, Well-Being and Sustainability. In 2014 this unique building was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Read more.

Somfy Photography Award 2018

A look back

The first national exhibition for the Somfy Photography Award was held in January and February 2018, on the first floor of the busiest station in the Netherlands, Utrecht Centraal (with >280,000 people passing through each day). It featured work by ten shortlisted photographers on the theme ‘My Space, My Place’.

Jaap Scheeren won the Somfy Photography Award 2018 with his ‘In Memoriam of a Friend’. Second prize went to Thomas Kuijpers with his installation ‘Rehab’. For more information on the 2018 participants, location, selection committee and jury members, click here.

See a video impression below.

Comfort, Well-Being, Sustainability:
The Art of Somfy

It has been shown that people feel happier and more comfortable in buildings that are equipped with Somfy technology. That’s because the technology that Somfy develops and implements in public buildings ensures the comfort of the people who use them, thanks to excellent light and temperature control. Users of these buildings have higher job satisfaction, are more productive, feel healthier, have decreased absenteeism due to illness, and are better able to concentrate. This also has a positive impact on employees, school and university students, patients, travellers, and other people who use these buildings for shorter or longer periods of time.

Overall, this means that Somfy offers comfort, well-being and sustainability. These physical, emotional and mental values ​​are fundamental concepts in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.



Louis Carpano

Somfy’s story started back in 1868 when Louis Carpano, a watchmaker in the French town of Cluses, began producing parts for the watchmaking industry. As a supplier to the Swiss watch industry, he laid the foundations of quality for what was eventually to become Somfy, almost a century later. Quality is the foundation of all Somfy’s products. The development of the business under Carpano’s management points to a combination of innovation and entrepreneurship while the geographical location still determines many of the company’s cultural and social aspects.




Somfy is a leading developer and manufacturer of systems that regulate natural light in buildings – but that’s just one of the company’s activities. The group is also a leader in the field of automating access technology (e.g. automatic doors, gates and windows) and home automation. In addition, it is a leading business in the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which appliances are able to communicate with each other; even entire cities can be automated in this way. These specialised developments and virtually invisible solutions can be summed up as ‘The Art of Somfy’.


About somfy


Somfy is one of the few players in the world that develops, manufactures, constructs, installs and fine-tunes both motors and controls. This makes Somfy’s offering difficult for competitors to replicate, while Somfy’s solutions have demonstrable added value for building users.

Somfy’s technology means that people experience a higher degree of comfort and well-being. Another important benefit is that the use of Somfy technology means a drastic reduction in energy consumption (cooling and/or heating). Somfy is one of the world’s leading companies in this field.