Photograph by Myleen Hollero

Swiss Design Accelerator November 2022

Three design studios participated in the Swiss Design Accelerator this November with the goal of creating international visibility for emerging Swiss designers and building meaningful connections with relevant players from the Bay Area design industry. The Swiss Design Accelerator program is a result of collaboration between the Swiss Art Council, Pro Helvetia, under the label Design Switzerland, and Swissnex in San Francisco.

Swiss design studios Mikafi, Paula Cermeño León, and YVY, participated in the 2022 Swiss Design Accelerator, a collaboration between Swissnex in San Francisco and the Swiss arts council Pro Helvetia. The program ran from November 7-13, 2022, and was held at Swissnex’s space at Pier 17 in San Francisco. The goal of the 7-day program was to introduce the selected Swiss designers to the US market, connect them to key industry experts and create new business opportunities in the Bay Area.

The program included one-on-one pre-program coaching with industry experts to define their goals and understand the US business culture, skill-building workshops to provide them with relevant tools for the US market, as well as dedicated slots for mentoring sessions with local experts and time for the design studios to meet inspiration business partners from the Bay Area.

The design studios also benefited from visibility on the US West Coast through the Design for the Bay event and additional outreach efforts.

Three Swiss Design Studios


Mikafi revolutionizes the way we consume coffee - with coffee, that for the first time ever, can be created and roasted online or in a coffee shop location. The team of five business enthusiasts/engineers/designers built a well-synchronized coffee roasting ecosystem, containing an electric tabletop roasting machine and a digital platform to manage coffee from farm to cup.

The brand's tabletop mini roasting appliance, called MCR 1, allows coffee beans to be roasted on demand, reducing overproduction and waste.

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Photography by Myleen Hollero
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During the Swiss Design Accelerator, we were connected with inspiring people and companies in the Bay Area. From industry experts to partners and potential customers we learned how to build our services for success as well as validated our digital coffee roasting solution for the US market. We were able to build strong relationships and will come back soon to move our business activities in San Francisco forward. – Mikafi

Photograph by Myleen Hollero

Paula Cermeño León

Paula Cermeño León is an industrial designer who showcases the value of plants and biodiversity by developing products and material experimentation, notably in the fields of skincare and well-being. She combines her design skills, which she developed during her studies at ECAL in Switzerland, with expertise from professionals working with plants in Switzerland and Peru. Among Paula’s designs is her Refined Remedies collection of medicinal products for minor wounds and menstrual pain, which are infused with plant extracts and present a contemporary take on herbal remedies.

In collaboration with Peruvian wellbeing brand Misha Rastrera, Paula is currently developing a family of solid clay masks with local clays, oils, and grains, which will be launched in 2023 on the Peruvian market. Moreover, as part of Paula’s academic work, the magazine Biodesigned, in partnership with Cumulus Association, recently published her article called «Retracing the relations between plants and our wellbeing through product design».

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My week in the Bay Area was a lot of fun and very fruitful. I met so many new, interesting and open people, both in the coaching sessions organized by Swissnex, and in meetings with people and companies related to my work. I learned a lot about new approaches towards design, biology, and well-being, and was happy to find a mutual interest with them in regard to product design and sustainability. I am filled with new ideas and leads regarding how to position myself within design and sustainability, and how to grow my design practice. – Paula Cermeño León

The program, the atmosphere of the area and the inspiring people I met during this week will definitely leave an impact on my future strategy. – Yvonne Reichmuth, Founder of YVY

Press Mentions

The design studios were featured in dezeen, 7x7, and the Americas Women Magazine.