When the winners of the Red Dot award for product design were announced last week, an overwhelming number of UK designers were among those celebrating.
There were 26 British-designed products stamped with the prestigious mark, and two products – the Sun tunnel by Ross Lovegrove for Velux, and the Adamo XPS by New Edge and The Brewery for Dell – were honoured with the highest accolade of a Red Dot: Best of the Best award.
The annual awards are run by German-based design institute Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen. Red Dot awards president Peter Zec says, ’The award is well respected internationally because of the judging process. Only independent designers, as well as academics and journalists, can be part of the process, so there’s no conflict of interest.’
This year the judges were looking for ’innovation inside and out’, as well as durability, functionality and ergonomics, says Zec.
Red Dot winner Nigel Newby-House, design director of New Edge and The Brewery, says, ’We wanted to create a new vision of ultra-mobile notebooks for Dell and thought that the brand should be more aggressive with its ambition.’
New Edge and The Brewery used its knowledge of mobile phone technology to develop the 9.9mm-thick mobile notebook in collaboration with Dell’s in-house designers. It hopes that the Adamo XPS will rival the Apple MacBook Air.
Furniture design team Busk & Hertzog, which recently moved from Copenhagen to London, excelled in the living rooms and bedrooms category, winning four awards for products for Danish companies Globe Zero Four and Frost.
Busk & Hertzog designer Stephan Hertzog says, ’ We’ve been working with both companies for a long time, so the work starts with looking at what our clients need in their range and working from there. We are often inspired by seeing shapes in our existing products when looking at them from a different angle.’
Pearson Lloyd’s award-winning office furniture system for Bene was the first collaboration between the companies. The Parcs range consists of moveable furniture units that can be positioned in various configurations to create different working environments.
Pearson Lloyd partner Luke Pearson attributes Parc’s Red Dot success to the current economic and social importance of ’knowledge workers’, who he describes as people that ’interact with each other, rather than stay in front of their desks’.
Pearson says, ’Sales tell you whether a product is successful, but awards like Red Dot see products judged culturally and intellectually.’
The success of combining technical innovation and sleek shapes is also echoed in Design Wright’s Y-Grinder, which won a Red Dot award.
The salt-and-pepper grinder, which was designed for Joseph Joseph, was inspired by a mixer tap, and will become available at the end of the month. Design Wright partner Jeremy Wright says, ’It’s a complicated product with more than 40 components, but all the complexities are hidden inside a simple form.’
This represents Design Wright’s second Red Dot award. Wright says, ’We’ve found that when attracting new business the award really helps. All clients want to produce products that will win a Red Dot.’
The awards ceremony will take place in July at the Aalto theatre in Essen, Germany. It will be followed by an exhibition of the winning products at the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, also in Essen.
Other Red Dot winners from the UK
Hyde – Fredrikson Stallard
Bud cutlery – Robert Welch Designs
Delice – Bodo Sperlein
Mulberry taster spoons – Studio William Welch
Evohome – Shore Design
Guau – El Ultimo Grito
Stadium – Havells Sylvania
Yamagiwa Stem Ray light – Studio Conran
Axis – Gabbertas
AP-1R – Empire Cycles
R5.5 chronograph – Jasper Morrison
3M Versaflo S-655 premium hood – DCA Design International
Safeceps obstertric forceps – PDR
Veloce S315i speaker – Design Partners
Powermonkey-explorer – Marcus Smith Product Design