UK design consultancies failed to deliver in the Red Dot product design awards 2008. UK groups will take just one Best in Category prize out of a possible 50, and out of 700 prizes overall, they will win 30.
Ron Arad Associates will be named as the sole UK Best of the Best winner, for its Pizza Kobra table lamp, in the annual international awards scheme, which will officially take place in Germany in June. The UK’s performance comes amid a record number of design entries from 51 countries in 2008.
UK entries performed best in the communication category, with Nokia London receiving nine awards for products including its 8800 Arte telephone, its Bluetooth speakers and its BH-903 stereo headset.
According to Red Dot, designers in this category vie to outdo each other with ‘small finesses’. It says the level of quality is consistently high, and that the simpler the design, the more convincing the science. According to a spokesman for Red Dot, contemporary product design has to be ‘aesthetically pleasing and trigger emotions’ to be successful.
British designers, however, are suggesting that function plays a major role, and that simplicity should be key to winning a prize. Adrian Wright, partner at Design Wright, which received an award for its folding colander, says, ‘Our product is created to do a job.
If something is intended for use, designers do not have a free reign on aesthetics.’
Tom Lloyd, co-founder of product design consultancy Pearson Lloyd, which will receive a Red Dot for its ‘soft’ desking system Edge, says, ‘The great challenge of designing furniture is that most of the time we are dealing with archetypes that have existed for millennia – a table is a table is a table. Design within this context is a complex and subtle combination of form and function.’
A total of 3203 entries were received this year, an increase from last year’s 2548. Fifty products were granted the Best of the Best – an accolade for pioneering design and special innovations, in comparison to 43 in 2007.
Tangerine chief executive Martin Darbyshire, who featured on the judging panel alongside Conran & Partners director Sebastian Conran, says, ‘Some of the most phen – omenal designs were those which stripped materials down to the basics, while remaining coherent and attractive.’
The Red Dot awards ceremony takes place on 23 June in the Essen Aalto Theatre – where the Red Dot design team of the year will be announced – and will be complemented by an exhibition running from 24 June to 27 July at the Red Dot Museum in Essen, Germany.
Red Dot also holds awards for communica tion design and design concept.