Red Dot Design Museum Essen ranks among top 8 design museums in the world
“There are many museums. But only a few are explicitly dedicated to design,” introduces “NZZ Bellevue” its latest article on “The 8 best design museums in the world”. The Red Dot Design Museum ranks among them, according to the Swiss web portal, which is run by the editorial office of “Stil” (“Style”) magazine from “NZZ am Sonntag” (“Sunday New Zurich Newspaper”). It is in good company – with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Design Museum Danmark in Copenhagen or the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. The Red Dot Design Museum Essen, which is located on the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site, shows exclusively Red Dot prize-winning products. In its permanent exhibition or as part of special exhibitions, they are staged impressively before the historic industrial backdrop.
World’s largest exhibition of contemporary design
In the shut down coal mine’s former boiler, which was rebuilt by star architect Lord Norman Foster in 1996, today around 150,000 visitors per year experience contemporary top design. On 4,000 square meters which spread over several floors of the imposing building, the Red Dot Design Museum showcases more than 2,000 exhibits. Thus, the objects originating from around 45 countries do not only cover the entire range of current product design, but also constitute the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design.
A museum at the fingertips
What makes the Red Dot Design Museum so special is its hands-on exhibition. In order to equip visitors with knowledge about the outstanding and award-winning quality of the exhibits, they can touch and test many of the objects. Moreover, since 2018, the museum’s team brings the “product of the month” into the focus. It already exhibited the “Tundra” drone, the “Ribbon” radiator and the “MTOsport” autogyro at an exposed place. In February, the “Acustica” wristwatch is the product of the month, chosen by Jana Zec, Vice President of Red Dot.
She explained her decision as follows: “The watchmaking industry often markets watches as status symbols – generally, its focus is not on people with disabilities. This makes Acustica all the more remarkable, as a watch developed specifically for people with eyesight and hearing problems that looks fantastic, can be used intuitively and also very discreetly thanks to the vibration mode. It means that this watch is free of any stigmatising elements, giving these people back some quality of life.”
Design in the age of big data
Besides individual products, the Red Dot Design Museum also attracts attention to special topics. At the moment, it presents the exhibition “Design in the Age of Big Data”. Using innovative Red Dot award-winning products as examples, it illustrates the impact of digitisation on the products we use and the lives we lead. Among others, visitors experience scanners, fitness trackers, medical devices, robots and drones which were awarded a prize by the expert jury of the Red Dot Award: Product Design thanks to their convincing design quality. Still until 3 March 2019, the special exhibition helps visitors to understand the complex interplay between humans, technology and data flows in the era of big data, how they affect each other mutually and what the consequences are for the design of intelligent products.
Inspiring communication design from North Rhine-Westphalia and around the globe
In some of its exhibitions, the Red Dot Design Museum also focuses on winners from individual regions and countries. For example, from 15 March 2019, the exhibition “Creative Exchange” presents the current top achievements of the international communication design scene, highlighting especially creative works from the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the home of the Red Dot Design Museum Essen. All of the exhibited projects were successful in the Red Dot Award: Communication Design.
Red Dot Design Museums in Singapore and Xiamen
In addition to the headquarter in Essen, Germany, the Red Dot Design Museum is also domiciled in Singapore since 2005, in an equally extraordinary location: Visitors can look at the exhibition in the glass building at Marina Bay in the south of the city. The iconic building features several galleries and shows an exhibition of more than 345 futuristic concepts which won a prize in the Red Dot Award: Design Concept.
Since 2018, another exhibition space can be found in the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen. This Red Dot Design Museum shows prize-winning designs from all three competitions of the Red Dot Award in the rebuilt Terminal 2 of Xiamen Gaoqi Airport. On over 10,000 square meters, the co-working space “Space”, a design school and a design library are also included.
Besides the permanent venues, presentations in metropolises around the world add to the exhibition activities of Red Dot. This way, the design competition goes on journeys, carrying awarded projects around the globe.