Revolutionary in every respect: smart and innovative products selected for the Red Dot Award
Revolutionary. That’s the word used to describe the products that emerge as winners from the new metacategories “Smart Products” and “Innovative Products” in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2020. The laureates in both groups have proved that their designs are ground-breaking for entire industries. By exploiting new possibilities, solving existing problems and going beyond the traditional boundaries of design, they shape our future and enhance our quality of life. This outstanding achievement by the laureates of the metacategories is honoured on the last day of Red Dot Design Week.
Progressive yet different
What the award-winning products have in common is their outstanding design quality and progressive approach. And yet there is a clear difference between them: smart products are part of a comprehensive system. Their purpose is determined by collecting and processing data. They also master the complexity of interaction between humans and technology. By contrast, innovative products are characterised by their ground-breaking redesign. This can range from technical refinements and reinvented shapes to the use of original materials as well as whole new types of use. The objects set new standards and lay the foundations for fundamental industry change.
Two-part adjudication process
The introduction of the new metacategories resulted in some new developments for the evaluation process. In the first stage, all of the products registered were assessed by the jurors in a holistic way. Criteria such as aesthetics, functionality, ergonomics, longevity and product peripherals played an important role. During the second stage, the products registered in the new product groups were evaluated in terms of more specific aspects. For smart objects, the emphasis was on interaction design, connectivity and the system as a whole. For innovative designs, on the other hand, the focus of the experts was on the degree of innovation and its execution.
Gordon Bruce, Prof. Dr. Ken Nah and Hideshi Hamaguchi evaluating Apple products
Hideshi Hamaguchi during the jury session
Prof. Axel Thallemer, Wolfgang K. Meyer-Hayoz and Prof. Dr. Yuri Nazarov at the jury session
Robot technology was also tested and evaluated by the experts
A total of 83 of the submitted products received awards for their innovative properties
Interactive and connected: the best smart product
A total of 24 smart products won awards from the jury. Only one of those received the top distinction in the Red Dot Award: Product Design, and that was the iPhone 11 Pro from Apple. The smartphone features advanced technologies that have won over not only the Red Dot Jury but also consumers around the world. Fitted with a powerful A13 Bionic chip that has a special 64-bit fusion architecture, the device can complete complex tasks quickly and efficiently. Its energy consumption is nevertheless astonishingly low, as the refined graphics processing unit contributes to extended battery life. The new triple-camera system is also wholly convincing. Whether shooting slow-motion selfie videos, 4K videos or zooming in on low-light shots, the new 12MP True Depth camera guarantees excellent results. In addition, the Smart HDR function uses machine learning for face recognition and intelligent relighting.
Entirely reimagined: the best innovative products
A total of 83 products were awarded for their innovative features in 2020. Six of them received a Red Dot: Best of the Best, and Apple was represented three times in total – with the Mac Pro, the Pro Display XDR and the AirPods Pro. The US firm has thus emerged from the competition as an absolute innovation pioneer. The Mac Pro computer integrates an extraordinary level of power in a removable aluminium housing and a special space frame. It offers discerning users a whole new way of working. The attached Apple display also won over the jury: “The innovative Pro Display XDR with its 31-inch Retina 6K display offers ultra-sharp, detailed images with a remarkable resolution of 218 ppi. The efficient backlight control using advanced LED technology, light shaping and intelligent image processing ensures true-to-life imagery. Its design with the visually striking lattice pattern on the rear and the elegant base is a perfect combination of technology, form and functionality.” Apple’s AirPods Pro likewise won over the jury with their active noise cancellation, high-quality immersive sound and customisable fit.
Other recipients of the competition’s top distinction include the multifunctional fence “Smart Fence”, manufactured by AITAA system and designed by Ondřej Tichý. It comprises large-scale modules equipped with tilting elements. They can be repurposed into tables, benches or plant pots as needed. The “minileiste” finishing strip from ENGELTECH is another helpful product for the home. The strip allows for a smart transition between floors and walls using a patented clip-in system. By contrast, transport robot “gita” from Piaggio Fast Forward is primarily used on the go rather than at home. It can carry loads of up to 20 kg and follows its user everywhere. It is operated using just two buttons.
Smart and innovative products in the online exhibition
Red Dot’s online exhibition presents all of this year’s winners. Design fans can find out more about smart products and innovative designs as well as about the award winners in the other 49 categories. They cover the entire range from robot technology to kitchen appliances and vehicles as well as medical technology. Detailed descriptions, juror comments and high-quality images are used to highlight the outstanding design quality of the objects. The presentation thus provides an overview of the current status of and trends in product design.