Chinese design visits the Red Dot Design Museum: new exhibition open

The special exhibition “China Good Design: New Asian Moods and Award-Winning Products” opened to a full house on the evening of 3 May 2018. For the first time, until 3 June the exhibition will put products on show in Germany that won awards in the competition “China Good Design” in the past three years. The roughly 90 exhibits stem from a wide variety of different areas of life, giving an exciting and interesting insight into the state-of-the-art of Chinese product culture. The guests included some of the winners in the competition “China Good Design” – for example German designer Dirk Schumann, who won an award for Chinese firm Jomoo Kitchen & Bath in 2017 as Gold Winner with his “Sailing Urinal”.

“Chinese design achievements can compete at an international level”
“This is likely the first time that Chinese products of such high quality are on show in Germany”, says host Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Design Award, in his introductory comments, highlighting the significance of the exhibition. “The products presented are a clear indication that Chinese design achievements can now compete at an international level. They have a truly original, contemporary design.” Not least, he says, this assures their selection in the competition “China Good Design”: “This competition is free from external influences. It is a competition for industry by industry, where the quality of the products is the only criterion for winning an award. It is also a strong label that offers guidance to consumers and companies alike.” 

“The significance of design in China has undergone a transformation never seen before”
Chinese Vice Consul General in Düsseldorf, Lili Tao, also attended the vernissage and expressed her delight at the cooperation between Red Dot and the Xiamen Culture Media Group, which resulted in the establishment of the competition “China Good Design” in 2015. She said that Red Dot sets international standards in the assessment of outstanding industrial design. “Industrial design does not yet have a long history in China, but thanks to the economic upswing in recent years, the significance of design has undergone a transformation never seen before – more and more companies are recognising that industrial design is the point of departure for the innovation chain and the source of added value.” Also, she said, design is a key component of the “Made in China” policy that is to come into effect in 2025, which is why it is important to promote international competitiveness – helped along by a competition like China Good Design. 

In her welcome speech, Xu Huan, Vice General Manager of the Xiamen Culture Media Group, thanked Professor Dr. Zec and Red Dot for the good and close cooperation since 2012 and concluded by once again emphasising the significance of the competition for Chinese and international companies alike. “In the past year alone, designers and companies from 20 countries submitted more than 6,000 products in the hope of winning an award. We are delighted that the winners are now going on tour. The presentation in the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen is a wonderful way to start. After that, we are looking forward to exhibitions in Italy, Spain and Malta.” 

Products on the interface between Far Eastern and Western culture
What is special about the exhibits that visitors were able to experience in the exhibition after the official welcome speeches is that they straddle Asian design traditions on the one hand and the need for product internationalisation on the other. They build a bridge between the cultures of the Far East and the West, between traditional design influences and the latest technologies. This gives them their very own special charm.

For example, the exhibition shows some products made of bamboo. Grass is one of the world’s fastest-regrowing raw materials. Its properties as a material are also impressive: it is light and hard yet particularly flexible and sturdy. It absorbs vibrations and last but not least it is entirely natural and very sustainable. This is precisely why it has been appreciated in Asian architecture and product culture for centuries and is now making a comeback. Bamboo is suited as a building material for the construction industry as well as for the production of light pieces of furniture. Even spectacles and bicycles are nowadays made using this wood-like grass.

China and the world
Many design products on show in this exhibition are the result of international collaboration. For decades, China was viewed as a mere extended workbench for the Western world, but it has now itself progressed to being a big player on the global market. And it is no great surprise, as the economy is growing rapidly and the sales market for products and consumer goods is already huge even within its own borders. This is what makes the Chinese market so attractive for domestic and foreign companies alike. Anywhere that more and more products compete to find favour with consumers, these have to set themselves apart from each other and garner attention. Consequently, Chinese manufacturers are getting Western designers on board to develop products with high design quality. At the same time, Western firms are collaborating with Chinese designers to be closer to the Asian market. One example is French company Lexon, which founded a representative office in China in 2009 and works together with local designers.

Experience Chinese design
Over the past two decades, China has demonstrated impressively that intensive production goes hand in hand with a growing awareness of design. The country has long since moved away from being a mere production location. It is also the site of design innovations and good industrial design. Visitors to the exhibition “China Good Design: New Asian Moods and Award-Winning Products” can see award-winning examples until 3 June.

“China Good Design: New Asian Moods and Award-Winning Products”
Until 3 June 2018
Red Dot Design Museum Essen
Welterbe Zollverein
Areal A [Schacht XII], Kesselhaus [A7]
Gelsenkirchener Straße 181
45309 Essen

» Further information on the Red Dot Design Museum
» Photo gallery of the exhibition opening on Facebook