Red Dot Award: Product Design

Design in the Age of Big Data

“Design in the Age of Big Data”: in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen until 2 June

For more than 60 years, the Red Dot Award: Product Design has been offering designers and manufacturers from all over the world a platform for the evaluation of their products. If they are awarded a prize, they profit from increased attention and exclusive opportunities for the communication of their success. One of the so-called “Winners’ Benefits” is the presentation of the awarded objects in exhibitions around the globe. Thus, “Design in the Age of Big Data” shows winning products that illustrate the effects of digitisation on our living environment in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen until 2 June.

Challenge and chance at the same time: big data

Today, the digitisation affects almost every area of life. Accordingly, the design of products also changes. On the one hand, this transformation represents a big challenge for designers. On the other hand, it is a chance to create new things and to further increase our quality of life. Nowadays, products do not only stand for themselves, but are frequently part of a holistic, data processing system. Designers see it as their task to manage the communication between humans and products and between systems. Although the objects are becoming more complex, they succeed in hiding this and in simplifying the users’ every day life with intuitive, easy handling and with restrained, plain concepts.

“Collecting Data” – sensors all over

The exhibition “Design in the Age of Big Data” takes up this play between complexity and simplicity. It is divided into the three parts “Collecting Data”, “Processing Data” and “Experiencing. The first one presents products, for example fitness trackers or smart watches, that capture and save data with the help of sensors. What seems frightening at first sight, foremost serves the aim of making our life safer and more comfortable. The reasonable use of sensor technology and its constant development are questions that designers respond to with sophisticated ideas.

“Processing Data” – the black box

Whether processing power, algorithms, data clouds or neuronal networks – in the area “Processing Data”, visitors literally find themselves in a black box. It represents what happens in the inner of the products and what cannot directly be seen by humans – short: big data. The more intelligent and connected the products are, the more processes take place covertly.

“Experiencing” – discovering intelligent products

How does the current status of robotics look like? Which drones were awarded a prize in the Red Dot Award? How do designers succeed in merging reality and the virtual world with the help of augmented reality? Answers to all these questions gives the area “Experiencing”, in which visitors get to know intelligent products and discover at first hand how the digitisation affects our living environment. Thereby, touching and testing these objects and many other exhibits is allowed.

“Homo Ex Data” – a new type of human being

The exhibition concept is based on the article “Homo Ex Data” by Red Dot CEO Professor Dr. Peter Zec, in which he thematises the complex relationship between humans, technology and data streams. He concludes: “After the Homo sapiens and the Homo faber, a new type of human being evolves, the Homo ex data, whose living conditions are determined by the generation and the transfer of data.”

Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019

The change of the product design discipline that goes along with digitisation is far from being completed. This is why consumers can be curious with which solutions designers meet the new challenges. The winners of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019 will give first hints on this.

Designers and companies only have until 1 February to register their intelligent and well-designed products for the competition. Therefore, they can choose between 48 different categories – from “Robotics” to “TV and home entertainment” to “Industrial equipment, machinery and automation”. Apart from showcasing the award-winning products in worldwide exhibitions, the “Winners’ Benefits” comprise the use of the internationally renowned Red Dot Winner Label as well as the presentation of the objects in the Red Dot Design Yearbook, online and in the Red Dot App.