Red Dot Design Award

“He was the grand seigneur of German design” – Obituary Rido Busse

Red Dot in deep grief over the death of companion Rido Busse

Professor Rido Busse founded one of Germany’s oldest and most successful design companies and understood like no other how to combine design work with engineering performance. As a long-time companion and friend of Red Dot, he helped shape the development of the competition. On 12 February 2021, the designer passed away at the age of 86.

Red Dot CEO Prof. Dr. Peter Zec about Rido Busse

“Rido Busse was a mentor, accomplice, comrade and a very special friend to me. Right after I took over the management at the VDID, he invited me to one of his legendary ‘star tables’. He was not only the owner of one of the largest and most successful design offices in Germany, but he also knew how to win people over for himself and his projects. In doing so, he always radiated a very special kind of joie de vivre and had an exceptionally high level of self-confidence,” Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot, says about Rido Busse. “For me, he was the grand seigneur of German design, who kept both feet firmly on the ground. A very special person who could not only always tell the latest joke, but also kept an overview and whom no situation could really surprise or present with a problem,” Zec continues.

Strong link between design and engineering performance

In 1959, Rido Busse founded the company “busse design ulm”, which worked for renowned companies such as AEG, Braun, Osram, Pelikan, Siemens, Stihl and Vaillant. The Krups mixing bowl, the Telekom telephone box and the Dr. Best toothbrush are just a few prime examples that were created under the designer’s leadership. They are all united by the strong connection between first-class design and technical penetration. Rido Busse headed the company until 1999 and subsequently supported the new management in an advisory function.

Advocate of good design

Not only his work as a designer, but numerous other projects confirmed his incomparable competence and his passion for the design discipline: After Rido Busse discovered a plagiarism of a product, that he had developed, at the Frankfurt Spring Fair, he initiated the “Plagiarius” in 1977, a negative prize, which has been awarded to imitations at the “Ambiente” fair every year since then. In the museum of the same name in Solingen, these are presented together with the original product in an extraordinary permanent exhibition. The declared aim is to inform the public and the legislator about the extent, damage and dangers of counterfeits. In 1978, Busse established the “Busse Longlife Design Award”, a competition that honours particularly long-lasting products and their potential.

For this commitment, Prof. Rido Busse received the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon on 4 December 2010. In his laudation, the then Minister of Justice of Baden-Württemberg, Prof. Ulrich Goll, stated: “There is probably no household in Germany that has not come into contact with a product designed by you over the years.”

Successful participation in the Red Dot Design Award

In the Red Dot Design Award, Rido Busse was honoured countless times for his outstanding design achievements. In 1986, for example, the STIHL petrol chainsaw received no less than four awards in the competition from Essen, Germany. In 1991, the knife sharpener “TWIN SHARP” by J.A. HENCKELS ZWILLINGSWERK was awarded a prize. This was followed by further successes with products of all kinds - from the G 3 head loupe by Carl Zeiss to the MA 450 cordless lawn mower by VIKING and the Flexi® Form silicone baking mould series by Lurch.

Even beyond participation in the competition, there was a close connection between Rido Busse and Red Dot. The management and the entire team appreciated the designer for his continuous support and friendly, appreciative interaction. With him, the German design industry loses a true icon. Red Dot mourns Rido Busse and will remember him as an open-hearted companion with a strong character.