Ruhr Museum and Red Dot Design Museum present exhibition on the history of the Design Zentrum NRW

From 29 June until 23 August 2015, the Red Dot Design Museum and the Ruhr Museum in Essen, Germany, present the exhibition “Enduring, not ultimate form”. It tells “60 years of design history in Essen - from ‘Industrieform’ to Red Dot” in Hall 5 at Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site. The exhibition presents current and historical exhibits, reconstructs elements of past presentations, and documents eyewitness accounts alongside posters and photographs from 60 years of design history. The patron of the exhibition is the President of the German Bundestag, Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert.

This year, Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, which was founded as organisation “Industrieform”, is taking stock of its 60-year history. The aim was to set up a “Permanent Show of Elegant Industrial Products”. It was opened at Villa Hügel in 1955, and went on to contribute to an appreciation of aesthetics and to the modern-day understanding of design culture. It was also in 1955 that the annually organised design competition, now the internationally renowned Red Dot Award, was first held. As is still customary today, the award-winning products were shown in a permanent exhibition. The exhibition “Enduring, not ultimate form” reconstructs this first presentation at Villa Hügel, showing a large number of the original exhibits from that exposition, including the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.

The joint exhibition by Ruhr Museum and Red Dot Design Museum Essen tells the rich history of Design Zentrum NRW. Building on the initiatives for art in the industrial area of the Ruhr region and the City of Essen, which were influenced by the Folkwang idea of Karl Ernst Osthaus, the designs for the Margarethenhöhe garden city and artist colony by Georg Metzendorf and the overall architectural concept for Zollverein by Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer, the 1950s saw the foundations laid for today’s Design Zentrum.

Using photos and exhibits, the exhibition recounts the journey of the former Haus Industrieform from Villa Hügel to the Red Dot Design Museum in the boiler house converted by Sir Norman Foster at Zollverein World Heritage Site. Since 1997, with about 2,000 exhibits, it houses the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design. A second part of the exhibition documents the history of the exhibitions and competitions of Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen as well as the development of its corporate design in collaboration with leading photographers and graphic designers, thus demonstrating the international importance of Red Dot in today’s design world.

The title of the exhibition “Enduring, not ultimate form” is a quote by journalist Clara Menck that stems from the time of the first Industrieform exhibition. It describes design as a permanent task to optimise the environment created by us and thus to secure our existence going forward.

“Enduring, not ultimate form”: 60 years of design history in Essen - from “Industrieform” to Red Dot
A joint exhibition by Ruhr Museum and Red Dot Design Museum Essen

Exhibition duration
29 June - 23 August 2015

Opening hours
Mon - Sun: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Exhibition location
Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site
Areal A [Schacht/Shaft XII], Hall 5 [A5]
Gelsenkirchener Straße 181
45309 Essen Germany

Regular: 5 Euro
Reduced: 3 Euro

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