Red Dot Award

The Form of Simplicity

Exhibition “The Form of Simplicity”: 100,000 visitors discovered the principle of simplicity

In the age of digitization, characterised by complex products, simplicity is more important than ever. To convey the advantages of this design principle, Red Dot presented the exhibition “The Form of Simplicity. Good Design for a better Quality of Life” in the China International Exhibition Centre in Beijing from 27 to 30 September 2018. More than 25,000 visitors per day discovered products that are characterised by easy handling, clean aesthetics and unprecedented functionality.

Exhibits illustrated development of the principle of simplicity

The exhibition comprised about 160 years of design history: the historic anchor point was the Chair No. 14, designed by Michael Thonet, also known as “bistro or Viennese café-style chair”. Consisting of only six wooden parts, ten screws and two nuts, the distinctive look of the curved wooden strips became the pioneer of modern functionalism. Far more modern was Artemide’s Tolomeo lamp. With its conical lampshade, the lighting icon puts the user experience in the centre without sacrificing a clear design idiom.

Between Thonet and Artemide, visitors to the exhibition got to know a wide spectrum of products – from vintage to modern. They all have one thing in common: they demonstrate how designers encountered the increasingly complex environment with simplicity over time. By comparing products of the same type, visitors discovered the differences between historical and modern pieces and between handcrafted and industrially made products. One thing stood out in particular: the dispensing with decorative embellishments and the associated simplified design idiom do not translate into reduced quality or comfort. True to the motto “Less, but better”, they constitute an enrichment, thus making a vital contribution to improving quality of life.

Classics aroused interest of visitors in particular

“The classic products, like the Thonet-chair, Artemide’s Tolomeo or Apple’s iPhone aroused the interest of the visitors notably. Their explicit design idiom, unique functionality and easy handling make up their cult status. Thanks to their well-balanced design, they always remain relevant,” describes Professor Dr. Peter Zec his impressions. “I hope the visitors enjoyed the exhibition as much as I did,” concludes the CEO of the Red Dot Award.

Publication for the exhibition

The exhibition “The Form of Simplicity. Good Design for a better Quality of Life“ is accompanied by a publication with the same name (ISBN 978-3-89939-210-4), published in the Red Dot Edition. The book is available online in the Red Dot Shop. It was written by Professor Dr. Peter Zec and Burkhard Jacob, Managing Director of the Red Dot Institute.

The exhibition and publication are realised on behalf of Beijing Easyhome Investment Holding Group Co. Ltd., Beijing, by Red Dot Projects Pte. Ltd, Singapore.