Until 23 August: exhibition “Enduring, not ultimate form” shows timeless design treasures

Only until 23 August 2015, the Ruhr Museum and the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen, Germany, present the exhibition “Enduring, not ultimate form”. Visitors can experience a journey through “60 years of design history in Essen - from ‘Industrieform’ to Red Dot” in Hall 5 at Zollverein World Heritage Site. Numerous historic photos, documents and exhibits illustrate the development of the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in the past six decades.

Building on the architecture and design tradition in the Ruhr metropolis in the early 20th century, which were influenced by Karl Ernst Osthaus, Georg Metzendorf, Peter Behrens and Edmund Körner, the year 1955 saw the start of a success story “made in Essen”: the annually organised design competition, now the internationally renowned Red Dot Award, was first held and the first “Permanent Show of Elegant Industrial Products” was presented in the “Small House” at Villa Hügel.

With about 60 exhibits - matching perfectly with the number of the jubilee - a reconstruction of the first design show from 1955 is showcased, among others, in the exhibition. A real highlight for car enthusiasts is the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, a unique item which has its roots in racing. Likewise of timeless elegance: the Diamond Chair by Knoll - a wire frame chair which is still successful on the market today thanks to its sculptural form. Already in the early 1950s, Gildemeister proved that machine-tools can be well-shaped, too: “Enduring, not ultimate form” showcases the award-winning turret lathe Gildematic RV 50, which fascinates visitors of all ages.

Besides the historic exhibits, more up to date objects are also on show: “Little Boy” captivates the observer of the poster which was designed by Uwe Loesch on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima’s destruction by the eponymous atomic bomb. About 20 years later, the “Next Generation Scientific Poster” by Konrad Rappaport, which is also presented in the anniversary exhibition, came into being. In an interactive way, it imparts the impact, modes of action and reasons of landslides in the ocean, which are frequent catalysts of tsunamis.

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. This becomes especially apparent in the exhibited design concepts: the “Copenhagen Wheel”, which turns a bicycle in a quick and uncomplicated way into a smart, electric hybrid, or the “Sporty Superheroe” jacket, which increases the visibility of cyclists in darkness thanks to integrated LEDs and thus contributes to safety on the road.

“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
until 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

Regular: 5 Euro
Reduced: 3 Euro

» Ruhr Museum
» Red Dot Design Museum Essen