The Red Dot awards are a prestigious, internationally recognized symbol of product and prototype design excellence. A panel of judges from a number of design disciplines is tasked with reviewing tens of thousands of product ideas relating to transportation, housing, energy, education, public spaces, lighting and many more. To receive a Red Dot award is to be acknowledged as among in the best in your field, and is a big step towards taking an idea and turning into an icon.
Here we want to celebrate some of the most recent award winners of 2014, focusing on those coming from Chinese universities and design institutions. China has a bad rap for copying and forgery, but these prototypes show that a new generation of Asian designers is on the right track.
This is a planter, designed to connect to other planters in an infinitely scalable “green wall”.
There’s a shared water supply and the ability to harvest solar power. From National Yunlin University of Science and Technology.
A lot of us don’t love the idea of putting drops in our eyes. This creative packaging idea not only looks neat and tidy, but it also provides a base to help hold the dispenser to the eye for an easy, safe application. Like many great designs, simple is better. From Tianjin University of Science and Technology, this is a Best of the Best design winner.
In the category of “Why didn’t I think of that”, we have this entry from the Dalian Nationalities University, School of Design. A perfect example of an idea so obvious that it should have been done long ago. This stepladder incorporates a tool box at the top step, to make so many household chores both easier and safer.
If you live in China, you know that one of the traditional sporting activities for both young and old is to kick around a weighted feather, or shuttlecock. This is good for balance, coordination and overall fitness, but it’s a little bit dated in the modern world. This lovely design takes the same idea but kicks it into the 21st Century. Using a Bluetooth module and onboard sensors, it keeps track of various fitness levels and saves them to a computer, helping this ancient activity to stay relevant and fun for the next generation. From Chinno Industrial Design Company.
Finally, here’s another useful design that’s all about taking care of business in an emergency. Designed to be placed near bodies of water, where drowning is a real possibility, this life saving blanket not only keeps a person warm but also has easily understood graphical instructions for how to administer first-aid. In such a situation, you can’t be bothered to read complex instructions, but this makes the necessary actions clear and simple.
What we can clearly see with all these examples is that good designs have clean lines, good proportion and avoid over-complication. They meet an immediate need in a user-friendly package that will stay relevant for a long time. They also show that Chinese designers, like their counterparts elsewhere, are making use of the technologies of today to expand their design vocabularies and are working hard to become the best in the world. Let us know what you think, or nominate your own favorites from the red dot website.