The Red Dot Design Museum shows Japanese design

The exhibition, entitled “Under the Sign of the Circle”, runs until 19 March 2017 and provides inspiration through almost 100 products, communication works and design concepts by Japanese designers that already won over the critical jury for the Red Dot Award to earn a Red Dot.

From Japanese technology to furniture and tableware

Many of the design products on show are based on technological innovations that stem not least from the strong brands known all over the world. The exhibition features products from manufacturers like Canon, Fujifilm, Mazda, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Yamaha that reflect the technical advancement of the Japanese economy. These global players show how they translate their technological achievements into marketable design solutions known for their well-executed and practical design. This results in cleverly designed products with a high-quality design in the areas of consumer electronics, medicine and life science, vehicles, furniture, lights and tableware.

The invisible chair

One particularly eye-catching piece that is an excellent example of consistent minimalism in line with the design principle “Less is more” is the “Invisible Table” [LINK: Produktgeschichte] by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka . He created the colourless and transparent table with a square tabletop made from a single piece of acrylic glass in an innovative moulding process. The functional premium table is aesthetically pleasing in any space and appears virtually invisible. This obvious effect in a room is what gave the table its name.

The fascinating symbiosis of traditional craft and state-of-the-art technologies demonstrates the apparent opposites in Japanese design. Western influences, too, such as the Bauhaus style are reflected in the language of form of the products and are interwoven with the Japanese style based on the principle of harmony.

Design products from Japan conquer the Ruhr region

There’s a reason why the design products from Japan find their way to the Ruhr region, and in particular to the Zeche Zollverein site. This is the home of the Red Dot Award. The adjudication of the products entered in the design competition takes place in the Ruhr region every year. Experts from all over the world meet for the judging process in order to scrutinise the new and innovative products. The products and communication works are inspected using a strict catalogue of criteria and assessed in line with aspects such as the level of innovation, functionality, longevity or self-explanatory quality. Once those aspects are met, the products receive the Red Dot seal of quality and earn their place in the Red Dot Design Museum in the same way that the Japanese products have earned theirs in the special exhibition. An overview is included in the brochure for the Red Dot Design Museum Essen [PDF link]

Words of praise at the exhibition opening

At the opening of the exhibition with 70 guests, Lord Mayor Thomas Kufen praised Red Dot as a unique connection within the international design scene, referring to the Red Dot Gala that takes place every July in Essen where the big names in the industry converge. Shinsuke Toda, Vice General Consul of the Consulate General of Japan in Düsseldorf, similarly referred in his welcome address to his country’s long design tradition and felt honoured that the exhibition in the Red Dot Design Museum was making a “huge contribution to the amity” of Germany and Japan.

You can also order entry tickets to the Red Dot Design Museum online in the Red Dot Shop in the section “Gift ideas”.

Until 19 March 2017:
“Under the Sign of the Circle: Red Dot awarded Design Innovations from Japan”
Red Dot Design Museum Essen
Zollverein Complex
Areal A [shaft XII], boiler house [A7]
Gelsenkirchener Strasse 181
45309 Essen, Germany


Posted on 14.02.2017

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