New work on the shelves: red dot design concept yearbook 2011/2012

Have you ever thought it might be possible some day to ‘print’ a house using rapid prototyping? Ever conceived of farming crickets in the city to create a source of food? How about a car park ticket that tells you where the nearest empty bay is?

For a number of years I’ve undertaken copyediting for the red dot design concept yearbook. This year’s edition is now on sale, and as always it contains a huge array of concepts for products that have the potential to dramatically change the ways in which we live.

In the book’s 348 pages are concepts for products ranging from robots to showerheads to cooking implements to safety devices to communication tools, and many more besides. Notable in this edition is the number of concepts that address disaster and emergency situations – no doubt a direct response to recent events across the globe.

This year’s competition contained the largest number of entries yet: 3,536 of them from 54 countries. 295 awards were given to professional designers and students – also the largest number to date.

Some concepts that have stuck in my mind (accompanied by a few snaps from the book) are:

Microbial Home by Philips Design (the Netherlands) – winner of the ‘red dot: luminary’ award (the highest accolade in the competition).

Microbial Home is a domestic ecosystem that challenges conventional design solutions to energy, cleaning, food preservation, lighting, human waste, and healthy lifestyles.” It consists of an evaporative-cooling larder built into a dining table; a bio-digester island that converts vegetable scraps and solid bathroom waste into methane gas, which in turn is used for powering a range of home functions; a bio-light that uses bioluminescent bacteria fed with methane and compost; and an effluent-filtering squatting toilet that feeds a methane digester.

Potável by Saltuk Karayalcin (Turkey) – winner of a ‘red dot: best of the best’ award.

Potável is a motion-enabled water purification device for developing countries. It purifies unsafe water collected from a water source two or more miles away. Its purification system kills bacteria, viruses, and algae while it is pushed or pulled home.”

Daylight by Felix Wilden (Germany) – winner of a ‘red dot award’.

Daylight is a lighting system that consists of “reflecting lamellae (plates) mounted on the façade of a building and reflecting devices in the room.” The aim is to reflect daylight but not direct sunlight. The external aluminium reflecting plates stream daylight through windows to the interior reflecting devices, which can be adjusted individually.

The red dot design concept yearbook 2011/2012 is available for purchase at the red dot design museum shop (at red dot traffic, Maxwell Road, Singapore). Read more about the competition at the red dot design concept website.

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