From September 27 – 30, 2018, Red Dot Projects Singapore presents a new exhibition in China: “The Value of Simplicity – Good Design for a better Quality of Life” will be on show in the course of the exhibition and trade fair “2018 Beijing International Home Decoration and Smart Home Exhibition & International Design Expo” (BIHD 2018). Visitors to the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing can look forward to around 250 exhibits, among them furniture, writing instruments and consumer electronics, which illustrate the principle of simplicity in design and demonstrate the differences between historicism and modernity, craftsmanship and industry.
Good design becomes apparent in easy usage
The Red Dot Award is one of the largest design competitions in the world. Its distinction, the Red Dot, is an internationally accepted and coveted seal for good design quality. At the end of September, a broad audience can experience the Red Dot winners’ achievements at first hand in Beijing. Cutlery, luminaires, bikes and much more – within the framework of the exhibition “The Value of Simplicity”, visitors can discover current and historic products from various fields of everyday life. They are even invited to touch and test some of them, as good design quality becomes especially apparent in use. Thereby, products which are easy to operate and feature a comfortable handling are especially persuasive.
Less is more
In order to achieve this, designers around the globe still follow the guiding principle “less is more”. It expresses an aesthetic approach that dispenses with decorative embellishments of historicism and favours a simple language of form. It became the epitome of modernity. But simplicity does not simultaneously mean loss of quality or comfort. Quite the contrary: The reduction of complexity allows to integrate complicated things, which permanently surround people, in daily life in a simple way. This way, they are a reasonable asset and increase the quality of life. Thus, simplicity describes a paradigm shift as well as an aesthetic principle and stands for the new comfort of the modern, contemporary society.
Simplicity as formula for success
These developments are linked closely to the technical upheavals of the Industrial Revolution. They led to the manufacture of goods in series production and had a formative influence on their design. In the exhibition “The Value of Simplicity”, the Thonet chair No. 14 from 1859 illustrates the impact of technology on the design of products: known as Vienna Café chair, its reduced lines result from the restrictions of the bending technology for wood, of which it is made. This reduced form became a role model of modern functionalism. In further consequence, products with outstanding properties relating to use, simple operability, streamlined functionality and suitable usage of materials became prime examples and real design classics.
Against the background of increasingly complex technical innovations and progressing digitisation, the principle of simplicity and the reduction to the essential play an important role. In a world in which the border between analogue and digital, between human and machine blurs more and more, and in which technology has become an integral element of life, applying the principle of simplicity allows to cope with the new living conditions.
How design reacts to the challenges of technology is among others illustrated in the exhibition by using the example of TVs, which have changed from a three-dimensional object in the room with two-dimensional image to a two-dimensional object mounted on the wall with a three-dimensional image. While the products look simpler today, the effort is proportionally higher for the designers as they design more than just a shell for the technology inside. They also create the point of intersection – among others in the form of apps and interfaces. By radically simplifying products and processes, they put technical progress into a significant form.
A likewise lasting influence on our life had the iPhone which was introduced on the market in 2007 and which is also exhibited. It revolutionised our communication and had a formative influence on our understanding of a mobile phone’s aesthetic with only one single button. In direct contrast to older mobile phones, it becomes apparent that simplicity must not be seen as the opposite of complexity, but rather as its elaborate design. Apple’s iPhone, Dyson’s fan or Sony’s Walkman – with high quality and innovative power, designers create simple answers to everyday problems and thus contribute to increasing the quality of life worldwide.
Beijing Easyhome Investment Holdings Group Co., Ltd has commissioned Red Dot Projects Singapore to plan and realise the exhibition “The Value of Simplicity – Good Design for a better Quality of Life” together with the Red Dot Institute.
Publication for the exhibition
On the occasion of the exhibition “The Value of Simplicity – Good Design for a better Quality of Life”, the eponymous publication (ISBN 978-3-89939-210-4) will be released in the Red Dot Edition on September 27, 2018. The book will be published in English and in Chinese, and will be available online in the Red Dot Shop. It is edited by Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award, and Burkhard Jacob, Managing Director of the Red Dot Institute.
The venue is scheduled for September 27 – 30, 2018: “The Value of Simplicity – Good Design for a better Quality of Life” Exhibition in the course of the Beijing International Home Decoration and Smart Home Exhibition & International Design Expo 2018, China International Exhibition Center (CIEC) No. 6, Bei-San-Huan East Road Beijing, China