Exhibition at Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart from 22 September to 28 January 2022

Three decades ago, the world of products was very different. Back then, a mobile phone with enough storage space for 60 numbers, an illuminated keypad and compact dimensions was at the forefront in terms of technology and design. That, at any rate, is how the jury of the first Baden-Württemberg International Design Award saw it: reason enough to present Motorola’s Micro T.A.C. with what, at the time, was a brand new design award. In 1991, the Design Center in Stuttgart only inducted five products into its hall of fame.

In the 30 years since, the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award has established itself as a constant in the state’s economy and has been held under the succinct Focus Open label for many years now. The Design Center Baden-Württemberg is celebrating this anniversary with a retrospective exhibition that brings together and showcases original prize-winning products from all phases of the competition’s history. Besides the above-mentioned cell phone, there are various other things that have long since been erased from memory among the exhibits. Because it’s not just technology that evolves; our aesthetic preferences change as well – which is why the exhibition at the Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart promises to be a journey back in time too.

The initial spark that led to the founding of the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award came in 1988 from Lothar Späth, who was Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg at the time and a keen promoter of economic development. That put him on the same wavelength as the Design Center, whose intrinsic task has always been to convince companies that design’s impact is a highly relevant factor when it comes to competitiveness. Design helps to improve products and differentiate them in the marketplace, thereby promoting a company’s commercial success. In addition to famous names like Kärcher, Festo, Bosch, Hansgrohe, Wiha and Recaro, the examples from Baden-Württemberg also include numerous SMEs – the firms that make up the backbone of the state’s economy.

Judged by an independent jury of six experts, the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award remains a showcase of current design. This year too, the award – nowadays more widely known as Focus Open – presents numerous design benchmarks. And from 9 October, the latest winning products will be on show at the MIK (Museum – Information - Art) in Ludwigsburg. Besides furniture and lighting, they also include products for professional use, exhibition concepts and materials that aim to set new standards in terms of sustainability. For further information about the exhibition, click here.


Exhibition from 22 September to 28 January 2022

Haus der Wirtschaft
Willi-Bleicher-Str. 19
70174 Stuttgart

Opening times: Mondays to Fridays from 11:00 – 18:00
Admission is free