Focus Open 2015
Baden-Württemberg International Design Award
The Baden-Württemberg International Design Award has been a permanent feature of the competition scene in Germany and abroad for many years now. Known under the label “Focus Open”, it is held in high esteem by companies and design agencies alike. Because of its non-commercial orientation, the contest fulfils its mandate to promote design and enables even the smallest companies to take part. Every year, manufacturers and design agencies from all over the world submit their most innovative product and concept solutions and enter the competition for outstanding and forward-thinking design. For the prize-winners and those honoured with distinctions, the “Focus Gold”, “Focus Silver” and “Focus Special Mention” awards constitute an effective tool for strengthening their brand, both in terms of its external impact on the market and within the winning companies and agencies themselves.
Participants and awards
This year’s “Focus Open” jury evaluated more than 200 entries in a wide range of different categories. The product innovations came from Japan, the USA, Great Britain, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France and of course Germany. The jury selected a total of 64 prize-winners from amongst all the entries submitted. The premium award “Focus Gold” for outstanding design went to 10 products. 24 products were presented with the “Focus Silver” for above-average design achievements, whilst 30 products received the “Focus Special Mention” for innovative design achievements.
Participants could allocate their entries to the following categories:
• Production, assembly, logistics
• Medicine, rehabilitation, geriatric medicine
• Bathrooms, sanitaryware, wellness
• Kitchen, household
• Tableware and kitchenware
• Home interiors
• Contract interiors
• Ambience, lifestyle
• Communication, audio, video, optical equipment
• Leisure, outdoor
• Children, family
• Public design
• Transport, traffic
• Design studies
A fair jury, a fair assessment
One special feature of the Focus Open competition is that no pre-selection of the entries is made prior to the judging. Every single product submitted was presented to the jury. In order to ensure a fair evaluation, the jurors agree not to submit any products whose devel-opment they were involved with. Almost without exception, the assessment of the entries was conducted on the basis of the original product. The judging process comprised several rounds and, this year too, resulted in some lively discussions.
The jury line-up and its combined experience from a wide range of different sectors and product categories helped ensure fair and competent assessments from a variety of very different perspectives.
The entries were evaluated by the following experts in the course of a two-day judging session:
• Christiane Bausback, N+P Industrial Design GmbH, DE
• Jan Eickhoff, corporate friend, DE
• Markus Waldmann, KISKA GmbH, AT
• Linda Krapf, Stadtnomaden GmbH, DE
• Torsten Neeland, Industrial and Interior Design, GB
• Jürgen Hinderhofer, SLOGDESIGN, Büro für Gestaltung, DE
The jurors based their assessment on the following design criteria:
design quality, functionality, innovativeness, ergonomics, interface design, product typog-raphy, ecology, sustainability, perceived value, look and feel, emotionality, brand fit.
A valuable distinction for the prize-winners
Thanks to the non-commercial nature of the competition and the moderate participation fees, even very small and emerging companies can enter their innovative products and compete at international level. The competition pursues the declared aim of highlighting tendencies in design, uncovering totally new solutions and, most importantly of all, promoting and assisting the annual prize-winners with the marketing of their innovations. The awards are particularly beneficial for brand communications: the “Focus Gold”, “Focus Silver” and “Focus Special Mention” labels are a mark of quality and a valuable tool for distinguishing products within the brand profile. In addition, a wide range of other measures help generate publicity and awareness: the festive award ceremony, the exhibition at the MIK (Museum, Information, Art) in Ludwigsburg, which lasts several weeks, as well as the extensive online presentation and premium exhibition catalogue that is distributed all over the world.
Being honoured with a design award sends a signal that the submitted work is held in high esteem by carefully selected experts. It is a signal that can have a positive impact within big companies too, and represents an important endorsement for all those involved with the development process. It can boost both motivation and identification with the company and its products and help reinforce confidence in the collaboration between designers and companies.
Blanco GmbH + Co KG
Blanco GmbH + Co KG
The name suffix gives the game away: this semi-professional-looking kitchen mixer is following in the footsteps of its bigger sister. Thanks to the clever scaling, the mixer tap can even be used in areas with low clearance – in the direct vicinity of wall units, for instance. The proportions of the bigger model have been preserved, as has the distinctive element of the design: an arched hose encased in spiral stainless steel sheathing. The head, which has an integrated single-jet aerator spray, is attached to the projecting horizontal holder by a magnet. When released, the hose provides great freedom of movement across the entire sink area. The water flow is regulated by a single slender lever on the side.
A meticulous design that speaks a crystal-clear language and benefits from perfectly positioned radii. The magnetic hose holder is great fun and proves extremely practical for everyday use. When secured, the hose describes a perfect arc and thus creates an attractive contrast to the stringent basic aesthetic.
Tableware and kitchenware
Pots and cooking utensils
Eva Solo A/S
Eva Solo GmbH
The materials used for the lids are the most striking feature of this pots and pans range: silicone and glass. The latter allows the user to keep a watchful eye on what is happening in the saucepan without having to remove the lid. The silicone ensures thermal decoupling in the vicinity of the handles, is pleasant to the touch and permits various additional functions. Lifting the lid slightly reveals perforations in the rim that not only allow steam to escape but can be used to drain the contents of the pot as well. When removed, the lid can be hooked into the rim so that any condensed liquid simply runs back into the saucepan. The bottoms are made of two layers of stainless steel and one of aluminium, the pans are coated with a PFOA-free material.
Silicone has also been used for the handles and actual stirring or scooping zones of the matching utensils. And thanks to a kink in the shaft, the five handy helpers can also be hung from the rim of the pot.
A very understated design with no superfluous forms or elements. The flat lids fit very tightly and cover the handles too. The integrated colander zone and the possibility of parking the lid on the edge of the pot are surprising and extremely practical features that save space and prevent the saucepans dripping onto the cooker or worktop.
Rolf – Roland Wolf GmbH
New materials aren’t necessarily a must when it comes to developing surprising design and product features. This spectacles frame, for instance, is made of a very traditional material indeed: wood – or to be more precise, layers of smoked oak and walnut veneer. Thanks to the meticulous final sanding, the strata of the veneer are a key visual feature of the glasses, which contain no metal components whatsoever. Even the hinge that eventually resulted from no fewer than 75 development versions is made entirely of wood – and is nevertheless both robust and repairable. And thanks to a specially developed process, the lenses can be fitted without having to cut through the slender frame. In addition to their pleasantly warm look and feel, the unisex panto-style glasses are lightweight, non-allergenic and maintenance-free.
The wooden hinge solution is truly fascinating, manages entirely without screws and functions superbly. Made completely of wood, the frame has a delightfully velvety finish, contains no allergenic substances and is kind to the sensitive skin on the bridge of the nose.
KPG Design Group GmbH
The lamp is specially designed for dentistry requirements and allows the perceived colour of dentures to be precision-checked in the laboratory. The LED-generated light provides very accurate colour rendering (CRI > 98) with a choice of four colour temperatures ranging between 2,500 and 7,000 Kelvin. The dimmable lamp also simulates an artificial light spectrum and produces UV light that can for instance be used to check fluorescent effects or labels.
The form of the lamp is very simple and echoes the functional aesthetic of its laboratory environment. The horizontal arm docks onto the vertical stand and swivels around its axis. Two other hinges in the three-part arm allow for precise positioning at the workstation.
A very good solution for laboratory requirements that combines sturdiness with precision. The backlash-free hinges in the arm are as understated as the overall design of the lamp. The tidy-looking light combines a high degree of functionality with high aesthetic standards – and thus reflects the objectives of prosthetic dentistry.
Communication, audio, video, optical equipment
d&b Audiotechnik GmbH
d&b Audiotechnik GmbH
The system was designed to provide professional sound reinforcement for concerts, theatres, trade fairs or conferences and consists of medium-sized point sources and line source units that can be combined as required. Besides a mobile version with optional weatherproofing, the Y Series also includes loudspeakers for stationary use in locations such as sound studios or conference centres. All in all, the system offers an abundance of combination options, flexible horizontal dispersion characteristics and rotatable horns or special waveguides; the bass reflex design ensures efficient bass reproduction. Thanks to the wide-ranging configuration options, the Y Series can also be used in difficult structural or acoustic settings.
All the hand-finished cabinets are produced in Germany using CNC technology and are made of European-sourced, PEFC-certified plywood.
The design of the loudspeaker cabinets is very technically motivated and reduced to a minimum. However, details such as the ergonomic handles or obviously positioned cable ports point to a consistent and well thought-through design concept. Although extremely robust, there is nothing clumsy about the loudspeakers’ appearance. The way the logo is subtly integrated with the perforated metal front is an attractive touch.
Child’s car seat
Concord 2004 S.A.
White ID GmbH & Co. KG
Reverso is a rear-facing car seat, meaning it is mounted facing away from the direction of travel. Mechanical red-green indicators on the relevant attachment and adjustment points signal that it has been fitted correctly. The seat meets the new European i-Size standard and is suitable for children up to a height of 105 centimetres. Thanks to the special and separately cushioned inlay, it can also be used as a cradle car seat for newborns. The seat is designed for maximum safety, easy adjustment and minimum weight. The shell is made entirely of shock-absorbing material and is surrounded by an aluminium frame that visualises sturdiness and protection. Besides making the seat more comfortable for the child, the footrest also provides additional stability in an accident situation and is particularly effective in a rear impact collision. The majority of the components can be removed separately and disposed of or recycled accordingly.
A very sound and trustworthy product with clearly identifiable adjustment elements that are accessible from all sides. The traffic-light-style feedback improves both the safety and handling of the seat, which is designed to grow with the child. The aluminium frame adds a distinctive and appealing detail.
Fastnacht der Hölle
Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemberg
Jangled Nerves GmbH
2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, prompting Baden-Württemberg history museum Haus der Geschichte to stage a special exhibition. Entitled Carnival of Hell, it enabled visitors to experience the horrors of war with all their senses. The more than 400 exhibits were presented in vast showcases fronted by narrow horizontal strips of glass and established personal connections with the life and death of their former owners or users. Five sensory points allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the terrifying past and experience the taste, smell, sound and feel of the war for themselves. The exhibits were accompanied by a calendar with a timeline of events ranging from the first to the last day of this horrific conflict which, whilst it might seem remote, is not really all that far away at all. An epilogue at the end of the exhibition showed how the consequences of the war are still making themselves felt today. Subdued lighting and the dark, grey colour scheme enveloped the show in the crushing, impassive aura of disillusionment.
Amidst all the media coverage and memorial shows dedicated to the First World War, this exhibition takes a different approach. Because it appeals directly to the senses, it presents the events in an unaccustomed and terrifying light. At the same time, the distinctly modern design deliberately makes sparing use of multimedia tools, thereby allowing pictures to form in visitors’ minds instead.
Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG
D-74523 Schwäbisch Hall
Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG
D-74523 Schwäbisch Hall
Weighing in at just 12 kilograms, the CL3710 is currently the lightest long-haul economy class seat available. The seat padding, especially on the front edge, reduces the risk of developing thrombosis on long flights. The ergonomics of the wide, six-position headrest and the pleasantly soft armrests are no less convincing. When folded up, the latter sit flush with the backrest – even when it is in a reclined position. The multi-function “bridge” on the back of the seat features USB ports, a power port, a deep pocket, a 13.3 inch monitor and the inevitable folding table – although in this case it can be opened and closed with one hand. Immediately beneath the side bumper is an integrated stirrup-like foothold that helps passengers reach the overhead luggage compartment. The two-year development phase was overseen by a 50-strong interdisciplinary project team.
Even in the rather tightly spaced layout of an economy class cabin, this seat promises plenty of legroom - an especially important aspect on long-haul flights. Although very slender, the seat provides a high level of comfort, partly due to the adjustable headrest. The solution for integrating the display is well thought-out, the ports for various appliances are easy to access.
Sport Coupé Concept GTE
Volkswagen Design Team
The concept vehicle combines the design features of a sports car with four passenger doors and a generously sized rear door to create a new type of coupé. The big wheelbase gives rise to a luxurious interior volume characterised by dynamic lines, a continuous centre console, top-quality materials and digital displays. The central instrument cluster features three-dimensional graphics and there is ambient lighting that accentuates the dashboard, infotainment system and centre console. The bodywork is dominated by extremely sharp and dynamic lines, the front is emphasised by the horizontal radiator grille and the LED headlights, which are positioned unusually far back. The crosspiece of the grille and the daytime running lights pick up on the winglet motif that runs through the entire design concept like a common thread.
The vehicle represents a new design language from Volkswagen: more progressive, more consistent and more coherent. Whilst the sharp external edges create a striking silhouette, the compelling interior features a welcoming aesthetic and a space-structuring centre console. It also takes a totally new approach to wood trims and creates a lavishly spacious feel. All in all, both the design and the technology add up to a very contemporary interpretation of the traditional sedan.
Trade fair and exhibition system
Procédés Chénel International
Procédés Chénel International
Consisting of just four basic elements that can be combined in a wide variety of ways, the system can be used to build curved or linear display walls up to a height of 2.60 metres. Counters, stools or glass-topped shelves can be configured in the same way.
The closed or open boxes based on a module height of 0.38 metres are made of flame-retardant corrugated cardboard and, like the cardboard tubes used to connect them, can be completely recycled via the normal paper loop. Any branding required is simply printed on the boxes. Additional components such as top panels, display inserts, back walls, LED strip lights or ballast tanks for stabilising freestanding walls widen the range of usage possibilities considerably. Assembly is quick and easy and requires no special tools.
Paper Box is a clever idea for exhibition booth construction, which is anything but sustainable in its current form. Despite its strictly modularised design, the system permits unconventional display walls and a wide range of customisation options thanks to the various add-on elements and the printability of the boxes. Reusable, lightweight and easy to handle, Paper Box is a genuine alternative to conventional solutions.