Jill Entwistle takes a look at 10 lighting winners from the Red Dot Awards
Words by Jill Entwistle
The red dot awards are nothing if not catholic in their scope. Their 49 categories range from robotics to kitchens and from materials to medical devices. And there are sub-categories. The lighting and lamps group, obviously of most concern to these pages, runs the whole gamut from floodlights to floor lamps.
The awards originated in Germany in 1955, and were set up by the Design Zentrum in Essen to applaud annually the country’s best products. Open to manufacturers and designers alike, they break down into three competitions: for product design, brands and communication design, and design concept. They are also presumably a canny commercial proposition, with a registration fee ranging from €300 to €510 according to timeliness, and a further compulsory Winner Package fee (up to around €6,000 for Best of the Best). There are around 70 winners – Best of the Best, Distinction and Honourable Mention – in the lighting category alone.
The foundation of the modern awards is down to design consultant and author Professor Peter Zec, who in 1991 shrewdly changed the logo of the Design Zentrum from a black dot to a red dot, graphically more arresting and referencing the ‘picture sold’ symbol of gallery language.
Giving the awards their present title in 2000, he also opened up the competition to international entries and established a multinational jury of independent designers, design professors and specialised journalists. There are now three Red Dot Design Museums, in Essen, Germany – with 2000 exhibits, billed as ‘the largest exhibition of contemporary design worldwide’ – Singapore and Xiamen, China.
The following are 10 of the products that made this year’s selection, including three of those creamed off as Best of the Best.
Winner: Best of The Best
Blade R / iGuzzini
Image Credit: R.Buschi-Recanati
With the Blade range, iGuzzini has honed the art of the miniature fitting with clever, powerful optics. The Blade R series – a circular luminaire with a cross section of just 2cm – extends the established Laser Blade XS range. Available with different dimensions and power ratings, the Blade R series can be installed seamlessly, with a central cover that can be customised with the same finish as the ceiling. In addition, the fitting can be integrated with specially certified devices, including emergency lighting, loudspeakers, cameras, multi-sensors and smoke detectors. It also features a Dali Bluetooth interface with integrated beacon for smart light control and activation of smart services.
Winner: Best of The Best
Magellan / Kuzco Lighting
Though it’s hard to get a sense of scale from the image, Magellan is a sizeable fitting at around 75cm across. It is actually a composite of several shades around a hollow centre. The core framework is a series of interlocking circles housing the LED sources, which can be removed for maintenance or replacement. The individual shades sit on each circle, producing a soft, diff use illumination. There is a choice of shades: aluminium reflector, decorative brass finish, Lightguide acrylic, and a felt sound-dampening shade.
Winner: Best of The Best
NYE / Lampas
The focus was on coming up with a simple yet clearly recognisable design, according to Danish company Veksø, which is sort of what the Danish are rather good at. Addressing light spill and light pollution issues, the bollard is constructed to create two light wedges emerging from either side. Sent downwards and out in two fans, the light effectively illuminates paths and squares without emitting more light than necessary. Made of weathering steel, hot-dip galvanised steel or powder-coated steel, the bollard is available in two sizes: 60cm and 90cm. The lamps are manufactured to be split up easily at the end of their life cycle and all individual parts to be recycled effectively.
Supersystem / Zumtobel
One of the trends in lighting in recent years has been to integrate as many lighting functions as possible in one piece of kit, usually some form of track system. The miniaturisation of fittings through the introduction of LEDs has facilitated this development to create ever more minimal but multi-functional fittings. Supersystem, one of three Zumtobel luminaires to get the Red Dot, can be either surface-mounted or recessed, offering linear downlighting, indirect lighting and wallwashing plus adjustable accent lighting with spotlights or linear gimbal luminaires. It has three sizes of spot (mini, midi, maxi) and a range of accessories whose functions include contouring and framing. It can be mounted vertically or horizontally.
Skybell Collection / Bover
A suspended system, Skybell from Barcelona-based Bover can be grouped in a variety of ways – circles, spirals and linear arrangements – to create a graphic element in the space. Attached to either wall or ceiling, the clean-lined conical luminaire system comes in four different sizes and three groupings: garland, linear profile and circular profile.
The profiles are made of extruded aluminum, and in the linear and circular versions are suspended by height-adjustable tension cables. The luminaire is finished in black as standard, but colours can be customised.
Bella / Panzeri
Bella follows the same principles as Skybell in enabling a cluster of compact suspended fittings, although it is also available in single pendant, wall, table and recessed versions. The flat, disc-shaped, acrylic lamp head with luminous perimeter allows different light settings, including direct table illumination and indirect room lighting. The table and wall versions have an adjustable head and step dimming offering five light intensities. The wall option has a joint at the base, allowing more flexibility with the positioning. The luminaires come in white, black, titanium, bronze and matte brass finishes. An ivory fabric lampshade designed by Matteo Thun is also available.
Jane / XAL
As much sculptural element as light source, the rope-like Jane can be used for creative ceiling and wall arrangements. Made of food-safe silicone, and with IP67 certification, it is also suitable for outdoor use. With a diameter of only 18mm and up to 10m long, it has a homogeneous light output. It comes with additional mechanical or magnetic ceiling clips, which allow a flexible installation and easy adjustment of the lighting ropes.
Mood / Simon
From Barcelona-based Simon, Mood is a wall lamp that plays with a minimal circular shape. Different solutions are possible not only with variable groupings but with finish colours – metallic in chrome, gold or copper, and fluorescent yellow, pink, blue and orange – and, most important, lit effect. The fitting is available in three colour temperatures (2700K, 3000K, 4000K) plus tunable white and RGB. A range of formats and decorative elements allows even more design latitude, with some models offering a diffuse light created by a translucent cylinder integrated flush into the wall.
Intono / L&L Luce & Light
Image Credit: Tamborini Alessio
Intono is deceptively simple in appearance. Designed for both indoor and outdoor installation, it can be equipped with loudspeakers to act as both light and music source – particularly useful for the restaurant sector. It can also receive voice commands to both change lighting levels or adjust the volume of music played, communicating with devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo over Wi-Fi using the ZigBee protocol. Available in four sizes and with single or double beams, it comes in four standard finishes – white, grey, Corten and anthracite. However, it is also available with primer that allows simple wall paint to be applied so that the tubular body can meld into the wall, emphasising just the lit effect. Intono also offers more than the classic narrow, medium and wide-beam options with additional asymmetrical, light blade and wall washer optics. Output ranges from 3W to 20W and it has three colour temperature options: 2700K, 3000K or 4000K (CRI 80 and CRI>90).
Soho / Light-Point
In line with the trend for flexible feature lighting, Soho by Danish company Light-Point has a Scandi simplicity – a circular luminaire that can be used singly or configured into a creative wall-mounted installation. The collection features circular wall tiles in five sizes, which can be installed at different distances from the wall, either separately or overlapping, allowing softly diffused indirect light patterns. The disc is made of CNC-machined aluminium, which comes in a structured powder-coated finish in black, white and gold, as well as in rose-gold with a brushed finish.