Red Dot Design Museum at the Zollverein World Heritage Site in Essen
The biggest exhibition of contemporary design in the world
The Red Dot Design Museum presents stylishly and practically designed objects that have won the award over several decades. The backdrop of the old coal mine provides a unique contrast between old industrial machines and innovative products. The cultural centre has over 2,000 objects in its collection.
The biggest exhibition of contemporary design in the world is not in America or Asia, it’s right in the heart of the Ruhr District. In Essen – on the premises of the Zollverein World Heritage Site – the Red Dot Design Museum has been making a statement since 1997. Stylishly and practically designed objects that have been awarded the Red Dot Design Award are presented in the boiler house of the former coal mine.
The modern cultural location clearly benefits from the charm of the old industrial site in the process. The exhibited items, which come from every area of production, are shown to their advantage within the historic scenery: The bare aluminium bodywork of an Audi A8 hangs from the ceiling of an exhibition hall between rusty steel girders. With open mouths, visitors contemplate this magnificent exhibit, which was considered to be particularly innovative when it was first produced. Characteristic forms and features are easily understood.
Outlandish motorcycles find themselves in lovingly arranged sections of the exhibition right next to attractive bicycles, vacuum cleaners and coffee machines. When walking around, visitors notice practical suitcases and beautiful furniture standing not so far away from used machines and worn-out stoves. It soon becomes clear: Worlds collide here.
Lovers of unusual forms and colours will be stunned; there is something to see everywhere. The museum has put together a collection totalling 2,000 objects from 45 nations and added them to its holdings. Everyday and industrial items that stand out from mass production objects are presented over 4,000 square metres. Touching and trying out the exhibited objects is expressly permitted in many cases. After all, “Good design always means functionality, ergonomics, simple handling and environmental sustainability.”
Like to see more of the industrial charm of the museums at the Zollverein World Heritage Site? Then take a trip to the Ruhr Museum or the Phänomania Erfahrungsfeld experience park, an interactive museum, should be next on the agenda. These are not far from the site of the old coal mine.