Ambiente - Design Plus special “Ethical Style” edition

Competition for awards to 23 sustainable products and series

Functionality, aesthetics, contemporary style – what makes good design? In 2017 the well-known Design Plus competition will be coming out uniquely in a special edition devoted to the trend of sustainability. “Ethical style” will be the title, theme and claim of this international award. Prizes will be given to a total of 23 products and product series by 19 manufacturers from six countries for their ecological and ethical design quality. The prize-winners can be seen at Ambiente from 10 to 14 February 2017 in Galleria 1.

“Through this focus on ‘ethical style’ we are not only addressing a highly current topic. We are demonstrating, above all, what design approaches and solutions, differing in their contemporary nature, may look like for the purpose. In this way we wish to motivate manufacturers and the retail trade to utilise for their own innovations and business ideas the high level of dynamism provided by this trend”, says Nicolette Naumann, Vice President Ambiente.

The Design Plus Award 2017 deliberately regards sustainability not as a specialised direction in design. Rather, the ecological quality of the submissions provided the basic condition of their acceptance. And thus the ecological or ethical aspects of the products can often only be seen on a second inspection. Buddy by Metz Textil & Design GmbH, for instance, is positioned primarily as a companion in all circumstances. This oversize tote bag has a high load-bearing capacity and provides plenty of room for everything which needs to be stowed or transported: from blankets and cushions, to toys, to wood for the fire. The actual invention, however, is to be found in its material, Violan®. This consists of rapidly renewable raw materials such as vegetable residues and wood fibres, which are harvested sustainably and processed in Germany, in accordance with the latest technical standards, in an environmentally friendly way.

Something suitable for every day

Along with this, many other prize-winners also offer well-considered solutions for everyday life, including Green Pioneer, a British label which features a sustainable version of sandwich paper, in the shape of its Abeego brand. Its treatment with natural beeswax guarantees not just that the food will stay fresh and flavoursome, but makes it possible to wash and re-use the paper as often as you like.  
Takeaway coffee is now an integral part of everyday city life. In Germany alone, according to German Environmental Aid, 320,000 plastic-coated non-returnable beakers are consumed every hour. That makes nearly three million units a year. Through its To Go beaker, the china manufacturer Kahla offers not just a very sustainable alternative for carrying out, but a very elegant one. In a simple, modern design, silicon applications on the handle and base ensure good insulation, pleasant to the grasp, and non-slip.

Multitalents for all aspects of life

A good idea for the youngsters is being shown by Donkey Products in its Kids Cube. This stable cube made of natural beech plywood is a stool and collection box in one. With its well-considered complement of games, such as goal scoring, it will deliberately attract the kids from behind their mobiles and encourage them to play actively together.
A multitalent, not just for musicians, is provided by the music stand from Side by Side: depending on how you tilt the paper support, the music stand turns into a presentation desk or lectern. Like all products from Side by Side, this too stands for design with a social dimension: the company works together with over 80 designers and 18 different disabled workshops. The mainly domestic woods are kept in their natural state or are treated in an environmentally friendly way.

Design Plus Award 2017

The Design Plus Award has been presented since 1983 by the Design for Life Initiative. Its sponsors are Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH, the German Design Council (Rat für Formgebung) and the Association of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammertag, Berlin). It is open to all Ambiente exhibitors with products which have been on the market for no longer than two years as of the time of the fair. In 2017, for the first time, the motto of the award is “ethical style.” Eighty-six manufacturers entered the competition, with 216 products or product series. The firms to which awards went were Donkey Products, Emile Henry, Gehring GmbH Solingen, Good & Mojo, Green Pioneer, Kahla, Konstatin Slawinski Kollektion, Leingrau, Metz Textil Design, Ritterwerk, Saskia Stiehler, Side by Side, Skagerak, Stefanie Hering, Studio Bycolor, Via Werkstätten, Zwiesel-Kristallglas and china manufacturer Fürstenberg. The international jury consisted of the following experts:

Designer: Satyendra Pakhalé, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Retail: Mimi Sewalski,, Hamburg, Germany
Management: Professor Mark Kwami, design and corporate
consultant, Berlin, Germany
Teaching: Professor Karin-Simone Fuhs, ecosign, Academy of
Design, Cologne, Germany
Trade press: Susanna Björklund, journalist, Porvoo, Finland
Producer: Holger Danneberg, Werkhaus,
Bad Bodenteich, Germany
Sponsors: Lutz Dietzold, German Design Council,
Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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