Architecture, Manufacturing, and Retail

Manufacturers win international product design awards

May 29, 2019
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Steelcase SILQ office chair
The SILQ office chair. Courtesy Steelcase

Two West Michigan manufacturers are being recognized by an international awards program for creating some of the best products of 2019.

Grand Rapids-based Steelcase and Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corporation have been selected as Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019 winners for products in the office furniture/office chairs and household appliances/household accessories categories.

“I would like to congratulate the laureates sincerely on their wonderful success,” said Peter Zec, founder and CEO, Red Dot. “The fact that their products were able to satisfy the strict criteria of the jury bears testimony to their award-winning design quality. The laureates are thus setting key trends in the design industry and are showing where future directions may lead.”


In 2019, designers and companies from 55 countries entered more than 5,500 products in the competition.

An international jury comprised of experts from different disciplines convened to judge the entries. Their assessment focused on criteria such as the level of innovation, functionality, formal quality, longevity and ergonomics of the object.

The Red Dot: Best of the Best award went to 80 companies or 1.5% of the entrants this year.

Other award categories include Red Dot and Red Dot: Honorable Mention.


The Steelcase SILQ chair, created to respond intuitively to movement of the body, earned the Red Dot award. 

“It’s an honor to be recognized by distinguished designers from around the world for our innovative design,” said James Ludwig, VP of global design and engineering, Steelcase.

The SILQ chair — which is patent pending — is made of a Steelcase designed and engineered high-performance polymer material that emulates the qualities of carbon fiber. The material, combined with the arched silhouette of the design, allows SILQ to respond to natural movements of the human body without the mechanisms typically required in high-performance seating designed for the workplace.


The Whirlpool and Bauknecht brands were awarded the Red Dot award for The W Collection four-door fridge-freezer from Whirlpool and the new Bauknecht Built-In Suite ovens and microwave oven.

“We are truly honored to be recognized once again with the distinguished Red Dot award for product design,” said Neil Tunstall, VP of products, Whirlpool EMEA.

The W Collection four-door fridge-freezer features a polished aluminum blade and full-width black interface with an integrated pocket handle. The doors open wide to a panoramic interior. Inside, the fridge has a large LED panel in the ceiling. The freezer compartments have extractable shelves, and the appliance features Zen Technology, a noise-reducing design.

The award-winning products from Bauknecht’s new Built-in Suite include the built-in oven, built-in oven with total steam, built-in microwave oven, compact steam oven and compact speed oven. Design features include a “monolithic aesthetic” consisting of dark glass intersected by stainless-steel bands. The ovens and microwaves are Wi-Fi equipped, allowing users to download recipe settings and send them to the appliances to better control cooking times.

Red Dot Awards

The Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019 winners will be honored at a ceremony held in Essen, Germany on July 8.

With roots dating to 1955, the Red Dot Awards program is one of the world’s largest design competitions and based in Essen, Germany.

The winners are featured in yearbooks, museums and online following the awards ceremony.

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