Cologne: 04.–07.05.2021 #interzum

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interzum award: Three questions for Prof. Dr. Peter Zec


interzum award - intelligent material and design

The interzum award: intelligent material & design recognises the best products by the international furniture supplier industry. Already in its ninth edition, the design competition is organised by Koelnmesse in collaboration with Red Dot. Three questions for Professor Dr. Peter Zec, CEO of Red Dot, on the competition’s importance and the challenges facing future design.

Professor Zec, the interzum award: intelligent material & design has been presented since 2007. How important is this year’s competition?

The interzum award: intelligent material & design is now a firm fixture and documents design’s vital role as a driving force in the international furniture supplier industry. Design is immensely important and goes hand in hand with technical innovation and optimal function – not just in this field, but beyond it as well. Ultimately, a product can only be as good as the materials and suppliers’ products that it is made from. This being the case, companies that are constantly striving to find new solutions to ensure high-quality end products have found a forum in the interzum award that highlights their achievements and enables them to showcase their work.

As the trade fair for the furniture and interior construction industries’ supplying sections, interzum is a platform for innovations. What developments are you currently observing in the industry, and how important is design quality to them?

One of the current developments I’ve been observing with great interest is the development of new materials that follow natural and organic characteristics closely. Some innovative and successful products are being brought to market that are modelled on structures and surfaces in nature combined with the latest technological achievements. As this development is still relatively recent, there are large differences in design quality, which is why it’s crucial to assess their value and to scout out the best designs with a jury’s help.

Among your positions, you are CEO of the Red Dot Award and Senator of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) in Montreal. What challenges do you see for the future of design?

The keyword that often crops up in this context is sustainability. Fossil fuel resources are dwindling and therefore becoming more expensive. The raw materials in many areas of industrial production will no longer be economically viable in the future as a result. Making production truly future-oriented is therefore the challenge that has to be overcome – and by that I mean using recyclable materials, optimising the potential for savings in materials and, of course, continuing to promote research in materials.

Professor Dr. Peter Zec

Professor Dr. Peter Zec

Professor Dr. Peter Zec studied media science, psychology and the science of art. Since 1991 he is president of the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen e.V., which organises the Red Dot Design Award. For what is now the ninth time, Koelnmesse, in cooperation with Red Dot, presents the interzum award for intelligent material & design. The winners will be honoured at the interzum opening ceremony on Monday 15 May.