For years, the German Design Awards have set international standards for innovative design developments and competitiveness on the global market. At the end of 2023, the German Design Council announced the much-anticipated winners of the 2024 edition. Let’s explore what innovative products they’ve brought forward.

Every year, an internationally renowned jury, made up of representatives from industry, universities and design, comes together to look at and evaluate a variety of innovative products, sustainable solutions and state-of-the-art designs from different sectors, from bikes to cooking pans, chairs and cars. In the 2024 edition, a total of 65 ‘Gold’ awards, the highest honour, were presented in the ‘Excellent Product Design’, ‘Excellent Communications Design’ and ‘Excellent Architecture’ disciplines. Awards were presented to 55 nations in 68 categories; in addition to ‘Winner’ and ‘Special Mention’. All winners were honoured at the Award Show on 26 January 2024 in Frankfurt am Main.

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

The Amazon Pavilion at the Wistron plant in Brno.

With the German Design Awards, the German Design Council honours significant design trends as well as pioneering and innovative design achievements that holistically cover all areas of everyday life and the diversity of design culture. The focus has increasingly shifted towards transformation themes: How can products be made more environmentally friendly, user experiences optimised, processes made more efficient and our living environment made fairer?

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

SORI and MUKURI from ‘TATAMI ReFAB PROJECT’ are knitted furniture created by tatami resin.

“With the German Design Awards, we are creating far more than just a showcase for design achievements. We are increasingly recognising the need to put the design discourse at the forefront: Global developments, sustainability and circular design, digitalisation and AI, as well as ideas for a more social, fairer society are topics that have a place with us,” emphasises Lutz Dietzold, CEO of the German Design Council. “With submissions from every continent, the German Design Awards showcase cross-industry developments and concrete solutions on how we can achieve global change.”

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

The German Design Awards jury tests some bicycles.

The award

Since its foundation in 1953, one of the central tasks of the German Design Council, the organiser of the German Design Awards, has been to observe, analyse and evaluate the international design scene. With the German Design Award, the German Design Council has established one of the most recognised design awards in the world. The annual winners of the German Design Award not only exemplify the economic and cultural value of outstanding design, but also provide orientation and represent current topics and design trends.
Among the awards in the ‘Excellent Communications Design’ discipline, the ‘Brand Identity’, ‘Corporate Identity’ and ‘Event’ categories were particularly well represented this year. In ‘Excellent Product Design’, the categories ‘Medical/Health Care’ and ‘Sports/Outdoor Activities’ received outstanding submissions. In addition, the categories that revolve around the design of the home – from ‘Outdoor Living’ to ‘Furniture’ and ‘Kitchen’ via ‘Bath & Wellness’ – stood out. This trend continues in the ‘Excellent Architecture’ discipline: Alongside architectural projects, it is the ‘Interior Architecture’ category that has produced the most awards.

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

The OSAKA stove by Hase Kaminofenbau GmbH.

All eyes on: Excellent Product Design

In the ‘Gardening and Outdoor Living’ category, for example, the Altopiano outdoor modular dining table stood out to this year’s jury. Customisable in size, colour, number and type of accessories and their positioning to serve food in an original, personal way, the table structure impresses with its gloss-varnished aluminium, the separate tops and the available accessories. The concept behind this design was to create a table with a potentially endless structure while leaving behind the conventional tabletop for something unusual. A statement from the jury read: “With Altopiano, functionality meets aesthetics! This modular table system makes it possible to present food in a creative way, turning shared meals into unforgettable culinary experiences.”

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

Altopiano outdoor modular dining table.

One of the winners in the ‘Aviation, Maritime and Railway’ category is the Refit Night Express. It transforms old wagons into space-saving, efficiently used night train cabins for business travellers, guaranteeing a smooth passenger journey and maximum deceleration. Two nested cabins of seven square metres offer optimal space for privacy and relaxation. “The nested cabins with large windows create a spacious feeling and a distinctly positive customer experience through ingenious details. Noise cancelling, the integration of high-tech and practical components such as coat hooks offer not only comfort and user-friendliness, but a whole travel experience in a class of its own,” the jury statement read.

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

The Refit Night Express.

In the ‘Public Design’ category, the Lapee, the first industrialised female urinal, was a jury favourite. Designed at Roskilde Festival, Lapee offers a quick, safe and hygienic way for women to relieve themselves. Today Lapee is available in more than 16 countries in Europe and all the way to Australia. The jury said: “The Lapee women’s urinal solves a common hygiene problem at temporary mass events such as festivals. With its striking shape, reminiscent of a castle, the Lapee women’s urinal conveys a feeling of security.”

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

A jury member inspects the Lapee, the first industrialised female urinal.

All eyes on: Excellent Communications Design

In the ‘Audivisual’ category, the Unsupervised: Refik Anadol exhibition stood out. For Unsupervised, Refik Anadol Studio used artificial intelligence to interpret and transform more than 200 years of art at MoMA to answer the following question: What would a machine dream about after seeing the collection of The Museum of Modern Art? As the model ‘walks’ through its conception of this vast range of works, it reimagines the history of modern art and dreams about what might have been and what might be to come. The artwork was displayed on a large-scale media wall in MoMA’s ground-floor Gund Lobby between November 19, 2022 – October 29, 2023 and became the first artwork made in collaboration with generative AI to be added to the museum’s permanent collection. The jury added: “Unsupervised is an impressive example of the creative use of technology in an art and design context.”

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

Installation view of the exhibition Unsupervised: Refik Anadol by Robert Gerhardt.

Additionally, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, for the first time held in Germany, won a gold honour in the ‘Universal Design’ category. The jury statement read: “The World Games for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities brought together over 6,500 athletes from 190 nations and 26 sports in Germany, creating an inclusive society through the unifying power of sport. With a strong focus on the needs of the target group, the website design took the concept of accessibility to a new level. The possibility to set accessibility filters enabled people with different impairments to get comprehensive information on their own and thus participate in the Games. This project sets a new standard for inclusive design: it shows how a comprehensive understanding of the needs of different groups and applying this knowledge can lead to better inclusion. An inspiring and benchmark example of the positive impact of design on our society!”

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.

One of the gold awards in the ‘Brand Identity’ category went to The Local Color Project for Telekom Shops. To increase the appeal of its stationary retail stores in a world where online shopping becomes increasingly the norm, the Local Color Project enables Telekom Shops of all sizes to create emotionalizing experiences that are adaptable to any size space, putting the magic of the city and local people at the heart of store design. The jury loved that “instead of traditional LED screens, the project relies on sketches and silhouettes to represent the diversity of cultures, age groups and scenarios in different locations”.

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

The Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH visitor centre.

All eyes on: Excellent Architecture

In the ‘Architecture’ category the so-called Salmon Eye, a spectacular, floating aquaculture showroom, visitor and learning centre in Norway’s Hardangerfjord, grabbed the jury’s imagination. A world-class visitor and learning centre on how to better feed the planet with sustainable seafood, the Salmon Eye curves for its ellipsoid design and is bathed in 9,250 stainless steel parts shaped like fish scales to imitate the appearance and colour of fish. “Salmon Eye is undoubtedly impressive and visionary: the spherical, floating building surprises with spectacular architecture. Wrapped in silvery fish scales from the outside, the interior houses an aquaculture showroom alongside an exclusive fine dining restaurant,” the jury explained.

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

The Salmon Eye.

Another gold honour was awarded to Urban Vision for Manifesta 14 Prishtina, ‘Commons Sense’, in the ‘Urban Space and Infrastructure’ category. The project reclaimed public spaces via temporary design using an ‘open-source’ process. Employing mapping, AI analysis, and local student collaboration, these interventions let residents decide on permanence with several pedestrianisation interventions across the city. “’Commons Sense’ has managed to turn unused public space into an inspiring place again,” the jury added.

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

Urban Vision for Manifesta 14, ‘Common Sense’.

The design of an observation tower in the Schaumburg region by Nieberg Architect won another gold honour in the ‘Conceptual Architecture’ category. Its design enables a magnificent, far-reaching view of the surrounding landscape. Several viewing platforms are oriented in different cardinal directions. The jury loved that “the design of the viewing tower in the Schaumburg region cleverly combines shapes, light, shadows on different levels.” They added: “The use of exposed concrete walls with openings offering a view of the surrounding landscape gives the tower a unique aesthetic quality.”

The German Design Awards 2024: Introducing this year’s outstanding designs

Observation Tower by Nieberg Architect.

To see all winners of the German Design Awards 2024, including the winner of the prestigious ‘German Design Award Newcomer’, visit:

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