South Africa has taken centre stage in the international design industry when EdgeOut – the South African-designed and a world-first rotomoulded teardrop camper-trailer designed for use on tar and gravel roads – was awarded the prestigious Red Dot Design Award 2022 in the category Product Design in Germany in June this year.
A total number of 7 900 entries from 60 countries from across the globe were submitted in this category. With this award, EdgeOut and its designer Retief Krige Industrial Designers in Stellenbosch, find themselves in the company of internationals such as Ferrari, Philips, Google, Lenovo, HP and Siemens, and now has the approval to use the coveted Red Dot seal as an acknowledged and revered international seal of outstanding design quality.
More about the Red Dot Design Award
The Red Dot Design Award – organised by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany – is an international design competition for product design, communication design and design concepts. Each entry is individually and comprehensively assessed and adjudicated by the Red Dot Jury which consists of 48 professionally-qualified international members. With a longstanding and distinguished reputation as the authority on good design, Red Dot often serves as the media’s reference for features on the latest design trends and noteworthy companies. Winning a Red Dot Design Award gives the receiving company a strong advantage in attracting international media attention and global business opportunities.
EdgeOut – a leading-edge design approach
The low-weight EdgeOut teardrop camper-trailer – designed by Retief Krige Industrial Design in Stellenbosch, South Africa – consists of two individual, linear-mounted rotomoulded low-density polyethylene sections. The one section is a comfortable sleeping pod or cabin (the bedroom) and the other a compact, well-equipped cooking and entertainment area (the kitchen). These are aesthetically secured together, and mounted onto a galvanized steel trailer chassis.
From a design and user perspective, it draws attention for its spaciousness, innovative design and a host of technical features. It has a rugged and bold shape, with a faceted design approach which was made possible by using a forward-thinking and innovative mould construction method with bent sheet metal plates welded together to create the two moulds in which the two pods are roto-formed.
The pioneering use of rotomoulding technology as a first in the field of teardrop camper-trailer design, gave the designer the freedom to break away from the traditional design approach and to create something totally new, yet maintaining the nostalgia associated with teardrop trailers. While the traditional teardrop trailer uses flat panel material and construction methods which usually result in a side view extruded flat-sided shape, rotomoulding allows for a full 3D-created shape in all directions, while still keeping the teardrop-shaped silhouette. This unique EdgeOut design identity was furthermore repeated in all accessories and fittings to emphasize the design concept throughout the entire look and feel of the product.
While rotomoulding technology is generally applied to produce single, standalone items, the EdgeOut design aesthetically combines two different and rather voluminous blow-moulded items to produce an unrivalled and remarkably functional product as a whole. The polyethylene materials used for the two rotomoulded pods, furthermore, are favoured in industry for its long lifespan in the outdoors, and being high in value as far as recycling goes. Rotomoulding technology also allows for lower material and production costs, as opposed to the higher costs of traditional camper-trailer materials and manufacturing techniques.
Equally impressively equipped
EdgeOut – with the rotomoulded components produced by 4EVR Plastic Products, and manufacturing done by EdgeOut (both companies located in Cape Town, South Africa) – satisfies the requirements of varied camping market demands. It is positioned at the top end of the camping market and offers luxury outdoor accommodation. It is ideal for those not wanting to use bulky caravans any longer, or those who have been camping in tents before, now wanting to enter into the camper-trailer domain.
The camper-trailer’s insulated sleeping cabin features a near-queen-size mattress, as well as an array of cleverly-located overhead cabinets and various shelves and cubbies that provide an abundance of storage space. The tailgate galley provides for a full-width countertop with two slide-out drawers underneath. One drawer accommodates a built-in glass-top dual-burner gas stove, sink faucet and bucket, as well as storage drawers. The other holds a built-in refrigerator or cooler. The trailer also features a microwave oven – rather atypical for a rugged teardrop trailer!
Water is stored in a 110 litre water tank and distributed via a built-in 12 Volt pump. This, together with the trailer’s built-in LED lighting, is powered by a deep-cycle battery. Included is a charging system which can be hooked up to the vehicle, or wired to optional solar panels.
Being of a seamless design, both pods are totally waterproof and dustproof, with the sleeping cabin well-insulated to ensure a quiet and cool interior. It has a low gross weight (below 750 kg) which falls within the legal towing category for light vehicles.
Response from experts in the field
In a letter to EdgeOut announcing the award, Prof. Dr. Peter Zec – Founder and CEO of Red Dot – pointed out that the entry received a distinction in its category, and the fact that the entry emerged victorious from such a strong group of participants, is testimony to the extraordinary quality of the product. This was reiterated by the Red Dot Award Jury which said: “With its innovative construction and distinctive exterior design, the EdgeOut conveys robustness and mobility, and will attract a lot of attention.”
These sentiments are echoed by Herr Oliver Wandres, owner of Maus Gmbh – prominent manufacturers in Germany of rotational moulds for rotomoulding – and also a member of ARM-CE e.V. (the Association of Rotational Moulding Central Europe e.V.) and chairman from 2014-2016 of ARMO (the Affiliation of Rotomoulding Organisations) – when he referred to EdgeOut as “the lighthouse project for rotomoulding in the world!”.
In agreement with this is Prof. Christo Viljoen, OMS, Pr Eng PhD (Eng) – among others, emeritus professor and former Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the Stellenbosch University – who said the following: “As Chairman of the Design Excellence Award judging panel of the Design Institute of the SABS for 30 years from 1982-2012 (Shell Design Award, Cullinan Design Award, disa Design Award), I became acutely aware of the high regard by South African industrial and engineering designers for the Red Dot Design Award, very few of whom managed to receive it. Red Dot is an international confirmation for excellence in design innovation and has been in existence for 67 years. On average only one in ten entries manages to be regarded as worthy to receive the award. The list of former Red Dot Design Award winners reads like a “Who’s Who” in the international design industry, and Retief Krige Industrial Design has now joined this exclusive list!”