New barbell design for Les Mills wins international award

Press Release – Les Mills
The innovative power of 4ormfunction impressed the 37-member jury of experts for the “red dot award: product design 2013” with their SmartBar™ design for Les Mills International.

The international “Red Dot Design Award” which dates back to 1955 and is organised by Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Germany is amongst the world’s most prestigious design awards.

Those who succeed in winning over the renowned experts in the field can decorate their product creation with the “red dot” and position themselves at an international level. A record 4,662 entries from 19 different categories were entered in this year’s competition. Only the best designs were able to win the enthusiasm of the jury, which is how SmartBar™ received the red dot for its successful design creation.

“We are very honoured and proud to have received this award for our latest innovative design” says David Lovegrove, Design Director at 4ormfunction. “To be judged internationally and awarded by our peers is fantastic credit to the team that worked so hard on the project and re-affirms that the quality of our design is world class.”

The Les Mills SmartBar™ is a radical and innovative re-design of the traditional barbell and weight plate system. It was designed specifically to enhance the popular Les Mills choreographed group fitness programs across 80 countries and in 15,000 clubs.

“The barbell weights system has not changed much in decades” states Lovegrove. “Fastening weight plates onto a bar is slow and cumbersome, and standard plates used on their own are difficult to hold and control. So we looked at the complete system and developed an ergonomic design that speeds up plate transitions and helps participants maximize their workout. It is world leading and patent pending”.

Les Mills CEO of Enterprises, Vaughan Schwass, points out that the market and user response has been fantastic and this reflects 4ormfunction’s design quality and commitment to undertake a full design process. “Bringing the SmartBar™ to life was a team effort in the truest sense of the word. At Les Mills we’re committed to user-centred innovation and this award reaffirms the blend of cutting-edge design and practicality behind the product which has achieved savings in time, storage and increased usability [by people] on the gym floor,” states Schwass.

The awards ceremony will take place on 1 July as part of the traditional red dot gala.

About 4ormfunction
4ormfunction assist ambitious companies make innovation happen. Our aim is to create strong and sustainable business value through design and strategy. 4ormfunction interdisciplinary teams create compelling products and experiences driving customer engagement and realizing business growth for our clients. Our expertise spans a broad range of industries and we solve challenges from end-to-end for a wide variety of local and international companies. Our roots are proudly New Zealand but we are globally experienced and focussed.

About Les Mills International
Les Mills International is the creator of 13 global group fitness and team-training programs. Millions of participants every week build their fitness in a LES MILLS™ ® class, held across 15,000 licensed clubs in 80 countries around the world. From its base in Auckland, New Zealand, Les Mills renews each exercise-to-music program every three months with new choreography, licensed music and instructor education.

For more information on Les Mills SMARTBAR™, and to watch a quick video, visit

The red dot design award
With the red dot design award, the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen created one of the most internationally acclaimed competitions. The prize, the “red dot”, has established itself worldwide as one of the most sought-after quality marks for excellent design. The Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen displays the award-winning products in the red dot design museum for at least one year.
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