a long tradition in Germany. At the beginning of the 20th century,
Peter Behrens designed products, posters and buildings for AEG, the
electrical goods firm. In 1907 the Deutscher Werkbund was founded with
the purpose of promoting the “refinement of working life through the
combined influence of art, industry and the craft trades”. The Bauhaus,
founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and which existed until 1933, became
world famous. The same is true of the Ulm College of Design, which was
founded in 1953 by Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill. While
it initially followed in the footsteps of the Bauhaus,
it soon pursued concepts of its own and set internationally
acknowledged standards for design during the 15 years of its existence
and strongly influenced many prominent designers.
years, the name Braun was closely linked, especially abroad, with the
concept of German design, which combines functionality with complexity
and technology. Braun design was largely defined by Dieter Rams. Other
German firms set and indeed still set styles with their products:
Wilkhahn in Bad Münder and Vitra in Weil am Rhein for furniture, Lamy
for writing implements and Erco for luminaires.
information age, the importance of design in creating new media is
assuming an ever greater role. Apart from the aesthetic dimension while
deciphering complex information, design plays an important intermediary
role between IT advances and the cultural and social developments.
German Design Council advises and supplies information in matters of
design to trade and industry, cultural institutions as well as the
public. One of the focuses of its activities is presenting German
design outside Germany. On behalf of the Federal Minister of Economics
and Labor it awards the “Federal Prize for Product Design” and on
alternate years the “Federal Prize for Design Promotion”.
addition to the German Design Council there are a range of other design
institutions in Germany. Among the most important are the International
Design Center (IDZ) in Berlin, the “designcenter” in Stuttgart, and the
Essen-based Design Zentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen.
of designers vis-à-vis the political sector and the public are
represented by the German Designer Forum, which among other things
constitutes the Design section of the German Arts Council, the umbrella
organization of the federal arts associations.
German furniture design, but also contemporary
international furniture design in general, appears to be influenced by
a new minimalism, which characterises the work of designers such as
Axel Kufus (born in 1958), Hauke Murken (born in 1963), Vogt +
Weizzenegger (Oliver Vogt, born in 1966 and Hermann Weizenegger, born
in 1963) and Jakob Gebert (born in 1965). The decisive factor here is
not objective reduction, however, but the sounding out of the qualities
of the materials and their inherent creative, functional and technical
intelligent use of new materials and technologies leads to
innovative results, for example, gel furniture (1998) by Werner
Aisslinger (born in 1964). Precisely for this reason, the creative
range in Germany is wide, as is illustrated by comparing the furniture
designs of an industrial designer like Christoph Böninger (born in
1957) with those of the furniture-maker Hubert Matthias Sanktjohanser
(born in 1960), but also by comparing the work of Thorsten Franck (born
in 1970), Sven-Anwar Bibi (born in 1971) and Kay Thoss (born in 1962).
Today, in a
networked world, it is paradoxical to speak of
exclusively German furniture design. Local or regional design has
become practically non-existent, and the distinctions are becoming
increasingly blurred. German designers are trained in London and draft
designs for Italian companies; German companies produce prototypes by
English designers … the list could be extended indefinitely. Time and
again, however, differences may be discerned. Italian design, which
indulges in forms and colours, differs from German furniture designers’
rather more ascetic, "dryer" designs, with their sometimes complex
Dr Josef Strasser
design is intended to make life easier and more humane
and to raise an awareness of humanitarian issues, counteracting the
tendency towards isolation through media networking. After all, "today
it is easier to send an email halfway around the world than to speak to
Berkenbusch communication design is linked to ethical
standards, for the profession has the possibility to mould and
manipulate consciousness. Design of the form only begins once the
subject has been completely understood and once one can identify
oneself with the fundamental idea of the project. As for example in the
design of a series of posters for sound installations by artists like
Eller, Öldorp, Kuhn and Auinger in buildings on the Potsdamer Platz in
Berlin that have not yet been rented out. Here, designing the artwork
meant converting the work of the artist graphically, without a concrete
piece of work as a starting point. In the first instance this required
studying the works of the artists very closely. Conforming to the
description of the artistic concepts, Ms Berkenbusch then planned an
appropriate graphic design for the room in question portraying
analogies to elements of the work such as light, metal, glass, water,
sound, grass, fire, combustion, heat, etc.
Hans Peter Steiger
maker, I feel a responsibility to ensure my products do
not adversely affect the environment with any unnecessary energy and
material consumption. I compare the implementation possibilities,
narrow them down and consider the relevant elements involved.
Grcic Industrial Design (KGID) was founded in 1991. The
office specializes in various fields of design ranging from furniture
and industrial products to exhibition design and architecture related
upholstered furniture system consists of sofas in a variety of sizes,
with armchairs and without armrests, as well as stools and coffee
corner elements. Clear contours, accentuated through colours or materials, enliven the tranquil design of its surfaces. Clear Contours, accentuated through colors or materials, enliven the tranquil design of its surfaces.
from 1900 to the present. 1600 m2 of floor space. Distinguished Art
and impact of the Bauhaus (1913-1933), one of the most important
schools for architecture, art and design in the 20th century. Extensive
collection focusing on the history of the school and all aspects of its
to preserve the historical legacy of the Bauhaus and communicate it to
the wider public. Also sets out to contribute actively to solving the
design problems of today’s living environment.
of the world’s largest Bauhaus collections. Ca. 500 permanent exhibits
offering an insight into art and its teaching during the Weimar period
specialist and period museum for Art Nouveau, Art Deco and
collection covering the period from 1900 to the present day.One of the
world’s leading museums for 20th century applied art, with c. 45 000
exhibits from the fields of industrial design, graphic design,
photography and the crafts. Subsidiary museums in Nuremberg and Weiden.
collections of textiles, jewellery, applied arts and design.
collection focusing on European crafts. Two exhibition spaces: the
Kulturforum and the Köpenick palace. Collection traces the historical
development of crafts from the middle ages to the present.
the history of crafts through to modern industrial design. Specializes
in Art Nouveau from Dresden and machine-made furniture from the
Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau (German Workshops in Hellerau).
collection dedicated to design, showing European handicraft objects
from the middle ages to the present.
Werkbund (German Association of Crafts). Permanent collections and
temporary exhibitions on the Werkbund and its influence on other
developments in the arts.
Art from the
middle ages to the present, plus a distinguished collection dedicated
to design since 1900.
30 000 exhibits including East Asian art, Islamic and European art,
book arts, crafts and graphic art from the middle ages to the present.
and international crafts from early times to the present-day.
Collection focuses on crafts from the 1920s and 1930s and on ceramics
from the second half of the 20th century.
collection Fashion and Textiles (Mode und Textil) encompasses around
60,000 objects, from archeological grave finds from ancient Egypt to
pieces by Yves Saint Laurent, Wolfgang Joop, Issey Miyake; and pieces
from the museum’s comprehensive collection of textiles and embroidery;
painting and sculpture from the middle ages to the present, with a
collection dedicated to graphic design and an extensive collection of
crafts, including glass work and 20th art and design.
museum for contemporary art focusing on design (exhibits on loan from
the State Museum of Applied Art in Munich) and international
approach. Focus on poster art, as well as on painting, sculpture,
installation art, video art, new media and performance art.
4000 m2 of
floor space, featuring winning products of the ’red dot’ design award.
cultural organization active throughout the world. The museum promotes
and conducts research into design in all its guises, focusing on
furniture and interior design. With archives and a specialist library.
Its Berlin branch is currently closed and is expected to reopen in 2006.
|German Design Museums
Facts about Germany
The Goethe-Institut Germany’s cultural institution operational worldwide.
The Master of Architecture Course.