As part of the MCBW, the German Design Day presented the proposal for a “Design Policy for Germany”. According to the umbrella organisation, this will create “an initial basis for an agreement between the government, business associations and the design industry” “in order to make comprehensive use of the potential of design for social development and economic prosperity”. Entirely in the spirit of design promotion, which the German Design Council has been pursuing since its founding in 1953, the Design Day invites its own, but also other industries, to a constructive discourse, in order to, as it says, “build on this together with politics to replicate what has long been common practice in countries such as Ireland, Finland and Switzerland: a profitable use of design as a resource”.
The proposal for a “Design Policy for Germany” states that design “is one of the key global disciplines of the coming decades”. In this sense, “top competence in all design disciplines is particularly relevant for Germany, also in an economic sense”. As a “globally renowned region of origin of high-quality products and innovations”, Germany “urgently needs to build up a lead in its design competence that further justifies this special positioning”. This requires a fundamentally new strategy for the cultural and creative industries in Germany as well as the understanding and acceptance of design as a relevant means of shaping all social contexts – from the economy to culture to civil society. At the end of the text, Germany must become “a country that shows in an exemplary way how design maintains and enhances the future viability and quality of life of people and sensibly develops the functionality of all infrastructures.
The president of Design Day, Boris Kochan, referred in his contribution to the gap between the long existing strategic use of design on the one hand – and the lack of awareness in politics on the other. Design sits “anyway – and gladly! – between all chairs”. Kochan demanded that there should be “a strategy agreed between the industry and the government in Germany as soon as possible on how Germany can continue to live up to the qualitative reputation of ‘Made in Germany'”.
Mike Richter, President of the German Design Council, also welcomed the Design Day initiative for a “Design Policy for Germany”. In this context, he recalled the close and, in retrospect, quite successful intertwining of design and politics at the beginning of the 20th century. As prominent examples, he mentioned the Werkbund and the Bauhaus, behind which there had also been a political guiding principle in its beginnings. This later became visible again in the creation of his own institution: “When the German Design Council was founded 70 years ago, it was a political act: all parties represented in the Bundestag at that time considered design to be essential for the development of the young Federal Republic – and passed the foundation with only one dissenting vote. It is urgently time to revive such an understanding!”
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