Stephan Ott © René Müller, Stuttgart

Institute for Design Research and Appliance. A new foundation

In recent years, the field of design research has become established internationally as an academic discipline of increasing importance – especially at design universities. At present we do not have sufficient data to confirm just to what extent the findings from research are being incorporated into the practice of design, especially within companies. On 1 March 2020, in Frankfurt am Main, the German Design Council will launch the Institute for Design Research and Appliance (IfDRA). The purpose of this new organisation will be to explore the dynamic relationship between practical requirements in design and the findings from research, with the ultimate aim of strengthening the understanding of design as a core discipline in the strategic development of products, brands and services. Stephan Ott, who served as chief editor of the design magazine form from 2012 until the beginning of this year, will manage the new institute. In addition to the goal of strengthening the status of design as an independent discipline in both theory and in practice, Ott also sees the institute as serving the integral function of linking together the various emerging interest groups within the world of design. “I’m convinced that we aren’t even close to having fully utilised the potential offered by the transfer of design science findings into practical applications, and the transfer of practical needs into the area of research,” says Ott. Lutz Dietzold, Managing Director of the German Design Council, sees the founding of the institute as a qualitative broadening of the Council’s role: “The institute provides yet another opportunity within our range of services to enhance the status of design, in the interests of our clients and Foundation members, as an independent discipline within the field of culture, economy and politics.”

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