News – Archive

29. August 2019
Student design of wooden radio masts, Photo: AG Robeller/TUK

5G Cell Towers for Sustainable Cityscapes

Digitalisation is changing much about the world we live in, not least in our immediate surroundings. With the widespread use of digital devices in particular, the demand for access to uninterrupted, high-speed internet services is on the rise. Ultimately, for mobile devices and their users, this demand for connectivity means more cell towers. The now ubiquitous towers, however, are anything but easy on the eyes, and the visual blight they cast on urban and rural areas alike nearly outweighs their usefulness. Now, architecture students from the University of Kaiserslautern have joined with Finland-based company Ecotelligent to tackle this issue. Their answer: 5G cell towersmade from wood, designed to provide sustainability as well as aesthetic value. The collaborative project, involving Finnish company Ecotelligent which specialises in environmentally-friendly telecommunications towers and systems made from wood, will be presented at the IFA in Berlin from 6–11 September. But that’s not all: the city of Kaiserslautern is also planning to launch a pilot project which will make use of the wooden towers in the city. 


29. August 2019
Meret Fischli, OFF (Observation Failure Filter), © Meret Fischli

Design Biennale Zurich 2019

To play is something we can do alone or with others. It promotes motor skills and social skills, and we can learn from it. As Friedrich Schiller put it: “Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays”. The idea of play is rich and multi-layered, and is part and parcel of design. The theme of this year’s Design Biennale Zurich, the second time the event has been held since 2017, is “Let’s Play Design”. From 29 August to 1 September, numerous exhibitions, projects and creative labs focusing on the topic of play and its interpretations will be showcased in Zurich. One of the event’s main exhibitions will be “Swiss Game Design Lounge”, on display at the Museum of Design, Zurich. The exhibition will be accompanied with a pop-up conference on visionary design concepts and playful processes.


23. July 2019
Der Käfer im Museum of Modern Art in New York beim Event Bye Bye Beetle, © Volkswagen AG
The Beetle at Bye Bye, Beetle in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, © Volkswagen AG 

Bye Bye, Beetle: The final edition

It all began 80 years ago: on 22 June 1934, Ferdinand Porsche received a contract from the Reichsverband der Deutschen Automobilindustrie (Reich Association of the German Automobile Industry) to develop a prototype for a fuel-efficient and inexpensive people’s car, as Adolf Hitler had commanded him to do the previous year. At the end of 1938, several  pilot models of the “KdF car” were produced. Following World War II, production resumed, and the KdF car became the VW Beetle – a symbol of the German economic miracle and the mobility of the post-war period. With over 21 million cars sold, the Beetle was the 20th century’s top-selling automobile worldwide. In 1998, the retro-designed “New Beetle” was introduced. This was replaced in 2011 by a model referred to simply as the “Beetle”, which drew much more heavily from the design of the original automobile. Now, production is also coming to an end for this most recent and final edition. To mark the end of the Beetle era, and to celebrate and bid farewell to this design icon, Volkswagen released two limited edition models in the United States and held an event entitled Bye Bye, Beetle at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


23. July 2019
Foto: die arge lola, © ifa
Photos: die arge lola, © ifa

Life and living in transition: an exhibition in Stuttgart

In an increasingly ageing society in which urban spaces are changing and being ethnically reshaped by the digitalisation of all areas of life and a lack of affordable housing, and in an environment which leaves us wondering what opportunities will remain available to us in the future, many questions arise about life and living in the city: How do we sit? How do we slee? How do we eat? Are designer sofas overvalued? Can we find new ideas for our living environments? Are we prepared to question and rethink conventional ways of living and our ideas about morality? The exhibition entsesselt! Wohn- und Lebenswelten in Zeiten gesellschaftlichen Wandels (Unchaired! Life and Living Environments in Times of Societal Transition), as well as a series of supporting events hosted by the ifa in Stuttgart, aim to explore 100 such questions – seeking answers more from the realm of culture than that of design. The exhibition is open at the ifa Gallery in Stuttgart until 8 September 2019.


23. July 2019
Blick in die Rotunde des New Yorker Guggenheim Museums, © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Foto: David Heald
A view inside the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum in New York © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, photo: David Heald 

Frank Lloyd Wright buildings granted UNESCO World Heritage status

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee announced in early July that eight works designed and constructed in the United States by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the first half of the 20th century have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The committee awarded this recognition to Wright because of his unprecedented use of steel and concrete, his blending of interior and exterior and his organic architecture, which have had a strong impact on architecture worldwide.  The works added to the list include »Fallingwater«, constructed in the Allegheny Mountains between 1935 and 1939 for Pittsburgh-based department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, which first opened in 1959.


23. July 2019
Sharon Gauci, © Good Design Australia
Sharon Gauci, © Good Design Australia

People in design – Award: Sharon Gauci receives Women in Design Award

Amidst the ongoing discussion about the place of women in design, the 2019 Australian Good Design Awards gave out its first ever Women in Design Award, for which there were more than 60 nominations. The award was given to Sharon Gauci. In 2018, Gauci was appointed Executive Director of Industrial Design at General Motors (GM) and now heads a team of 180 creative professionals in North America, Australia, Korea, Brazil and China who are responsible for designing all of the brands produced by one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world. The jury explained that they awarded the accolade to Gauci because of her design accomplishments and, most of all, because of the stance taken by GM in appointing a female designer to such a position in the male-dominated automobile industry.


11. July 2019
Klaus Jürgen Maack © ERCO

People in Design — Obituary: Klaus Jürgen Maack Dies Aged 81

For Klaus Jürgen Maack, becoming managing director of ERCO, the company founded by his stepfather Arnold Reininghaus in 1934, was no easy task – especially at the age of 25. Yet the company Maack took over in 1963 would go on to become the world market leader, not least thanks to his approach based on the attitude “light not lights”. To this day, this has remained Maack’s motto. And it was Maack, too, who in 1974 contacted graphic designer Otl Aicher and asked him to help develop the company’s unmistakable corporate identity. Maack consistently pushed contemporary design in ERCO products, whether they were produced by the company’s own design department or in collaboration with renowned designers and architects. The same was true of the company’s modern architecture, brought to life by international architects under Maack’s leadership. Klaus Jürgen Maack was a popular adjudicator, author and speaker at business and design-related events. In Germany, he was considered an entrepreneur who took a responsible, holistic approach to promoting the development of his company, placing the central focus on design. Maack was honoured many times for his achievements. His accolades included the German Federal Award for Promoting Design (“Bundespreis Förderer des Design”). In 2003 he retired from the company’s operations. On 30 June 2019, Klaus Jürgen Maack passed away at the age of 81 in Lüdenscheid, Germany.


11. July 2019
Sony Walkman © Sony

Exhibition Opens in Tokyo Celebrating 40 Years of Walkman

The 1959 Braun TP1 portable radio and record player, as inventor Dieter Rams proudly keeps reminding us, was actually the first Walkman – and he’s not entirely wrong about that. But it wasn’t until the introduction of the Sony Walkman on 1 July 1979 that portable music began to truly take over. Now, 40 years on, the Walkman has inspired and subsequently been replaced by a wide range of digital devices, all designed to allow users to enjoy music wherever and whenever they like. An exhibition honouring the history and development of the portable music player, entitled Walkman in the Park, is now on display in Ginza Sony Park in Tokyo, Japan. The exhibition includes a 2.5-metre-tall sculpture of the WM-F5, the first “sports” Walkman model, and will remain open to the public until 1 September 2019. More information about the Walkman is also available on the Walkman 40th Anniversary website.


11. July 2019
Visual © Pia Scharler

Human by Machine: An Exhibition in Vienna

How can we make best use of the digital revolution? How can we avoid undesirable developments? What does the digital revolution mean for different areas of design? What are the theories underpinning the digital revolution and what methods already exist? The exhibition Human by Machine, which is on display in the MAK Forum in Vienna until 28 July 2019, presents a range of design projects from students and graduates of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The projects, created in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, are the result of interpretations, interventions and objects developed by interdisciplinary teams on a wide range of topics, including the concept of design, the roles and responsibilities of designers in the 21st century, copyright versus open design, the use of new materials and technologies, the conservation of resources, and design strategies at the interface between humans and machines.


11. July 2019
Junkers F 13 © Gregor Kaluza

Junkers F 13 Relaunch

The world’s first all-metal transport aircraft, the Junkers F 13, is not only celebrating its 100th birthday in 2019 – it’s also getting a remake. The project to remake the Junkers F 13 was initiated by entrepreneur and pilot Dieter Morszeck in 2013. In 2018, Morszeck founded Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Since original drawings and design plans for some parts of the Junkers F 13 no longer exist, Morszeck’s team used laser technology to obtain precise measurements of one of the few remaining original models of the aircraft. Forgotten construction methods and techniques for handling corrugated aluminium also needed to be relearned. The first complete hand-built prototype for the “new” Junkers F 13 took off on 15 September 2016 in Dübendorf. The type certification for the aircraft was awarded in 2018. A second and third model are currently in construction. The anniversary tour for the Junkers F 13 has taken the aircraft to Dessau, among other destinations, where the history of the Junkers aircraft began. Hugo Junkers (1859–1935) was a university professor, researcher, engineer and entrepreneur. Together with chief designer Otto Reuter, Junkers drew on groundbreaking research and development work to create the first passenger and transport aircraft for civilian use: the Junkers F 13. The aircraft featured a closed, heated cabin for four passengers, as well as an open, two-man cockpit. The Junkers maiden flight took place on 25 June 1919 in Dessau. On 13 September of the same year the Junkers F 13 set a new world altitude record, reaching an altitude of 6,750 metres. The F 13 remained in production until the early 1930s, with roughly 360 aircraft built in different variants. The Junkers F 13’s core design features continue to endure in the design and construction of transport aircraft to this day: the F 13’s all-metal construction was revolutionary at a time when aircraft were primarily made of wood and covered with canvas. The newly-developed duralumin alloy made the aircraft strong and weather-resistant, which made it suitable for use in subtropical climates. The F 13 used a range of different water-cooled, inline engines and, later, air-cooled radial engines.


11. July 2019
New leadership: Agnes Schmid, Lilia Glanzmann und Werner Huber (in the gallery of Mark Müller in front of Reto Bollers work „B-18.1“) © Paolo Dutto

People in Design – Personnel: Hochparterre Welcomes New Leadership

Hochparterre has always been a special company. All employees receive the same pay, they all get educational leave, and all company shares are employee-owned. But one question has always remained unanswered: What would happen if co-founder, chief editor and publisher Köbi Gantenbein were to leave? Now, with the introduction of “HP 4.0”, this question has been answered: the company has reinvented itself – all without the boss. With Gantenbein’s now very real departure from the company as chief editor, Hochparterre is now headed by a team of three: Lilia Glanzmann, Werner Huber and Agnes Schmid. But according to Gantenbein, he’s not quite finished: “I will continue writing about landscaping, the Alps and whatever else comes my way. I will continue to handle all sorts of company business. For the time being, I will retain the majority of company shares and will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors and company publisher — and I will continue to do so as long as I have my health, as long as the people at Hochparterre continue to support me, and as long as I still have the imagination and the desire to do so. I now have more time to read, time to spend in the mountains and time to play the clarinet.”  


1. July 2019
Visual of the conference, © Design Observer

Business as usual. (Not.) — Design conference at MIT

Designers create untold masses of products that arise from new technologies — ranging from three-dimensional objects to digital products, right through to artificial solutions. However, this begs the question: Who is paying the price for all this production, and what about human responsibility as a basis for truth, honesty and integrity? This is the question which will be addressed by Design Observer, an American online platform known for tackling the tough questions facing the design industry, in this year’s The Design of Business conference. The Design of Business, with the theme “Business as usual. (Not.)”, will take place at the MIT Samberg Conference Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 14 and 15 September. Four panels of experts entitled “Equity, Engineering, Enterprise and Ethics” will elucidate the present and future of design, technology and culture from a humanistic perspective.


1. July 2019
BMWi, © Cecilie Arcurs, stock.adobe.com

German Federal Ministry of Economics expands innovation funding

To date, funding for innovation from the German Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) has been predominantly the domain of technical projects and expert science assessors. With the newly launched Innovation Programme for Business Models and Pioneering Solutions (IGP) the BMWi has significantly expanded its funding programme, aiming specifically to include non-technical innovations such as digital business models which might also stem from the cultural and creative sectors. The goal of this programme is to remove the barriers that stand in the way of transforming an idea into a commercially viable business, supporting clever ideas, business models and design approaches. Over the next four years the German Federal Government will allocate €25 million in funding to this cause, directed at start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises. The new funding programme is due to begin in autumn. For next year, the Ministry is planning a second campaign aimed in particular at business innovations in the cultural and creative sectors


1. July 2019
John Maeda, © Publicis Sapient

People in Design – Personnel: John Maeda at Publicis Sapient

John Maeda has long been considered one of the most creative and innovative thinkers on the digital design scene. While he was still at the MIT Media Laboratory, his work and his highly regarded publication “Laws of Simplicity” set new benchmarks for designers. After his term as President of the renowned Rhode Island School of Design, Maeda left to make his way in the business world. Initially he worked as a design partner for Kleiner+Perkins, then later as Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion at Automattic. He has also worked as a consultant and board member for Ebay, Sonos, the Smithsonian Design Museum and the Wieden + Kennedy agency. His lectures and his studies, which are freely available to the public, are the source of much discussion and are always highly regarded in the design world. John Maeda is currently Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient, an agency belonging to the Publicis Group which specialises in digital business transformations. His job is to provide ongoing support for the company through his expertise in design and technology.


1. July 2019
Nitzan Cohen, © Universität Bozen

People in Design – Personnel: Nitzan Cohen, Dean in Bolzano

Nitzan Cohen grew up in Israel and completed his studies at the Dutch Design Academy in Eindhoven. He then worked for companies including Siemens and Konstantin Grcic, before starting up his own design studio in Munich in 2007. As well as doing contract work for international companies with a design focus, Cohen also engaged in teaching from an early stage. After a stint teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, holding a professorship in Saarbrücken and appearing as a guest lecturer at the Geneva University of Art and Design, in 2015 he took over the Chair in Product Design in the Faculty of Design and Arts at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. Nitzan Cohen has now been appointed Dean of the Faculty, as successor to Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen. On his appointment, he had this to say: “Both design and art play an important role in how we design and manage our society to create a fairer, more sustainable future. In this process, the ability to make use of design and art to enable innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration is crucial.”


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