Society is changing and we are developing new expectations for everyday objects, our living environment, services and experiences. How do these demands, new technologies and environmental conditions shape the design process? We spoke with experts and jurors of the German Design Awards about design in the 21st century.


Hartmut Raiser, Professor of Interior Design, Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences | RAISERLOPES architects//interior architects

(cover picture, right)

Fridays for Future is everywhere, so maybe it could be time to think about “design for the future”. We must pay special attention to the materials that are used. Are they available locally? Are they renewable resources? Can I recycle or modify the materials afterwards? How long-lived are the products and do I really need them? I believe these questions will become more important than trend-based work in the future.


Left to right: Gemma Riberti, Jutta Werner, Nina Bruun © Daniel Banner

Gemma Riberti, director, WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors

Good design these days must employ a conscientious approach which incorporates the production process, the utilisation of the materials and disposal. Digital transformation is, however, also a driving factor, for example for smart design solutions that are simple and intuitive. That means design can be high-tech and low-tech at the same time, self-explanatory for every user. The realisation of design is also increasingly producing multisensory design products, for example by integrating scents.

Jutta Werner, designer and CEO of NOMAD

Design in the 21st century is the study of things that have always affected us as people, however with the challenges of new living conditions as well as resource scarcity and the rapid development of new technologies. 3D printing, for instance, will lead us to ask if it will be enough to simply send data and have everybody print out the final product at home in the future. There is a real gold rush atmosphere in the air right now and people are trying to figure out what is utopian and what is relevant to the market and development of design. It is an exciting time.

Nina Bruun, designer and founder of Nina Bruun Creative Consultancy

There is a growing focus on environmental thought in the design process. Choose your material carefully, do not use too many resources, use them wisely and conservatively and produce as little waste as possible. These sustainability details are becoming more and more important. Quality also plays a role, of course, since products should be able to be used for as long a time as possible.


Moritz Putzier, middle © Daniel Banner

Moritz Putzier, designer and founder of Studio Moritz Putzier

The challenge in design is increasingly coming down to one question: does it not at some point become enough? Do we really need that one more thing? That is the crucial issue for me as a designer. I can prove that good design makes a difference and can reveal the options there are for designing optimum solutions.


Björn Sorge © Daniel Banner

Björn Sorge, vice president, Experience Design, ProSiebenSat.1 Digital GmbH

Design has always had the task of confronting the problems that people have. That is why the ambition of the designer, while drawing on their experience, must continue to be to cater to the needs of the customer. In this era of artificial intelligence, the designer must also strongly consider data and how it is presented. Where does the data come from and how do I communicate it? Otherwise, what results is drab technology that does not stand out from the rest.


Georg Ruhrmann (at the back) © Daniel Banner

Georg Ruhrmann, deputy head of DESIGNSTUDIO at EDAG Engineering GmbH

Electric vehicles will have a massive influence on automotive design. Just considering the car exterior itself, for instance, it will no longer need a grille or ventilation. The ongoing development of autonomous driving will change the interior starkly, from rotating seats to fold-up steering wheels. There are already many strong concepts for this that are far away from becoming a reality. However, they offer a view of everything that is possible at level 5 – fully autonomous driving. What can be seen here is that people are and will remain the number one creative factor.

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