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 Now, 40 years on, the Walkman has inspired and subsequently been replaced by a wide range of digital devices, all designed to allow users to enjoy music wherever and whenever they like.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 of the exhibition „Formgiving“ with Bjarke Ingels © DAC

Formgiving: Bjarke Ingels Group Opens Exhibition in Copenhagen

Formgivning – the Danish word for “design” – means to give form to that which as yet has none. In other words: to give form to the future. The title of the large-scale exhibition, which provides a glimpse into the “heart and mind” of Ingels and his architecture, plays with the Danish word: Formgiving: An Architectural Future History from Big Bang to Singularity. The show, which is curated by BIG and the Danish Architecture Center (DAC), is on display at the DAC in Copenhagen until 5 January 2020 and is divided into three sections: the Big Bang, the present and the future. The exhibition’s timeline extends from the Big Bang, roughly 14 billion years ago, to a possible future on Mars. Surrounded by 25 replica BIG projects built out of Lego bricks, visitors are encouraged to dig into a giant pool of the colourful bricks to construct dream worlds of their own. The “Present” section of the exhibition features a miniature city with new projects from around the world. Finally, visitors are presented with a vision of the future and a glimpse of new construction technologies, including 3D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics, which may one day help humans live on Mars.

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,

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
Keita Suzuki, “Wisdom of Insects, Innovation of Human”, © 21-21 Design Sight

Insects as a design model: Exhibition in Tokyo

Bionics has long had an established place in design. Designers and engineers love to make use of the design principles found in nature, which they imitate and apply to their products. From 19 July to 4 November 2019 the 21_21 Design Sight museum will feature an exhibition entitled Insects: Models for Design dedicated to the insect world and what it means for designers. Insects have evolved over a much longer period of time than humans. In this process they have optimised their bodies, patterns and colours, and the function of their limbs and antennae, adapting both their physical characteristics and their social skills to a changing environment. The exhibition provides insight into the mysterious world of these tiny beings, enabling us to explore them as a powerful source of inspiration for design.

1. July 2019
The 65 colors of BASF Automotive Color Trends 2019-20 – ACT/9, © BASF Coatings

Automotive Color Trends 2019/20

Each year the Coatings division from BASF presents the color trends resulting from its trend analysis in its own collection of future color inspirations for vehicle surfaces in the automotive industry. For 2019/20 the Automotive Color Trends are characterised by progressive digitalisation and the associated personalisation, as well as the active participation of individuals in shaping the future. Varied color tones and saturation levels highlight an open attitude towards progress through digitalisation, color concepts for the mobility of the future convey a warmer, more accessible impression, and metallic tones reflect the increasing desire for fundamental change. The color trends are based on the varying needs and developments in the different economic zones: EMEA, Asia-Pacific and North America.