(smow)summer tour 2010: Universität der Künste Berlin, Rundgang 2010

Who needs architechts anyway?

Who needs architects anyway?

Following the disappointment of Burg Giebichenstein it seemed that Urðr, Shai and Nortia had once again collectively abandoned us as we strove northwards through the rain and thunder towards Berlin.

Alone the fact that we were unwittingly party to that age old eastern Germanic ritual of the summer migration to the Baltic Sea keeping our mood high.

From Berlin Hbf the transient throng continued on to Rostock, Warnemünde and the other traditional Sachsen summer feeding grounds on the Baltic coast, and we headed to Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Where we were relieved to find the Gods of Fate enjoying a cup coffee in the UDK student cafe.

The principle focus of the Universität der Künste Berlin Rundgang 2010 was semester projects.

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Der Trockenschirm by Janja Maidl at the Universität der Künste Berlin

A selection of the diploma projects was on display on the landings; although somewhat regrettably not all diploma projects. “Jack” by Julia Reischel and “Qabel” by Philipp Frank being just two of the projects we liked the look of, but which we sadly only saw on paper and not en persona.

The semester projects themselves were generally fairly restrictively set. On the one hand a legitimate method to focus the concentration of the students; however, we did occasionally have the feeling that the projects had been a little too heavily shoehorned to match the demands of commercial partners.

The cooperation between design schools and commercial partners being a subject we will discuss at a later date.

And so whereas projects such as the candle design class “Light my Fire” or “Lichten” which posed the question “How much illumination does a light need?” produced a couple of interesting results; for us they were much more about observing and understanding the learning process.

A particularly delightful visualisation of the learning process being the questionnaire all students of the class “Industrial Design Basics” had completed. Through naming their favourite project, their personal disaster and the moment when “the penny dropped” one could clearly see several similarities between the  new design students. The most common problems being starting too late with the preparation and not properly prototyping and modelling a concept before starting to produce. Consequently the exhibition to the class was less relevant than the noticeboard in the corridor.

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Sno by Louise Unbekannt at Universität der Künste Berlin

In an otherwise highly informative and very enjoyable exhibition we found nothing that one could truly class as innovation, and only found one class – Rapid Up -where we could see any real commercial potential.

With Sno, Louise Unbekannt has developed a wonderful Moormann-esque coat rack/clothes hanger: Three curved pieces of wood that slide into and support one another. Not only has “Sno” a wonderful geometry, but also a couple of nice little details that indicate the talent behind the design.

Mesa Portador by Ben Raubold also appeared to have its origins in Aschau in Chiemgau. Although we liked the idea of the table supports that can be used at two different heights what we really excited us was the further development.

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Mesa Portador by Ben Raubold at Universität der Künste Berlin

Portador is Spanish for carrying/bearing as in weight – does however also conjures up the concept of portable.

If Ben can develop the design so that it all the components can be locked together flat, thus allowing easy transport then we can imagine a few very practical uses for Mesa Portador.

As we say apart from these two works we saw very little in terms of “products”: but that shouldn’t be understood as criticism. The tone of the exhibition was very much about showing the development of the students and how the students learn – and in such cases you don’t expect “products” but “ideas” and “possibilities”. And they were as plentiful as sunburnt Sachsen on Warnemünde beach.

A further highlight awaited us in front of the main UDK building in the Hardenberg Strasse.

A wind turbine created from old oil drums.

We don’t know any more as the information board was missing.
We assume that such constructions can be found on a hundred thousand smallholdings in India and Africa. Indeed we hope so.

The concept however being the first thing in Berlin that had really inspired and motivated us.

A selection of photos from the Universität der Künste Berlin Rundgang 2010 can be found on (smow)flickr

And so after a highly enjoyable and entertaining day at the Universität der Künste, we headed north east to the Berlin Weißensee Kunsthochschule Rundgang 2010.

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