(smow)summer tour 2010: Three exhibitions and a funeral.

Summar tour 2010 review

(smow)summer tour 2010 review

Although very short the (smow)summer tour 2010 was certainly worth the effort.

Its always worth the effort to visit an annual exhibition at a design school. Our primary focus was, logically, the product and industrial design work, but we did also take the opportunity to visit the other departments. And wherever one goes and whatever one views, you will always find something that strikes a chord or otherwise inspires you.

Often in the most unexpected departments.

Which is why we can always recommend such an exhibitions.

Lacking the creativity to come up with our own format for a quick “end of season summary”, we’ve stolen that from the Universität der Künste 2nd semester “Design-Grundlagen” course. Sorry, we’ve let ourselves be inspired by the Universität der Künste 2nd semester “Design-Grundlagen” course

All time-favourite – What we liked best:

Aside from an ingenious project in Weimar which we sadly cannot discuss, photograph or mention – it is however brilliant, and remember where you just about heard it first – the best moment of the summer tour came at the very end as we sat in our ICE back to Leipzig and let the experiences of the past four days mix with one another. The seagulls head in Weimar, the cafe at the UDK Berlin, the 3D photography at Burg Giebichenstein, the bath in Weimar, the stage design at Weissensee, the candles at UDK, the porcelain newspapers at Burg Giebichenstein, the prototypes at Weissensee, the humourless, hairless, neckless bouncers at Burg Giebichenstein. Sounds like a cliche, is a cliche but it was lovely.

Personal Disaster – What I want to avoid in the future:

The opening of the Burg Giebichenstein Exhibition 2010

The opening of the Burg Giebichenstein Exhibition 2010

The Burg Giebichenstein “Exhibition Opening”. We left the Volkspark Gallery at 7pm after having viewed the art exhibition around 20 times: and as it was clear that nothing other than chummy backslapping was likely to happen. As we headed home the que outside wound its way through the garden. No entry for the public before 7:30 – despite the alleged 6:30 opening.

6.30 of course being for the invited Halle VIPs, but why bother telling the public that.

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. As it were.

So a badly organised and for all badly marketed “Exhibition Opening” is simply unacceptable and not something we’re daft enough to repeat.

Next year we’ll just have to fit Burg Giebichenstein in on the Saturday or Sunday; because Burg Giebichenstein is worth the trip and remains one of our favourite design colleges

The college website will sadly remain the unusable, “Emperor’s New Clothes 2.0” that it is – because no one will have the bravery to bin it – but we know that the students will continue to be well taught and to produce work of a high standard. And that’s what interests us. Not the champagne and finger food.

Whack on the head – When the penny dropped:

The Palast der Republik in Berlin opend in 1976. We suspect that was also the last year the UDK Berlin was renovated.

The Palast der Republik in Berlin opened in 1976. We suspect that was also the last year the UDK Berlin was renovated.

Less a penny dropping per se and more the realisation of the huge funding differences in German design education.  As we strolled round the Bauhaus University Weimar campus one of our party could be heard repeatedly muttering ” Its all been paid from our taxes!” And indeed the buildings were, in general, immaculate and we didn’t get the impression much attention had been paid to the costs when renovating. We believe its called a “Prestige Project”.

The Unviversität der Künste in Berlin remains locked in 1976. Not only is that the last time we suspect the corridors of the design department in Strasse des 17 Juni were painted; the building smelt like educational establishments smelt in 1976. And not just the buildings. The workshops at the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee had modern machines, but not in the numbers that Weimar can boast.

The choice of which design school you visit is largely based on the course on offer and the teachers/professors with whom you will learn. That said just because you would rather study industrial design in Berlin with Professor Axel Kufus rather than Product Design with Professor Heiko Bartels in Weimar, doesn’t mean you should be expected to put up with worse conditions. Or retro-aromas.

The schools themselves aren’ the problem, rather those who organise ther funding. Obviously we don’t have a solution for the problem, co-operations with commercial partners may help finance individual classes, but are no long term solution.

That was the (smow)summer tour 2010

The autumn tour 2010 will take us to Copenhagen, London, Vienna and Brussels.

But more later.

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