Villa Schöningen Potsdam: Geblüt – Positions to Design

With the haze that has been mercilessly hanging over Potsdam these last few days finally giving over to an unpleasant background moisture level somewhere between rain and mist, the season for indoor activities has indubitably arrived.

And so it is timeous that the Villa Schöningen in Potsdam is opening a new exhibition celebrating the creativity of graduates from the FH Potsdam Product Design Department.

Curated by current FH Potsdam students under the guidance of Professors Jörg Hundertpfund and Hermann August Weizenegger “Geblüt – Positions to Design” presents works by 33 FH Potsdam graduates, including several (smow)blog favourites such as, for example, Mark Braun, Christoffer Martens or llot llov’s Jacob Brinck. If we understood the organisers correctly, and as ever with us that is not guaranteed, the works on show are intended to represent not only the range of approaches to design and understanding of the designers remit as followed by FH Potsdam students and graduates, but which also reflect and/or tackle current themes in design.

“Some former students present some objects” is obviously not the most interesting or novel of exhibition concepts. And so as with Second Life at Wagner:Werk Vienna the question is, is the exhibition interesting enough to justify a visit?

And as with Second Life the answer is yes.

Villa Schöningen Potsdam Geblüt Positionen zum Design Valerie Otte Christoffer Martens

Valerie Otte and Christoffer Martens, as seen at Geblüt – Positions to Design, Villa Schöningen Potsdam.

Geblüt doesn’t do anything spectacular, but it does the unspectacular very well and in a style that makes the objects and the subjects they purport to discuss accessible and inviting.

The selected objects are presented in six rooms, each room representing a single theme starting with those objects that could be considered as having more of a leaning to art, which break as it were with conventional standards, before moving over serial production in various facets and ending with Jäll & Tofta and Rejon, two collectives of FH Potsdam graduates who have chosen to produce, market and distribute their designs themselves.

It is a very simple concept, unspectacularly staged, yet as we say very effective and which allows one the chance to consider the objects in context of their creation and position in and to the contemporary design canon.

If we did have one criticism it would be that no one seems to be asking if we need all the objects. The assumption is that the designers have achieved something desirable. That they “done good”.

We would question if everything on display really is desirable. If the process of developing the objects can really be justified. Or if the invested resources could have been better utilised.

In such an exhibition, an exhibition that among other goals intends to explore current design questions, it would have perhaps been good to find space to more critically reflect on the necessity of modern product design.

In contrast a particular highlight for us is that in addition to the objects the exhibition organisers conducted short interviews with the participating designers about their, well….. position to design.

The interviews are presented as a strip of wallpaper that runs through the exhibition space and present a fascinating and thought provoking insight into the mindset that stands behind the displayed creativity.

Each designer’s thoughts however are not presented next to their objects.

At first that really irritated us. As in really.

However on reflection it is exactly the right solution as it separates the objects from the designers thoughts and so avoids the trap of the visitor interpreting the exhibited objects solely in context of the designer’s answers and thus negating the rest of the curatorial work.

All of which makes Geblüt a highly informative, entertaining exhibition. And perfect for a dark, dank autumn afternoon.

And certainly more enjoyable than Schloss Sanssouci.

Geblüt – Positionen zum Design runs at Villa Schöningen, Berliner Straße 86, 14467 Potsdam until Sunday February 16th 2014. Full details can be found at

A few impressions. On an administrative note, we were there very early and sadly not all objects were labelled at that point. And so not all objects are labelled in the following photos. Apologies in advance…..

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