We’ve long considered it an absolute cheek that German high-speed ICE trains stop in Hildesheim. Nothing against Hildesheim, but when one considers other cities in Germany where ICEs don’t stop, or stop with an almost insulting (in)frequency, coupled to the closeness of Hildesheim to more major centres and their ICE hubs, it always seemed as if Hildesheim was being unfairly favoured by Deutsche Bahn.
That was until we wanted to visit the Hochschule für angewandte Kunst Hildesheim’s Summer Graduation Exhibition, then the ICE stop made perfect sense, was a clear and logical piece of planning, something civilised society couldn’t conceivably exist without…..
And the projects on show at the 2108 Hildesheim Summer Graduation Exhibition…….?
The Proclaimers may have rightly celebrated the virtues of the Sunshine on Leith, but on the day we visited the 2018 Degree Show at Edinburgh College of Art’s School of Design the city was very much in the grip of a North Sea haar which had drifted, unhelpfully, up the Firth of Forth.
Or was it perchance an omen?
Would that which greeted us in the exhibition be equally as nebulous, cold and opaque……..?
Whereas Frankfurt can, and very loudly does, claim to the birthplace of the German poet, playwright, scientist, statesman, etc, etc, etc Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, nearby Offenbach was not only the birthplace of his almost wife and long, long time love Lili Schönemann, but it was in the, then, relative, calm of Offenbach that Goethe’s affections for Lili evolved and grew; “Lili was the first person I deeply and truly loved, and maybe she was the last”, an octogenarian Goethe is reported as having confided to a friend.
Would however we return from the 2018 Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach Rundgang with such a deep, enduring love….? With our own Lili……?
The building which Central Saint Martins calls home was erected in 1852 as store for grain arriving from Lincolnshire and awaiting its further distribution to London’s bakers.
Was, if you like, a transfer point, a hub, a location where general ideas became specific solutions, a place industry and trade called upon when needing raw materials for their latest project, a source for those whose work helped support and nourish the populace, a central institution in the development of the city and one, thereby, directly related to the immediate needs and interests of society.
We’re sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere, somewhere, but where…….? Would a visit to the 2018 Central Saint Martins’ Degree Show help us locate it…….?
The Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Basel’s Institute Industrial Design is sited in the city’s Dreispitz district, a name derived from the district’s (roughly) triangular form, and a term which translates into English as “cocked hat”
But would the work of the Institute’s students see conventional ideas, wisdoms and understandings knocked into a Dreispitz…..
In October 2017 the Design Department of the Folkwang Universität der Künste Essen moved into its new home, the so-called Quartier Nord designed by Stuttgart based MGF Architekten.
The 2018 Folkwang Summer Rundgang therefore not only offered an opportunity to explore the work undertaken by institute’s students in the semester past, but also to explore their new home…….
Tracing its history back to 1899 the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design a.k.a The Cass has an established place in the (hi)story of English design, for all in woodcraft based design including toys, music instruments and furniture.
But as we all know a long history and illustrious alumni are poor hooks on which to hang the future of an institution, much more robust are the current staff, students and their work.
The 2018 Cass Summer Show allowed some insights into the contemporary Cass……
Our visit to the 2018 Glasgow School of Art Degree Show occurred before the recent fire, indeed this post was all planned to go, then came news of the fire … and it seemed appropriate to wait.
But not to archive it away altogether, for tragic and destructive as the fire unquestionably was, an art/design/architecture school is its staff and students and ideas and visions and understanding of the world. Not the bricks and mortar that surround it.
Even if those bricks and mortar were arranged by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
And so with reflections on what has been lost, but our eyes still firmly on the future…..
Lilla torg, the square in Malmö old town which the Form/Design Center calls home, traces its history back to Malmö’s hanseatic days, the former market of yore having evolved over the centuries to become one large open air food court, bordered as it is on all sides by restaurants, bars and coffee shops, which spill gregariously out into the ever narrowing square.
The functional, ordered, democratic supply of provisions, having become a self-satisfying celebration of the same.
What would Émile Zola say?
And would the projects on show at the Form/Design Center’s 2018 Vårutställning – Spring Exhibition – of student graduation projects help lighten his humour…..?
Whoever thinks of Switzerland thinks of Swiss clockwork, Swiss railways, Swiss chocolate, Swiss precision.
It’s therefore all the more surprising that Dada has its European origins in Switzerland, and for all in the legendary Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich.
But would the 2018 Zürcher Hochschule der Künste graduates prove as anarchic, confrontational, spirited and revolutionary in their creativity……..?
19th century Sheffield was the City of Steel; as one of the major centres of steel and steelware in the British Empire, Sheffield was not only important in the evolution of functional-decorative & decorative-functional tableware, personal and household accessories, but also one of technical innovation, for all the development in the city of stainless steel revolutionising global product design and architecture.
20th century Sheffield was one of the main centres for the development and evolution of UK music; the collapse of the steel industry in the second half the 20th century seeing artists as varied as, and amongst many others, The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Def Leppard or Pulp making prudent use of the post-industrial cityscape, and for all the availability of post-industrial space for rehearsing, to develop their individual soundscapes.
21st century Sheffield is home of the World Snooker Championship.
But would the 2018 graduation projects from design students at the Sheffield Institute of Arts see them pot the reds then, screw back, for the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black? Or would they miscue and go in-off…………?
Anchored next to the Göta älv Bridge in Gothenburg is a decommissioned ferry. Repurposed as a car park.
While in no way a substitute for an integrated urban transport concept that reduces our dependence on the car, it is a really nice example that recycling, reusing and reappropriating isn’t just something for designers, is also a subject for architects and urban planners. And by extrapolation, us all.
Suitably motivated we scaled and crossed the Göta älv Bridge and made our way the 2018 HDK Gothenburg Degree Exhibition.
While others spend their summers’ holidaying with families, barbecuing with friends or pretending to read novels on the balcony, at the beach and/or in the local park, we travel Europe visiting design school summer exhibitions and subsisting exclusively from falafel. It’s a curious, idiosyncratic, slightly tragic, way to spend your life, but it’s the one we’ve chosen, is in many regards the only road we’ve ever known. And so, as May’s warmth ceded to the heat of June, we made like Whitesnake…. Here We Go Again.
Our 2018 #campustour kicked off in Stockholm, a city as closely related with the Hanseatic League as smow, and specifically at Konstfack, Sweden’s largest and oldest art/craft/design school.
As with all creative professions, design is something into which one grows, where over time your position to it develops and evolves until such time as you reach a place where you are comfortable with what you are doing and why. Sure one starts of under the impression you understand design, the wise quickly realise they don’t, step back, reconsider, listen, observe, reconsider, experiment, listen, observe, reconsider, experiment and slowly but surely form their own position to and understanding of design, ultimately arriving at Bob Dylan’s realisation that “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”
An important, though not necessarily essential, step on that process is design school, a place for experimentation, observation, discourse and statics, and a place to come into contact experienced designers of various hues: consequently, when out and about on our #campustour we not only explore the student projects and consider underlying themes and priorities, but also speak to those responsible for design education, including Helmut Jakobs, who for neigh on three decades guided design students at the FH Aachen.
It is arguably just us, but we firmly believe that there are ever more design students studying ever more design degrees in ever more design schools, which (potentially) means ever more designers. In itself no bad thing: assuming that is that what they learn is relevant for the ever evolving nature of not only the design profession, but the society they will/should serve.
To better gauge the current situation of design education in Europe we embarked in 2017 on our #campustour, an ongoing exercise which involves not only visiting design schools but for all speaking to some of those responsible for teaching the coming generation of designers.
Among them Professor Florian Petri from the Department of Design at the Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften München.
Just as the Eamsien adage proclaims that “the details are not the details; they make the product”, so too are a design school’s teaching staff not the teaching staff, they make the school.
Consequently, it follows that to better understand not only an individual institution, but also both the wider contemporary condition, and possible future directions, of design education, it is important to talk to, and understand, design school teaching staff; both those full-time Professors, and also those practising designers who have accepted the responsibility of instructing future generations.
Practising designers such as Patrick Frey, Assistant Professor at the Hochschule Hannover.
On our recent #campustour we didn’t only view the students’ works, and chat to students about their works, we also spoke to members of the design schools’ teaching staff about their motivations, methods, experiences and views on contemporary design eduction.
Ultimately if you want to understand contemporary design education, you have to understand contemporary design educators.
Whereby one of the peculiarities of design eduction is that any given school’s staff is a mix of full time staff members and practising designers who teach selected courses, or in the case of designer Peter Marigold a whole Studio, the central teaching concept at the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, or the Cass London as it more familiarly known.
Much like the aardvark, or Alvar Aalto, Aachen is always likely to find itself at the top of any alphabetical list.
But aside from such orthographic deceit, would the FH Aachen be at the top of our #campustour list…….?
Although Bauhaus originally opened in Weimar, the Bauhaus most people understand as Bauhaus is Bauhaus Dessau.
But can the students of the Bauhaus University Weimar reclaim “Bauhaus” for Weimar?
The Bauhaus University Weimar’s annual Summaery exhibition offered a chance to learn more…..
According to the Chinese philosopher Laozi “a journey of 1,000 li begins with a single step”.
For a journey of 20,000 li that step is onto a bus to Malmö…. and is followed by a succession of trains, boats, planes and trams. If sadly not Laozi’s preferred mode of transport, the water buffalo.
While there are still a few #campustour posts to come, for now the rucksacks have been hung up, the red travellin’ socks are, finally, in the wash and we can start to try to take stock….
Without wanting to in any way detract from the work undertaken by Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee students in the past year, a highlight of our visit to the 2017 Rundgang summer exhibition was the thunderstorm which broke while we there. Calling it biblical would be to trivialise the ferocity with which it smit the day asunder, turning in its fury the Bühringstraße in front of the school into a Bühring Straits. And the first of three storms which broke over Berlin in quick succession, almost sinking the German capital.
Magnificent, imposing and a joy to behold. But would the 2017 Rundgang also make such a positive and lasting impression……..?
Visiting the 2017 end of year Werkschau exhibition at the Peter Behrens School of Arts, Düsseldorf we were greatly reminded of the school’s eponym’s own time in Düsseldorf.
If not for the reasons one might assume…….
In 2018 the Hochschule München Design Department will move a few hundred metres round the corner from its current home, a home it has occupied for over forty years, to a new purpose built facility opposite the main college building; consequently, the 2017 Jahresausstellung was one of the last chances to experience the Design Department in its original location.
But was it a presentation worthy of the moment, a fitting au revoir to an old friend……….?
Established in 1992 the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe was conceived from the off as a design school for coming realities, for a world we don’t yet know.
But is that a world of smart, autonomous apps? A world of intelligent and considered applications of evolving technology? Of the craft of yore? The 2017 Rundgang durch die Lichthöfe summer exhibition was a chance to glean some clues……
While it’s certainly true that without having been introduced to the work of Akademie für Gestaltung der Handwerkskammer Münster alumni Florian Kallus and Sebastian Schneider a.k.a design studio kaschkasch, we probably wouldn’t pay that much attention to the Akademie, that introduction was pre-kaschkasch: a project from Florian at DMY Berlin 2010 and one from Sebastian at IMM Cologne 2011. And yes we are blowing ever so gently on our own trumpet. If at the same time terrifying ourselves by the thought of just how long we’ve locked in this death spiral.
But being aware of the Akademie für Gestaltung der Handwerkskammer Münster, our 2017 #campustour couldn’t not visit their Finale graduation exhibition….