Whereas the Ludwig Forum Aachen’s focus is contemporary art, since March 2017 the museum has giving floor space over to contemporary designers and the project LuForm. The Design Department; thereby not only increasing the scope of the museum but also offering designers from the region a new platform.

LuForm @ Ludwig Forum Aachen

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……….?

Hochschule München Design Department

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……

Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe

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….

Akademie für Gestaltung der Handwerkskammer Münster

Owing to the unique nature of Berlin’s history and geopolitical relevance, the (hi)stories of all the city’s cultural institutions are invariably complex. And the number of such institutions greater than in most comparable metropoli*. Few other cities can boast, for example, two public zoos, three public operas or four public universities. And while three of Berlin’s universities offer individual courses in subjects such as architecture, theatre studies or music, there is only one which offers an education in all such genres. And in design: The Universität der Künste Berlin.

Universität der Künste Berlin Design Department

Summer traditionally sees a fall off in the number of new exhibitions opening, the 2017 drought is however especially hard, so much so that we can only find four recommendations. Either the global museum community assume we’re all at the beach, and thus not interested, or expect the world to end in September and so don’t see the point in new exhibitions.

It is a little unclear.

However, not only are we interested, but it takes a little more than the threat of an imminent apocalypse to keep us away from an interesting exhibition ….  our recommendations for August 2017 with new exhibitions in Zürich, Copenhagen, Moscow and Weimar.

5 New Design Exhibitions for August 2017

The Hochschule Wismar is an institution we have wanted to visit for a long time; and no, not just because it means a trip to the Baltic Coast and the historic Hanseatic port, but much more for despite being in no respect the largest design school in Germany, it is one of the most present: from Milan to Berlin to Cologne hardly a design week passes without Wismar.

And so we wanted to understand the school a little better. Which is of course one of the stated aims of our 2017 #campustour, developing a better understanding of contemporary design education and those schools responsible.

The thought of a Sunday afternoon on the Baltic Coast admittedly didn’t make the decision any harder…..

Hochschule Wismar Faculty of Design

As an institution London’s Royal Albert Hall teaches us that regardless how illustrious and prestigious your history may be, you can never rest on your laurels, you are only ever as relevant and interesting as your next programme, as your next soloist..

With the 2017 Graduate Show the Royal Albert Hall’s next door neighbour, the equally illustrious and prestigious, Royal College of Art unveiled its 2017 programme and 2017 soloists.

But would there be a standing ovation…

Royal College of Art, London Darwin Building. Home of the Design School

Although older than Bauhaus Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle has arguably never achieved the same popular acclaim as its fêted near neighbour.

Is however still in existence, and thus need not live on its laurels, but rather can continually develop its legacy through the efforts and ideas of its staff and students.

The 2017 annual summer exhibition provided insights into the contribution made, and being made, by the current crop……..

Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle: The Goldbau

Somewhat disappointingly the authorities in the southern German town of Schwäbisch Gmünd have succumbed to the current unicorn lunacy and placed one in the town’s coat of arms.

But could the design students at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd be relied upon to resist such short term fads?

The 2017 Rundgang summer exhibition provided the answers…….

Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd @ Rektor-Klaus-Straße

The donkey, dog, cat and cockerel featured in the Brothers Grimm’s retelling of the traditional folktale Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten never made to it to Bremen, never worked as musicians, and thus never enriched the cultural heritage of the Hansa port.

But would any of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen’s 2017 Integrated Design graduates augment the city’s long history?

Would any rise to the post of Bremer Stadtkreativen……?

Hochschule für Künste Bremen (Photo Hochschule für Künste Bremen)

Sited in the gentile calm of Pimlico, Chelsea College of Arts sits between the independent free-thinking of the Tate Britain, the original Tate with its collection of British and international art from 1500 until today, and the state control and surveillance of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, in their unobtrusive bunker on the opposite bank of the Thames

But where would the conformity/rebellion equilibrium be found amongst the current crop of Chelsea students…….

Chelsea College of Arts, London. Tate Britain on the left, the College builing on the right

The 18th century forebearer of the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart was established as a location “where the youth can be cultivated, likes plants in a nursery”

While nurseries can produce strong and noble trees, flowers with the most exquisite blossoms and hardy perennials that keep on contributing to their environment, they are also often home to unstable experimental hybrids and provide the perfect breeding ground for parasites and disease.

How well the current Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart nursery is being maintained could be assessed at the 2017 Rundgang summer exhibition……

Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart

Once upon a time there lived in Cassel two brothers by the name of Grimm. Legend has it that one day Jacob and Wilhelm, for that was their names, travelled to Marburg to become wealthy lawyers; however, instead of learning the basics of Roman law, jurisprudence and how to write huge invoices, they spent their days with the witches, kings, queens and elves of northern European folktales.

The people of Cassel were angry when the heard of the brothers’ activities, and a large crowd gathered to meet them on your return.

“Why do you waste your days with this romantic nonsense?”, they demand, for they were very aware of the cultural context of the period.

“It’s not romantic nonsense”, the brothers protested, “rather these stories contain the wisdom of previous generations, wisdom our current age has forgotten, yet which could help us not only better understand our current age, but also help us prepare for future ages.”

And then a wolf ate them.

Romantic dreamings? Contemporary reinterpretations of tradition? Or just autonomous vehicles and Apps that tell when you’ve had too much to drink or help you identify wicked stepmothers from their social media activity, what future folklore would the 2017 Kunsthochschule Kassel Rundgang present……

Kunsthochschule Kassel @ Rundgang 2017Kunsthochschule Kassel @ Rundgang 2017

Few materials can have claimed to have influenced architecture and design in quite the way plywood has.

And thereby remained as anonymous as plywood, easily overlooked in public and barely researched in an academic context as it is.

With the exhibition Plywood: Material of the Modern World, the V&A Museum London aim to redress both.

Plywood: Material of the Modern World at the V&A London

In addition to visiting design schools and viewing the students works we also want to use our 2017 #campustour to gather impression on contemporary European design education from those directly involved, on both the student and the teaching sides.

If, as we are so fond of repeating, the works the students produce are secondary to how they got there, not only are the views of those people who help them get there important, but also how the students experienced the trip.

We can’t speak with everyone, it would arguably be dull if we did, but we do hope to bring a mix of differing and interesting voices, starting with Peter Barker, Head of Industrial Design and Director of Education, at Design School Kolding.

Peter Barker, Head of Industrial Design, Design School Kolding (Photo: Katrine Worsøe, courtesy Design School Kolding)

Jokes about revolting students are as old as the noble art of the student protest itself.

And neither has lost any of their charm.

The 2017 Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig Rundgang was held against the backdrop of a student protest over new regulations concerning, amongst other aspects, how and when the school buildings and workshops could be used.

But would there also be protest from our side over the way the students had used the buildings and workshops……..?

Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig

One of our standard claims is that whereas Dutch designers, generally, work conceptually, Belgian designers, generally, realise much more practical projects.

With the exhibition Occupation:Designer MAD Brussels present a small snippet of contemporary Brussels creativity, yet a presentation broad enough to convincingly contradict our position. And serve as a warning of the inherent dangers of sweeping generalisations.

Occupation:Designer, MAD Brussels

German designer Klaus Hackl’s understanding of design is one based on the principle of evolution not revolution, of understanding the context in which a project arises, and of the value, and logic, of craft processes and craft scale production. And of the value, and logic, of craft processes and craft scale production augmented by digital technology.

Keen to learn more, we met up wit Klaus Hackl in Munich….

Flare by Klaus Hackl for Hausgenossen (Foto Eva Jünger, courtesy Klaus Hackl)

As part of their 50th anniversary celebrations Design School Kolding are staging the exhibition Beyond Icons – New perspectives on design, a showcase of 50 objects which presents a very personal interpretation of good design and thereby challenges popular conventions.

Beyond Icons - New perspectives on design at Koldinghus, Kolding

The Cass is situated in London’s Whitechapel, not far from the East London Mosque and in an area long a centre of London’s Muslim community. The day we visited the Cass Summer Show it was Eid al-Fitr, a festival of family, feasts and finery. The narrow streets of Whitechapel awash with smartly attired, good humoured locals, or possibly just smartly attired locals high on sugar, for Eid al-Fitr is also a festival of sweetness at the end of Ramadan.

Cakes and sweets as far as the eye could see. And far, far beyond.

But would we find any bonbons in the Cass Summer Show…….

Central House, home of the Cass, London

“What are you going to do this summer, Amory?”, Tom D’Invilliers asks of Amory Blaine in F Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise.

“Don’t ask me”, comes the somewhat languid reply, “same old things, I suppose. A month or two in Lake Geneva — I’m counting on you to be there in July, you know — then there’ll be Minneapolis, and that means hundreds of summer hops, parlor-snaking, getting bored…..”

Sorry Amory, but you’ll have to survive the magnificence of Lake Geneva on your own, would have been our response. We’ve got new design and architecture exhibitions in London, Berlin, New York and Holon to visit!

But we’ll definitely catch up with you afterwards in Minneapolis for a bit hopping and parlor-snaking…….

5 New Design Exhibitions for June 2017

Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue…..

Life is so simple as a child.

Yet whereas in almost all other respects the progression to adulthood is one of simplicity to complexity, in terms of our understanding of colour we never lose our inner child.

With the exhibition Breathing Colour at the Design Museum London the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius encourages us to sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow new.

Noon colour catchers, as seen at Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius, London Design Museum

In our recent interview with the Danish designer and author Thomas Dickson, he discussed the relevance of 1968 as a year of revolution in Danish design. Founded in 1967 Design School Kolding grew up against the background of that revolution.

An indication as to if that spirit lives on as the institution celebrates its 50th could be found at the 2017 Design School Kolding graduation exhibition.

Koldinghus Kolding. Location for New Perspectives on Design. Design School Kolding Graduate Exhibition 2017

She came from Greece, had a thirst for knowledge, studied sculpture at St Martins College and, according to Jarvis Cocker, had no understanding of the brutal realities of late 1980s British society.

Thirsty to know if the 2017 Central St Martins design graduates were more grounded in their contemporary reality, our 2017 #campustour headed to North London….

Central St Martins,London. The Granary