A new exhibition showcases the next generation of German designers

German Design Graduates

German Design Graduates, a new annual exhibition showcasing student talent from around the country, recently launched at Berlin’s Kunstgewerbemuseum. The debut presentation features 42 standout product and industrial designs from recent grads from 12 German design schools, selected by a jury of experts from over 150 submissions.

The selected student works, which collectively look to design’s role in our current and future worlds, are thoughtfully placed in conversation with 16th-century tapestries and other decorative arts from the Kunstgewerbemuseum’s permanent collection. The GDG pieces tackle eight themes, ranging from transport and public spaces to material exploration, sound and music, and more.

The unconventional forms of Less Eats More encourage us to question our relationship to food. Designed by Carmen Dehning, aka Studio Freed, of University of Fine Arts Saar Image courtesy of GDG
Standout projects include, among others, UDK Berlin grad Sophie Stanitzek’s Aga, a fiber composite material made of algae; HBKsaar graduate Carmen Dehning’s (aka Studio Freed’s) Weniger Isst Mehr (Less Eats More), a conceptually driven, aesthetically beautiful but unexpected tableware set that asks users to rethink “our current handling of food;” BURG Halle grad Marcel Bohr’s Tug Tent, featuring a simple mechanism that allows the tent to open with just a gentle pull of fabric; piPE, a new toilet for women by UdK Berlin grad Marie Scheurer; Wasserläufer, a super-compact, inflatable boat by HfG Offenbach’s Frauke Zoë Taplik; and UdK Berlin grad Jonna Breitenhüber’s SOAPBOTTLE, a collection of packaging composed of soap—as the contents within are used, the packaging that encases it gradually dissolves.  

The GDG exhibition is part of the larger GDG Initiative, also launched this year, dedicated to supporting emerging designers. The GDG Initiative was conceived by three professors and designers: Professor Ineke Hans  from UdK Berlin, Professor Hermann Weizenegger from FH Potsdam, and Professor Mark Braun from HBKsaar.

Describing the motivations behind the show and the larger GDG project, program organizer Katrin Krupka  tells us, “Although many design universities have their own annual exhibitions to show student and graduate works, there [has previously been] nothing like an overview of the large variety of graduate works from German design schools. Further, for graduates it is extremely difficult to get in contact with stakeholders from industry, culture, and press on the national and international levels.” The GDG Initiative aims to provide these services both with a quality presentation and by connecting this young pool of talent with the GDG team’s large network from industry and press.

All exhibited works will also be added to a freshly launched German Design Graduates Archive. In the long term, the GDG Initiative plans to offer a comprehensive online archive of graduation thesis projects from German universities, which may be filtered by year, subject, and school.

Asked to speak to the concept of a contemporary German design identity,  says, “I think it is really difficult in current times to identify a national design identity. Rather, the variety of works produced at German design schools are bonded together by the broader attitude of their makers—a very open-minded, future-orientated generation, connected by their curiosity and desire to discover the possibilities offered by the role of designer.”

German Design Graduates is open at Berlin’s Kunstgewerbemuseum until 10 November 2019. For additional details, please click here .

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