Manuel Erhard
Jeremias Fritsch
Leander Holz
Benjamin Knuth
Andreas Lang
Nikolai Marcinowski
Sabine Mayr
My Nguyen
Sarah Stapelfeldt
Tobias Trübenbacher

What is this project about?

Form follows values

Sometimes we don’t want to be the ones whose job it is to “make things pretty”. We reject this obsession with beauty as superficial and shallow.

This project is about making things pretty!

We want to rediscover and celebrate beauty as a valuable connection with the world.

Whatever we make — houses, chairs, dinner — we express our values with our sense of beauty. What we consider as beautiful shows how we think about the world and ourselves.

What sense of beauty, what “look” expresses our love for nature?

Beauty of growth

The 20th century has been dominated by the tremendous success of industrial mass production. Values like efficiency, technology, and competition found their aesthetic expressions in simplistic cubes, rectangles and grids.

The once “futuristic” modernist forms have become old-fashioned.

The reduced geometry and futuristic metaphors don’t match our ideas for a sustainble life-friendly design. Neither do plain superficial metaphors and gestures, such as the colour green, cheap recycled materials or the display of solar panels and wind wheels.

In this semester we want to elaborate aesthetic principles, which are rooted in life-friendly values – and create something beautiful!

A personal sense of beauty

After the 4 weeks of our inspiration phase every participant is free to choose a topic and a medium for their personal main semester project. In order to establish a fruitful cooperation and a coherent discourse the only condition is, that the projects deal in some way with the question: What sense of beauty expresses our love for nature?

What is the structure of this project?

This project is a “free” project in the sense that you can do whatever you want. Its purpose is to help you find your personal approach and interest in design. It provides a framework to achieve this. It consists of the following components:

  1. A central debate: We explore and discuss the relationship between Life and Design. This will be kickstarted by 2 small tasks which we conduct within the first four weeks. We also read books
  2. Value: There are very different ideas of beauty. This project helps you define your own.
  3. Travel & Field trips: We are going to travel to Eindhoven, visit museums, botanical gardens, and take walks in the (cold and rainy) woods.
  4. Design making: We explore by making design. So please forget your design thinking strategies for a semester. We will derive knowledge from doing and making things with our hands.
  5. Room for exploration: You will define your project. You can try out things. There will be time and space for you to figure out what you enjoy doing, regardless of the medium, materials or questions you want to work with.
  6. Physical communication: We don’t limit ourselves to 2-dimensional planes. We create objects and communication which takes into account not just the eyes but the whole body of our audience.
  7. Community: Friendships and collaborations are the magic ingredients of this project. Building social ties is a key aspect of your time at this University.
  8. Transparency: During the project we will constantly communicate our experiences online to include other people and connect to like-minded individuals and communities.
  9. Popular Design: We don’t necessarily aim for shiny pretentious final results – even though those are always welcome. Instead we want to share our process with others. Hence we are going to put a lot of effort into the presentation of our work online and/or a beautiful exhibition.

What are we going to learn?

You will dramatically expand your understanding of Design, get a clearer understanding of your personal professional direction, and deepen the understanding of your favourite craft.

What will be our results?

Every student will gain the following results:

  • 1 visual solution result from short project 1.
  • 1 physical design result from short project 2.
  • The outcome of their free main project. Every participant will receive collective and individual support to find a topic that matches their sense of purpose, a medium that fits their personal craft, and a design process that will foster their professional career.
  • Documentation material of our exhibition design

What is the ideal number of participants?

Ideally we will be working in a group of 10-12 people. Exchange students are more than welcome, we love diversity! (If anyone in the group does not speak German then the course will be conducted in English.)

Ralph Ammer

Professor at University of Applied Sciences Munich