Various colourful design objects are placed on a white surface.

Design studies today: networking for a better world

Arne Jacobsen, Patricia Urquiola, Werner Aisslinger: it is often the big names that encourage young people to take an interest in design professions. What other, perhaps even much more exciting prospects design has in store for them, they often only find out during their studies. The close collaboration between universities, media and business, as in the “In Serie” exhibition, plays an important role in this. At Ambiente 2024, we learnt from four HBKsaar students how they want to make the world a better place with their ideas.

Core team of the exhibition "In Serie / Design Bazaar" in cooperation with the magazine AW Architektur & Wohnen. © Florian Luxenburger / HBKsaar

“At the beginning of my studies, I was mainly focussed on large-scale author design, i.e. classic product and furniture design. Now I’m particularly interested in conceptual works that provide answers to current social issues,” reports Konstantin Diehl. Together with Elena Kayser, he presented the “Grüezi” project in the “In Serie” exhibition at Ambiente: sustainable wax crayons that are easy to share and thus remind us that small things are often enough to bring joy in everyday life.

Inviting you to share: the wax crayons by Konstantin Diehl and Elena Kayser. © Florian Luxenburger / HBKsaar
Attracts the conceptual in design: Konstantin Diehl. © Konstantin Diehl
Studied and founded her own studio: Elena Kayser. © Elena Kayser
"Let Me Touch You" by Ambiente Talent Zhihui Liu. © Zhihui Liu

Living design

Directly opposite, her fellow student Zhihui Liu is making her first major international appearance. As part of the Talents special presentation, she showed her project “Let me touch you”, a “living” object made of silicone: it breathes, reacts to touch and feels like human skin. The idea came to her during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The loneliness during this time prompted me to think about what old or sick people miss most: touch. “I modelled the mould, poured the silicone, programmed the software and soldered the modules in the HBKsaar workshop. This direct approach to design is unique.”

Zhihui Liu with her project "Let Me Touch You". © Florian Luxenburger / HBKsaar

Screws for the future

Jeremia Gabriel also appreciates the free and practical approach of the HBKsaar. At “In Serie”, he showed the chess game “Tondo”, which symbolises the modern material battle with its selection of raw materials. His love of Lego is what led him to design: “Even as a child, I was fascinated by how an infinite number of solutions can be created from the same pieces.” He welcomes the opportunity to present himself in an environment like Ambiente. “In the long term, I would like to develop in the direction of circular design. Without this, I don’t believe a truly circular economy is possible on a global scale.”

Realises the idea of circular design: Jeremia Gabriel. © Anna Ziegler for Architektur & Wohnen
Wood versus plastic waste: Gabriel's chess game Tondo symbolises the current battle of materials. © Florian Luxenburger / HBKsaar
“In Serie” exhibition at Ambiente 2024. © Florian Luxenburger / HBKsaar

Education and business go hand in hand

Committed personalities such as Mark Braun ensure that ideas like these reach the public. The renowned designer is a professor at the HBKsaar and is actively involved in networking education and business. “In Serie”, for example, was created in cooperation with the magazine Architektur & Wohnen. The project invited students to rethink serial production. Messe Frankfurt made it possible to present the results at Ambiente and thus introduce them to a professional audience.

All participants of “In Serie”: Alina Martinek, Christian Schmidt, Elena Kayser, Felix Dörrenbecher, Jeremia Gabriel, Jie Li, Jinyu Wang, Juliane Kühr, Katharina Weigert, Katja Lammert, Konstantin Diehl, Lea Hitzelberger, Lena Stüber, Leonie Zebe, Lilli Sprunck, Michelle Hewener, Mirco Becker, Saleh Alsaid, Sandra Pölger, Simon Gorzelnik, Stephan Petry, Taisiia Tsykolanova, Tamara Bulajic, Tara Sachs, Tim Engel, Tobias Kremer, Zhihui Liu and Jungi Kim.

Participating students in the “In Serie” exhibition, a cooperation between the magazine AW Architektur & Wohnen and HBKsaar under the direction of Prof Mark Braun (bottom left) and Hannes Käfer (bottom right). © Florian Luxenburger / HBKsaar

Header image: Anna Ziegler for Architektur & Wohnen