Abstract

This paper focuses on design research in the GDR. There, the Board of Industrial Design (Amt für industrielle Formgestaltung, AIF), a commission reporting directly to the government, promoted and subsidized design research that was adequate to the policy of the board. Besides, the (state-owned) industry, universities as well as art and design schools closely cooperated on design research projects. The economic design policy of the GDR has largely been developed in the PhD thesis of the board's head Martin Kelm, who pursued his functionalist approach to design at different levels. On the other hand, there was critique and a public debate about the design approach in the GDR and in the Soviet bloc in general, accompanied by constant exchange between designers and design researchers of the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany. With the recurring interest in functionalism, the East German design approach is getting more attention. Furthermore, teachers and academic approaches of design research survived the political (and economic) turnaround of 1990 and are now part of the pan-German design landscape.

Keywords:

design history, design research history, GDR, functionalism

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Share

COinS
 
Jun 17th, 12:00 AM

Design Research in the East – at Universities and the Board of Industrial Design of the GDR between the 1960s and 1990

This paper focuses on design research in the GDR. There, the Board of Industrial Design (Amt für industrielle Formgestaltung, AIF), a commission reporting directly to the government, promoted and subsidized design research that was adequate to the policy of the board. Besides, the (state-owned) industry, universities as well as art and design schools closely cooperated on design research projects. The economic design policy of the GDR has largely been developed in the PhD thesis of the board's head Martin Kelm, who pursued his functionalist approach to design at different levels. On the other hand, there was critique and a public debate about the design approach in the GDR and in the Soviet bloc in general, accompanied by constant exchange between designers and design researchers of the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany. With the recurring interest in functionalism, the East German design approach is getting more attention. Furthermore, teachers and academic approaches of design research survived the political (and economic) turnaround of 1990 and are now part of the pan-German design landscape.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.