What is this project about?
Ecological Design is a Cultural Question
There are multiple approaches of what ecologically sound design is. For instance many designers develop and communicate ecological tools and techniques. Others are less concerned with technological solutions but more with the design of an ecological life-friendly mindset. Yet others emphasise that living in resonance with nature is a luxury, not a limitation.
This project is about your personal understanding of ecological design and how you want to integrate it into our daily lives.
(Re)Connecting with Nature
We approach a very big question with a very small first step: We want to make ourselves biologically at home where we are right now. So we begin by (re)discovering our everyday ecosystem with two short projects and a field trip to Copenhagen. We will also discuss terms such as “nature” or “sustainability” to engage in a contemporary discourse.
Nature in our Everyday Lives
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: How do we integrate nature in our every day lives and how do we integrate our everyday lives in 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:
- 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.
- Value: There are very different ideas of an ecologically sound design. This project helps you define your own.
- Cooperation: We will be supported by SPACE10, a “future-living lab” in Copenhagen. Their main topics are circular societies, coexistence, and digital empowerment.
- Travel & Field trips: We are going to travel to Copenhagen to work with SPACE10, visit museums, botanical gardens, meet crazy people, and take walks in the woods.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Community: Friendships and collaborations are the magic ingredients of this project. Building social ties is a key aspect of your time at this University.
- Transparency: During the project we will constantly communicate our experiences online to include other people and connect to like-minded individuals and communities.
- Exhibition Design: We don’t necessarily aim for shiny pretentious final results – even though those are always welcome – but rather put an emphasis on the process and on sharing this process with others. Hence we are going to put a lot of effort into the presentation of our work in 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.)
Maria Anat’kay Bermudez Elsinger