DMY festival 2015 Analogue, Digital and a Little Bit Speculative

krupka-stieghan, recreate textiles, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015
krupka-stieghan, recreate textiles, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | Photo: Mirja Zentgraf

The DMY, the Berlin based festival for young designers, has moved ni 2015 from the hangar halls of Tempelhof Airport to the smaller Kraftwerk Berlin. Visitors could enjoy perfect craftsmanship in design and admire visionary design studies on the future of packaging or material remainders.

Valerian Blos, design-as-restriction, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 Valerian Blos, design-as-restriction, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | © It is perhaps not the most attractive sight at a design festival, but a captivating innovative idea is lying behind this: Valerian Blos, intrepid tinkerer and graduate of the Berlin University of the Arts, has designed packaging from synthetic skin cells that interact with their organic content and together with it “get old,” i.e. go mouldy. It is a “speculative prototype,” as the designer himself puts it, but nonetheless this work is a good example of what is currently being worked on at German universities: new materials and resource conservation are being given clear priority in curricula. And the question of how and from what human beings will live in the coming decades seems to be preoccupying at least the students a great deal. Fabian Burns, the festival’s new creative director, was therefore not surprised by the abundance of studies and prototypes in the Kraftwerk’s halls, quite the contrary: “As a young, German design platform, we must also present what is going to happen in the future; after all we’re not a furniture trade fair.”

Valerian Blos, design-as-restriction, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 Valerian Blos, design-as-restriction, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | ©

Interior design from cotton remainders

krupka-stieghan, recreate textiles, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 krupka-stieghan, recreate textiles, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | Photo: Mirja Zentgraf And there was correspondingly much to discover, in particular in the area of materials research. In addition to ten German design universities, 25 “New Talents” were represented who had been specially invited by the festival organisers. Among them were some who deal with up-cycling issues. This upgrading and reclamation of materials is now being expedited with the aid of state-of-the-art technology and developed to product maturity in cooperation with businesses and research institutes.

krupka-stieghan, recreate textiles, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 krupka-stieghan, recreate textiles, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | Photo: Mirja Zentgraf As in the case of designer and architect Katrin Krupka, who transforms industrial cotton remainders that normally would land unused in the bin into bio-plastic. The German textile manufacturer alone produces 90 tonnes of this material annually. Together with the company and the Textile Research Institute of Saxony, her Studio krupka-stieghan is now studying the possible applications of this fleece-like material in interior design as the next step.

Product design, simple and beautiful

Charlotte Anne Duckworth, Sterling Silver Mustard Spoon, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 Charlotte Anne Duckworth, Sterling Silver Mustard Spoon, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | © Apart from these prototypes and explorations of new technologies and materials, there was a surprising abundance of handicraft design: for instance the New Talents winning design, the cutlery combinations of holly wood and sterling silver by Charlotte Anne Duckworth of the UK.

Felix Sandberg, andyoulookadorable, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 Felix Sandberg, andyoulookadorable, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | © Felix Sandberg The new stamp by designer and blogger Felix Sandberg is likewise analogue and simple: he has given a very German implement, a stamp, the wording “And you look adorable.” “Of course, to pay compliments that we all could use,” as he says, but also to pay tribute to a technology from times that have almost vanished: the classical imprint on paper that one has carried out oneself. And the numbered stamps come in beautiful wood boxes with detailed instructions for use: in other words, a real “old-school” package.

Felix Sandberg, andyoulookadorable, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 Felix Sandberg, andyoulookadorable, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | © Felix Sandberg

A product that perhaps unites both worlds

The possibility that these two worlds, past and future, meet in a product, and in the area of German product design to boot, is a nice point of the DMY festival 2015.

Philipp Schütz, Strap-up, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 Philipp Schütz, Strap-up, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | © Philipp Schütz The furniture series “Strap up” by Philipp Schütz, which festival director Fabian Burns rightly terms “classical, truly beautiful German design,” is a stripped-down furniture series for urban start-ups permanently on the move.

Philipp Schütz, Strap-up, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 Philipp Schütz, Strap-up, DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2015 | © Philipp Schütz This series, which completely dispenses with screws and in which the individual elements are affixed with tension straps, is thus tremendously practical for the digital bohème. They often are no longer bound to one particular location, and “Strap up” is as if tailor-made for these new nomads: It looks good and can be stored and transported with a minimum of space. In other words, a product that can do a lot and requires little both in terms of material and space. An analogical product for a digital future.