Great expectations: DMY 2012.

While designers add beauty to everyday

objects, they also take care of thoughtful

construction and making products a

joy to handle. At this year’s DMY Festival,

forward-looking prototypes took centre stage

and impressed the crowds with ingenious


Text: Sissy Dille
Photos: Arian Rassoul
  • Great expectations: DMY 2012.

  • Clever combination.

    Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport has found a new lease of life as a prime festival location. Imposing in its own right, the expansive airport’s towering architecture provided the perfect backdrop for the DMY International Design Festival Berlin, celebrating its tenth anniversary between June 6th and 10th this year. Spread out across more than 20,000 square metres and four hangars, 700 international designers and universities used this chance to showcase their new products, prototypes and innovative concepts. Fast-forward a decade from DMY’s humble beginnings and what started out as a small, decentralised festival for young and local Berlin designers has become a globally renowned design festival – a welcome set and stage for the debut collections of outstanding graduates from major international design colleges, but also a key presentation platform for established designers wishing to promote their varied concepts and research projects.

    Lamia Michna and Robert König from TAPE OVER.
    Lamia Michna and Robert König from TAPE OVER.

    Mercedes-Benz, too, appreciated the festival’s intent and vision to create an international point of call for trendsetting design. Making its festival debut, the new Concept Style Coupé received its artistic finishing touches from tape art duo TAPE OVER who placed the stunning vehicle in a geometry-inspired installation.

    In terms of geography, however, this year’s festival focus moved a little further away. Under the aegis and motto Year of Culture: China in Germany a staggering 189 works by 22 designers from furniture, fashion, graphic and multimedia design, presented the to date most comprehensive exhibition of Chinese design, China New Design Revisit and Reflect. An associated aggregation of 109 everyday objects – sealed in transparent bags and displayed on a bed of scattered rice – offered rare glimpses into the origins and future of Chinese design while also documenting the lightning-fast change of the country’s aesthetics, culture and society.

    For an additional highlight and conceptual treat, visitors were invited to admire the winning entries of the DMY Award: Together with the Bauhaus Archive Museum for Design the festival selected ten especially inventive examples of excellent product design, culled from more than 500 submissions and a total of 30 nations.

    PERK Pioneer from the China New Design series.
    PERK Pioneer from the China New Design series.

    The award’s underlying premise: All successful submissions pursue entirely original approaches that not only lead to exceptionally innovative objects, but also produce plenty of scope for new constellations, perspectives and interactive social spaces. Check out the full list of jury favourites here.

    Innovative and unique: design made in the Netherlands.

    Although not part of this competitive setup, but equally exciting when it comes to innovation and avant-garde, the Connecting Concepts exhibit introduced a novel display concept: All works were on show in an outsized greenhouse. Here, unique Dutch design took pride of place with clever concepts and ingenious DIY ideas that kickstart our brain and help to make our lives a great deal simpler, more interesting and infinitely flexible. On display: sweatshop-free Glue Jeans with sticky seams as well as tables constructed from simple styrofoam layers, brushed with resin for astounding stability and an elegant sheen.

    Connecting Concept exhibition.
    Connecting Concept exhibition.
    Furniture design by Nagarya, Tel Aviv.
    Furniture design by Nagarya, Tel Aviv.

    Variety at international level.

    Beyond these visual and conceptual highlights, DMY once again treated visitors, trade and press alike to many international design delights. While Danish architect Sigurd Larsen employs refined minimalism to demonstrate that concrete can look light-weight and svelte in the guise of a tabletop, Amir Raveh’s design workshop Nagarya produces fascinating one-of-a-kind interior objects by transforming partial furniture and DIY leftovers into hybrid collages of shapes, colours and materials. Besides the assembled wealth of presentations, workshops, seminars and party events, this year’s DMY festival offered a further programme premiere: As part of a “Long Night of Design Studios” 50 Berlin studios all across town opened their doors to a design-conscious audience. For more information on the DMY Festival, please access