Mr. Kries, we’ll come to the topic of design classics in a moment, if we may. But first, would you mind telling us a little about the museum. What were its aims when it was founded in 1989?
The idea was to tell visitors what design is all about. You have to remember that the idea of design was not as widely appreciated in Germany in 1989 as it is today. Before that time, design was more of a niche phenomenon that only specialists had the keys to.
What are the focal points of the collection?
We collect anything that has a connection with interior design, that is to say, mainly furniture from the 20th century – of which we have gathered together some of the finest examples in the world. However, our collections also include electrical devices like the classic Braun products designed by Dieter Rams, as well as architectural models and textiles. In addition, we have works by famous designers such as man and wife team Charles and Ray Eames and the Dane Verner Panton.
What role does design play today?
A different one to when the museum was first founded. When we talk about design nowadays, we’re referring to more than just individual products: the design of processes is also part of the debate.
It’s clear from the ways in which Facebook is used and how certain television formats work that people even shape their own identity like a designer. Medical engineering, smart materials and nano design provide us with other good examples. Design now features prominently in areas beyond the gaze of the naked eye – and is a central factor in our contemporary culture.
You’re currently hosting an exhibition on the legendary Bauhaus art school establishedby the architect Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany in 1919. Almost a hundred years later, why is Bauhaus still relevant?
The interdisciplinary work that this movement pursued is more relevant than ever today. The idea of an architect working with an artist, of bringing scientists into the equation and of forging closer relationships with industry was revolutionary at the time. Marcel Breuer, for example, turned to the aircraft manufacturer Junkers for advice in developing his famous tubular steel furniture. The Bauhaus involved extensive experimentation, and here we can find any number of parallels with how innovations make the journey from drawing board to reality in our time.