Semester start with a vision

Students were greeted with a vision – and an invitation – on their first day

Design School Kolding is humming once again with activity and creativity. The new academic year has begun and with it an invitation to discuss where Design School Kolding and Danish Design are headed.

Rector Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen welcomed students with a speech about the true meaning of Danish Design. And what it means to have talent. When can you claim to be international? And why is it important to be a workshop? In her speech she encouraged the students to make their voice heard on an interactive wall set up for that specific purpose.

Based on the school’s vision …to be an international talent workshop for the cultivation of Danish Design, Rector spoke about Danish Design as a set of values:

- Danish Design is a deeply ingrained part of our society and our culture. The democratic nature of Danish Design is a significant marker. Take, for example, Danish fashion, which is not something one experiences only on the catwalk. No, we experience fashion everywhere, in the street, especially because Danish fashion is affordable. Danish Design is composed of certain values – such as accessibility for everyone… Danish Design is part of the foundation on which the welfare state and welfare society is built. That society runs on the realisation that few have too much and fewer have too little. Today, Danish Design is increasingly moving away from design of individual products towards contributing to developing systems and experiences that further support the development of the welfare society. User involvement in the shape of user driven innovation or co-design seems to be crucial elements, she said.

Yet, Danish Design must not shut itself in. Having an international outlook is essential.

- Any culture that shuts itself in, dies. That is why it is crucial for the school to align itself outwards, internationally… Diversity rules here – because we are certain that Danish design evolves best in an open culture of honest, critical exchange, Rector said.

Speaking of talent and the work of the hands…
While Designer Marieke Bülow made a live visualisation of Rector’s speech and fittingly combined talent and craftsmanship, Rector went on to talk about talent and the meaning of the workshops:

- It seems to me willpower is just as crucial as talent if you are to become a great designer. Talent evolves from both will and ability.

And the significance of combining hand and spirit when you design:

- The training to become a designer is founded in theory, on one hand, and the manifestation of practice on the other. Popularly speaking, you must be able to shift from your head to your hands and back. This is a particular trait of the design profession, and so Design School Kolding distinguishes itself from traditional universities by having workshops where students are able to develop important craftmanship experience and craftmanship skill.