From snapchatter to beauty artist

Fifty designers – educated at Design School Kolding over a period of 50 years

Design School Kolding is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. One of the events marking the anniversary is the publication of a book titled ‘50 Years – 50 Voices of Design’ featuring fifty of the designers who received their education at the school. The commonality between the 50 designers is that they have contributed to the development of the design profession, but otherwise it is quite a diverse group: From Snapchatter, Rasmus Kolbe, via fashion designers like Mark Tan and Rebekka Bay, cartoonists and illustrators like Anders Morgenthaler and Cato Thau-Jensen, computer game developer, Arnt Jensen, beauty artist, Claus Thorbjørn Hansen, scenographer, Gitte Kath and artistic weaver, Grethe Sørensen.

The general consensus is that training as a teacher or as a journalist can lead to any career. The book demonstrates that an education as a designer can also lead to a variety of occupations, but many of the people portrayed say that – whatever they do – they are drawing on skills they learned at the school. One job hard to predict is that of beauty artist – in Hollywood, of course – a job that Claus Thorbjørn Hansen has held for a number of years. He works with ‘beauty on cars, beauty on products, beauty on computers’ – and he talks about actors pointing out features about themselves they don’t like, from little things like flyaway hair and folds of skin under the arm to dissatisfaction with their entire body. In such a case ‘we have taken actresses’ faces and put them on more muscular bodies … that happens all the time.’

Gitte Kath became a scenographer at the theatre “Møllen” (the Mill) in Haderslev – even though she did not have a clue what a scenographer does when she was offered the job. – Having been raised on the island of Fanø I had never been to a theatre, she says. The Icelandic designer, Ólafur Haraldsson, creates virtual experiences enabling people to ascend Mount Everest or walk on glaciers on Greenland, and Jonas Smedegaard Buus is Head of Customer Experience in Danske Bank’s MobileLife, an innovation unit that recently launched the platform ‘JUNE’ enabling less affluent investors to gain access to the stock market through a digital platform.

Felt they were dipped in gold when they attended school
The anniversary book is designed by the Danish designer, Klaus Matthiesen, and the Icelandic designer, Gudjon Oddson. They met at Design School Kolding and started the company, ‘OddFischlein’ – and it is their idea that the book is equipped with golden edges. ‘We were dipped in gold when we attended the school. We thought that should be visible in the golden wedding anniversary book’, they say.

Selected by designers from Denmark and abroad
The 50 designers were chosen by a group of former and current staff at the school assisted by designers from Denmark and abroad. In their Declaration Mette Mikkelsen, the former Prorector, and the current Prorector, Lone Dalsgaard André, write that one reason for choosing the 50 designers could be that they have used their professional expertise in contexts that challenge the boundaries of design, pushing well-known techniques to the highest level – and making them work; or the designer has shared his or her knowledge of design with others through teaching, research etc. But, they say, ‘we are aware that history writing is never timeless and that our selection of the portrayed designers reflects the image of the particular design that has the highest priority for the school today’.

The vision and the history of the school
In addition to the portraits the book includes a chapter about the history of the school and its 50-year-long struggle for quality, as well as the vision for the future of Design School Kolding written by Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, the Rector of the School.

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