Wild and visionary

 reality

Design School Kolding's 50th Anniversary Exhibition at the Museum at Koldinghus exemplifies how design creates, affects and moves our lives – though we are often unaware of it.

‘Combining well-known, everyday design with the designers of the future is the perfect way to celebrate Design School Kolding's 50th anniversary. The school’s feet are solidly planted in reality, but it is not afraid to think in wild and visionary terms. That benefits all of us."

These are the words of design critic, Lars Hedebo Olsen, in his positive 6 June review in the daily Politiken of the school’s “Beyond Icons” anniversary and graduation exhibition. In the same article he also commends the school for bridging the gap between education and business:

‘We are lucky that there is a design school that understands how to connect students with the business community, while allowing students to follow their aspirations to challenge materials and explore new opportunities for production’.

Human beings at the centre
“Beyond Icons” celebrates the 50th anniversary of Design School Kolding by going behind the well-known design icons and focusing on the human factor in design, on the designer's as well as the user's experiences, emotions and attitudes. The graduation projects submitted by this year's new designers are presented alongside 50 user perspectives on design. The 50 "guest curators," who are all well-known public figures, have chosen designs that make a difference either to people, to the environment or to an industry, although we are seldom aware of it.

The blue bicycle lanes
One example is the blue bicycle lanes in the larger cities. They are blue and unassuming, but they fulfil their function admirably: Creating enhanced and safer conditions for cyclists in the country's big cities. Ane Cortzen, Head of Cultural Affairs at Kähler's Restaurants, has nominated the blue bicycle lanes as the best example of hidden design. She explains:

‘Most people associate good design with a beautiful chair or a nice table. But good design is also, to a large extent, a way of thinking or a way of organising our society. That is why I have highlighted the blue bicycle lanes. They are an example of well thought-out design. The premier quality of the blue lanes is to be an almost invisible design that people do not really appreciate because part of the DNA of these lanes is that people should not notice them. But if they suddenly disappeared, the difference would be felt immediately’.

Objects and solutions such as the tin opener, the paper clip, the quiet compartment in trains, the zip and Mobile Pay have been exhibited because of their significance in our everyday life.

Design of the future
Alongside the famous and hidden everyday designs, we see the new designers wrestle with the designs of the future. One example is the near-taboo subject of good feminine hygiene during menstruation, especially for homeless women. Paul Lequay and Iga Slowik, two industrial designers from Design School Kolding, have designed a cleaning kit and an instructional workshop to help exactly that group of women. They have thus chosen to take social responsibility with their design, which also has a commercial potential, since the cleaning kit is targeted all women who use the menstrual cup outside the home: at work, at a festival or on a hike – places without access to running water and a private room.

‘We have made the design as neutral as possible. It was aesthetically interesting to create a product that would alleviate a situation that is usually hidden. Sometimes even small modifications can make a fundamental change in the way we live or the way we think. That is the definition of good design," the two designers declare.

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Museum at Koldinghus and is open during the museum’s opening hours until 22 October 2017.