19 September 2017
by Tulga Beyerle
Tulga Beyerle is one of the 18 international delegates joining us in London this month for this year's Design Connections programme. Find out more about her and her thoughts on design in Germany.
Please tell us about yourself, your work or organisation
Born in Vienna, I started a career as design curator and expert, after studying design and teaching design history at the University of Applied Arts. In my freelance time from 2001 until 2013 I realized many exhibitions, like “Pace of Design” at experimentadesign in Lisbon (2009), or “Exemplary” together with Thomas Geisler at the MAK in Vienna (2014), or being mentor at BIO 50 at Ljubljana (2015). Most of all I was responsible for creating and developing Vienna Design Week together with Thomas Geisler and Lilli Hollein, which we founded 2007. In 2014 I became museum director at the Museum of Applied Arts in Dresden, part of the Dresden State Art Collection.
A classic museum of its kind, founded 1876, it is my goal to work with the vision to influence and train designers, producers and audiences alike in questions of design, but take that idea into urgent questions of the 21st century. What is the role of this kind of museum today and tomorrow? How can we fulfil our cultural responsibility in a contemporary way? But also how can we work with our collection in a visionary and still fundamental way? These are questions we are continuously working on, besides trying to position this small museum on the border of east Germany.
What are you working on at the moment?
Since we are in the very strange situation of being closed half a year (due to missing facilities in a baroque castle) we are now intensely planning the exhibitions for the next few years; primarily on an exhibition of the female designers, which was shown at the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau. Plus we are continuing our cooperation’s with Czech Republic and Poland, next year we will show an exhibition of Zorya, a Czech design brand. Besides that, research and conservation never end!
What are the hot topics in design in your country at the moment? What are the challenges that design or designers are facing in your country at the moment?
I would say, that most of all design in Germany is not seen as being part of culture. It is always connected to commerce, which is short-sighted. Otherwise, Germany has the complexity of a big country, which has great differences between its countries (like Saxony, where I live) and the Federal Government. That leads to many different strategies, which can be very tiring … but in general, I think we face the same challenge – what is the role of design in our understanding of the future of Europe.
Tell us about a designer to watch from your country at the moment and why we should know about their work?
That is a tricky question and difficult to answer. I am not so much interested in where someone comes from or is based, but more what they do. But if I have to pinpoint it down, I would watch out for Johanna Dehio, a young designer based in Berlin, who equally works on social design projects and products. Her balance here is interesting. Or Judith Seng, currently a guest professor in Gothenburg in DK, her work is very interesting for her series of workshops and her way of using the tools of design in a very different and mind-opening way. Super radical and therefore very challenging is Jerszy Seymour!
What excites you about UK design? What are you looking forward to seeing at the London Design Festival?
Is it UK design or is it design in London? I keep on being excited about the fact that the UK sees design an important opportunity for the future and embraces all the creative potential in its country, never asking if they come from Spain (like Tomas Alonso), Germany (like Mathias Hahn) or Canada (like Philippe Malouin). The city of London is tough but offers so many opportunities. That attracts many great talents from all over the world and that is why I am looking forward to being in London again after so many years.
Each year during London Design Festival (LDF) we invite key design industry figures from around the world to join us for our Design Connections programme. The delegation will take a unique curated tour of the festival, meeting leading UK designers, curators, design organisations as well as discovering new work and gaining new relationships. Find out more about Design Connections here.