Winner of the German Design Awards: Can Hessian design solve the climate crisis? |

Sustainability, inclusion, rural exodus: The winners of this year’s German Design Awards provide answers to socially relevant problems. Your ideas are timelessly beautiful, amazing – sometimes 770 pages long.

By Tanja Küchle

Good design is emotional – and there are answers to the challenges of our time. This is the impression given by this year’s winners of the German Design Awards. presents three award-winning ideas.

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The German design awards

Each year, the Frankfurt-based German Design Council honors designers in the categories of communication design, product design, architecture and newcomers. In 2022, the award will celebrate its tenth anniversary.

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Idea 1: Including packed lunch

German Design Awards

How do the visually impaired know that they shouldn’t eat the yogurt they just took out of the fridge because it’s moldy? So far not at all. Up-and-coming designer Anne Bansen comes up with a proposal that has now been awarded the German Design Award 2022.

She has designed food packaging that changes its surface structure when the contents go bad. The visually impaired may notice this – but it’s also a useful additional indicator for everyone else, after all, the chop or the mozzarella doesn’t always depend on the best-before date.

Idea 2: Chairs that are good for the climate and the back

Two chairs and a side table of light wood and metal stand on a staircase.

Comfortable, sustainable, aesthetic – is it not possible? Go then. This is proven by Sascha Kleczka and Leonhard Berger, who together founded the furniture manufacturer Fuchs & Habicht in Ahnatal (Kassel). The company of product design students has existed since 2020. Her goal: your furniture should not only look beautiful, but also “bring emotional added value,” explains Sascha Kleczka.

Her very first collection “Dickicht” was awarded in the gold category of the German Design Award. The constructions consist of one or two straight wooden surfaces, which are supported by a filigree, mat-lacquered steel wire. For the collection, it was particularly important to them that only a few raw materials were used, says Kleczka. The steel used is recycled, the wood comes directly from Habichtswald near Kassel, so it travels short distances.

Because they rely on flat surfaces and do not, for example, mill recesses in seat surfaces, less energy is also used in production and processing. And even if the chairs don’t look very comfortable at first glance: the proportions and slightly springy steel tubes provide a surprising amount of sitting comfort, as the self-experiment shows.

Idea 3: A prayer for village life

The image shows four excerpts from an open book.  You can see pictures, for example, of a tractor.

Everyone moves to the city. Not Armin Illion. For 25 years, the graphic designer has developed brand concepts for large companies such as Deutsche Bahn, Lufthansa and Aldi Süd. But his heart project is “Seldersch”, as his residence Selters im Taunus (Limburg-Weilburg) is called by the locals. He is “on fire” for life in the village and has therefore dedicated a 770-page book to his homeland.

“Seldersch” combines short texts with more than 600 historical and current photographs of Selters: of the people who live, work and celebrate here in the inn. It’s a book for locals, says Illion, “to show that this village is worth getting involved with.”

The graphic designer combines text and photos with recurring floral and other graphic elements. As a result, the book appears to be cast in one piece without appearing kitschy or dated. The German Design Award has awarded Illion’s declaration of love for village life in the highest category gold.

So is design a problem solver?

In the end, good design will probably neither solve the problem of inclusion nor prevent the climate crisis or the disappearance of village structures. But it can help push social processes in other, more compatible directions.

You can convince yourself of this until 27 February at the Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt: The exhibition “How designers think” shows the ideas of the winners of this year’s German Design Awards.

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