19. Focus Award // Fachhochschule Dortmund // 18. – 20. May 2011

Are we designers

Some designers think that they not only create things but whole worlds. At the same time, however, society is pursuing an astonishing blurring of boundaries concerning the concept of design: Aren’t we all CREATORS of WORLD? And to what degree are we responsible for the worlds we create?

Are there any boundaries left at all – with regard to the worlds that can be formed and our own abilities? What power do WE hold as CREATORS of WORLD?

Creativity is becoming a new societal imperative. This results in a belief in new, omnipresent creators. We therefore also identify all of those as CREATORS of WORLD who create comprehensive new spheres of and space for experience for us to dive into with all of our senses.

On the one hand we experience a strongly market-oriented, economized shaping which will only be presented here in short with terms such as branding, CI Police or »depth design« such as »design thinking in business« as well as pop culture casting shows such as »Design your Life« on British television.

On the other hand, people are designing their own little private and subjective worlds more and more, often characterized by specific codes or the hype that arises in connection with certain cult brands or celebrities.

Whether through »nail design« or plastic surgery –biological goods are modelled into an attractive body. Meanwhile, biosciences have taken over the planning, drafting and design of new viruses and synthetic life forms by using genetic engineering – even designer babies has long since been a novel idea.

After the successful big bang experiment on March 30th 2010 physicists have been fantasizing about »designing the universe« without showing as much as a glimpse of irony when talking about it. Tourism offices, gyms and spas operate on a veritable concept of »designing happiness«. Furniture makers and architects are no longer content to draft impressive little living environments or special questions of style – they create complete brand or designer cities and artificial paradise islands.

Scientists and engineers are envisioning climate design on distant planets such as Mars and are already creating our future worlds – in case the old world is no longer re-designable after climatic catastrophes, destruction by wars and ecological disasters.

In the end it all comes down to creating emotions and intensification of experiences. We are therefore currently experiencing an astonishing expansion and totalization of the concept of design reaching out as far as becoming an anthropological phenomenon and a universal competence.

What is the reaction of the discipline of design to the identified creative competition and the observable dedifferentiation of the design concept – is it helplessness? Or is it just now really realizing the scope of its power and meaning?

The FOCUS AWARD 2011 poses these questions and considerations to students from all fields of design. We invite the submission of student projects dealing with the topic of »CREATORS of WORLD« in a fresh, experimental and innovative way in all creative forms that design has to offer – documentative, reflective and/or critical approaches are encouraged. (PCS)