FRMWDC’26

The German Designer Club discusses design and democracy

DDC Konvent

From the university rector to the professor, the agency owner, the designer and the designer to the students from different design disciplines, there was intensive discussion about the aesthetic, ecological, economic and political role of design in and for democracy. The many different perspectives not only proved to be a challenge, but also a decisive basis for the outcome of the Convention. It became clear to all participants that the format alone, a space for joint, productive debate, was a value in itself.

The two concentrated workshop days in Frankfurt's Atelier Lihotzky began with a welcome by the DDC team Felix Kosok, Elisabeth Budde, Rolf Mehnert and introductory wise words by Karin Wolff, the managing director of the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, followed by a condensed programme of impulse lectures.

The first panel kicked off with Matthias Wagner K, head of the Frankfurt RhineMain Region's application for the title of "World Design Capital 2026" under the motto "Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a better life".

The responsibility of designers for the consequences of their own design was a common thread from the beginning of the Convention, which Wagner K laid out in his lecture. A thread that sociologist Harald Welzer took up directly and additionally posed the question of whether design can be democratic at all and whether it is not rather a matter of using design for democratic purposes. In the final analysis, this means redesigning society for sustainability. Uli Mayer-Johanssen linked this demand with the vision and appeal of design, which designers must become aware of in the face of the great challenges of our time. And Boris Kochan, President of the German Design Day, called on designers to become more politically engaged, without forgetting to point out the demoralising effects of the political apparatus.

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