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Design Lab #12: Metal in flux. From casting to form – Kunstgewerbemuseum | 29.09 – 20.11.2022

Editors’ Choice

As part of the experimental Design Lab series at the Museum of Decorative Arts, students will be devoting themselves to a material and a technique that were among the innovation drivers of production and design in the 19th century: it is about a central material of modernity, namely iron and metal art casting, which could also be described as the precursor of digital 3D printing technology.

Image above: Mittelteil eines Ziergitters

Design Lab #12 was created in cooperation between the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences under the direction of Claudia Banz, Wibke Bornkessel and Hermann August Weizenegger. The contemporary designs by design students in cast iron and bronze reflect the possibilities of the material in art casting. The works enter into a dialogue with historical exhibits from the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts and form new narratives between tradition and the present. Design – Lab #12 thus joins the ranks of exhibition projects that question and explore anew the topicality and the associated potentials of the Museum of Decorative Arts as a cultural archive in the here and now.

Design trifft
Craft A young generation of designers has rediscovered craft in recent years. They can draw on old craft traditions, but still have plenty of scope for experimentation. For the students of the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, the concrete challenge was to develop a project that, on the one hand, opens up a dialogue with the historical exhibits from the “Iron Art Casting” collection and, on the other hand, shows ideas for a contemporary design of the material iron and the traditional technique of iron casting.

Regional Production
The claim to holistic control of the production process was guaranteed by the selection of two regional art foundries. Both the Lauchhammer art foundry, founded as early as 1725, and the Altglienicke art foundry were won over for the exhibition project. Lauchhammer can look back on a long tradition of iron casting. High-quality objects for everyday use and for decoration, such as lamps, bowls, cans, mirrors as well as sculptures, fountains or architectural grids, were produced according to the designs of renowned artists and designers. To this day, objects by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841) are still produced in series. The Kunstgießerei Altglienicke – formerly Kunstgießerei Flierl – is still a fairly young bronze foundry that has dedicated itself to particularly close, creative collaboration with clients and artists. The spectrum of work ranges from small sculptures to large objects, such as the dome crowning of the new Humboldt Forum in Berlin.

Participation in the “beautiful
The “Iron Art Castings” collection is one of the lesser-noted collections in the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts today. Yet Berlin was internationally famous in particular for its artistic sculptures and filigree iron jewellery, which were produced in the royal iron foundry in the first half of the 19th century. The Prussian government of the time even used iron art casting, which was as innovative as it was inexpensive, as a medium of taste education in order to consolidate the bourgeois virtue of simplicity, as well as to promote the participation of the population in beauty. Iron production was also sustainably promoted economically.

Students represented in the exhibition with their own works Product Design:
Alan Philippe Bietenholz, Constantin Schmidt, Djamal Okoko, Fritz Rahne, Hannah Fischer, Jasmin Kappler, Jonathan Wellmann, Levi Kollwitz, Lisa Sperber, Milan Friedrich, Toni Fluegel, Yasemin Walter. Graphics: Ricardo Mayer.

About the Design Lab series
Since 2019, the exhibition series “Design Lab” has invited selected design studios, students and researchers to present current projects and to enter into a discourse with the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts. The series is curated by Claudia Banz, curator for design at the Museum of Decorative Arts. “Design Lab” is funded by the Kuratorium Preußischer Kulturbesitz.


29. September – 20. November 2022


Stauffenbergstraße 41
10785 Berlin

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