The impressive large doors up the short flight of steps that elevate RMIT Gallery from the hustle and bustle of busy Swanston Street are currently shut as we prepare for the upcoming exhibition Ulm School of Design. (1 August – 30 August) and the opening night celebration at 6 pm on Thursday 31 July.
To celebrate the successful international tour of the design exhibition by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) RMIT Gallery, as the last venue to host the Ulm exhibition, are inviting guests to join us for bretzels and German beer as Michael R Pearce SC, Honorary Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Melbourne officially opens the show, with a special address by Dr Arpad Sölter, the Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien. All welcome.
The Ulm School of Design exhibition focuses on research into, and visualization of, the “Ulm Model,” exploring its effects up to the present day. Using large-format photos, text panels, an illustrated synopsis, models, graphic works, draft designs, products, a “tower of books,” and videos, the exhibition is divided into clearly delineated sections: background and contemporary history, details of the building and biographies of founding members, theoretical principles and results, visual communication, industrial design, building, developmental groups, film, and interviews with former teachers and students.
From 1953 until it closed in 1968 the influential Ulm School of Design in Germany was one of the world’s most important contemporary design academies. Regarded as being second only to the Bauhaus, the German School of Design that revolutionised artistic and architectural thinking and production world, the Ulm School rejected design as an artistic activity, and focused instead on inter-disciplinary work and objective design analysis.
The special methodology used in Ulm is still internationally influential today in design teaching. Known as the “Ulm Model,” it has helped define what it means to be a professional industrial designer. Systematic thinking and logically-argued design processes offered rational, technically-oriented solutions to a modern mass society, made possible by scientific and technological progress in new materials, media, and techniques.
The Ulm School of Design’s highly strict methodology and understanding of corporate identity, branding and communications theory resulted in iconic mid twentieth century designs that remain utterly modern, such as the design for German airline Lufthansa’s corporate branding which involved graphic design, logos, typography and packaging, and the system of pictograms designed for the 1972 Munich Olympics by Otl Aicher (1922-1991) co-founder of the Ulm School of Design.
As part of the exhibition, RMIT Gallery will be hosting two important design based public programs – free. Bookings recommended (03) 9925 1717.
Friday 1 August 12.30-1.30 pm: Dr. Martin Mäntele, director of the HfG-Archive: The Story of the Ulm School of Design 1953-1968.
Tuesday 12 August: 12.30-1.30 pm Malte Wagenfeld, RMIT, Industrial Designer: The social focus, thinking and impact of the Ulm School and German design in the 60 -to early 80s.