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Ulm School of Design 1968

Exhibition in Studio HfG
HfG-Archiv / Museum Ulm
14 July – 4 November 2018
Opening, Friday 13 July 2018, 7 p.m.

WIR DEMONSTRIEREN!

May 1968: Students and lecturers from the Ulm School of Design demonstrate in front of the Landtag in Stuttgart
Photography: Herbert Kapitzki / HfG-Archiv Ulm

In 1968, the year of the student movement, the Ulm School of Design (HfG) was closed. An ambitious educational project of the early years of the Federal Republic of Germany had come to its close.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s the city of Ulm had develloped into a cultural and political hotspot in the Federal Republic of Germany, not least because of the avantgarde design school and the impact it had. Members of the Ulm School of Design had tried to establish a new world, with social equality, good living conditions in a well designed environment.

In 1968 the still young Federal Republic was shaken not only by the students' revolt. For the first time since the beginning of the economic boom after World War II (Wirtschaftswunder) the economic growth stagnated. In addition to that a discussion sprang up about the role of industrial design within modern consumer society.

This discussion continues until today. Briefly before its closure the Ulm School of Design debated these ideas itself. 50 years later an exhibition will look at the events on and around the Kuhberg.

Publication in preparation

 

Ulm School of Design – From the Zero Hour to 1968
New permanent exhibition in the HfG Archive Ulm

Von der Stunde Null bis 1968

Photos, left to right: unknown, Ernst Fesseler, Wolfgang Siol, Wolfgang Siol, Ernst Fesseler, Wolfgang Siol © Ulmer Museum, HfG-Archiv Ulm

«The Ulm School of Design – From the Zero Hour to 1968», is the title of a new permanent exhibition on the history of this legendary academy presented by HfG-Archiv / Ulmer Museum. During its existence between 1953 and 1968 the Ulm School of Design became one of the world’s most influential academies for designers. Here such iconic designs as the Ulm stool and the stacked tableware TC 100 were made, and also the Braun company’s radio-phono combination SK 4, known as “Snow White’s coffin.” The “ulm model” that was developed at the HfG was a design concept based on science and technology, and it sets standards to this day.

The new presentation covers around 275 square meters and includes more than 200 exhibits and numerous photographs from the comprehensive inventory at the HfG Archive in Ulm. With this rich collection of works and documents and the proximity to the former Ulm School premises, Ulm is the only place where the history of the School can be experienced in this way.

The exhibition design was done by Ruedi Baur and his team from the Laboratoire Irb Paris. Their aim was to bring the archive to life.

The exhibition is divided into three main sections, beginning with a quick presentation of the key features of the immediate postwar “Zero Hour” and the years before the Ulm School was founded. The core of the exhibition design is two large shelf components. The first shows the history of the Ulm School chronologically, together with designs, models, and projects from these years. The second shelf presents selected concepts and themes alphabetically from A to Z, all of which help to understand a wide range of issues associated with the Ulm School. The founders of the School, Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher, and Max Bill, are also featured in the exhibition. Two large tables are dedicated to temporary exhibitions. For the new opening, these will be used as large “newspapers” showing interesting examples of how the press reported on the Ulm School.

Since 1993, the HfG Archive has been a department within the Ulm Museum. The Archive had been set up back in 1987, with the assistance of former Ulm School students. In 2011 the HfG Archive moved to premises in the former Ulm School of Design building at Am Hochsträß. The exhibition space has now been expanded, and from fall 2013 the HfG Archive will be able to present the history of the Ulm School in our new permanent exhibition with more scope than has previously been possible.

The exhibition is supported by the Department of Culture and the Media of the German Federal Government, the Ministry of Science, Research and Art of Baden-Württemberg, and the City of Ulm.