Essen: Folkwang Universty of the Arts

We arrived just in time to view the opening of the end-of-year exhibition of student work. Folkwang was founded on the principle of cross-disciplinary arts eduction. They have a particulary good interdisciplinary design program, as stated on their website:

"Well-trained designers make an important contribution to designing our environment by virtue of their holistic practical and critical thinking, their sensibility and capacity to think ahead, and their knowledge of culture, art, technology, ergonomics, science and the marketplace. The Folkwang’s training in Design aims to educate this kind of designer, to give them the basis for new perspectives and approaches and to encourage them in establishing their own individual attitudes and approaches to design – all within the context of a unique cross-disciplinary course structure and the fusion of theory with practice."

Marion Digel
, Dean, had arranged for us to meet many of the people who are important to their work, and to the local design community. We met with the President of the University, Kurt Mehnert, as well as their Archivist, Dirk Reith. Kurt Reinhardt, design historian and ideas consultant, took us on a wonderful tour of the Zollverein Industrial Park where the University SANAA building is located. We were also introduced to the Director of the Red Dot Museum. An altogether wonderful place to launch our German tour, replete with information on the riches we were to encounter.