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Report symposium Norm=Form Leipzig
The bilingual German-Dutch symposium on September the 2nd in Leipzig, initiated and programmed by Design Den Haag and the German Verein Deutsche Industry Designer (VDID), was to have different opinions on the impact of standardisation in design both by Dutch as German speakers. The questions Norm=Form wants to raise are; if standardisation can make products affordable and facilitate profit for industry, can it also facilitate profit for cultures as well? Are rules of yesterday still valid today, and what about tomorrow? Do we have to change certain rules in order to reach more understanding for cultures through standardisation?
Bernd Schröder, co-initiator and organizer, opened the day with a word of thanks to all institutions that helped the organization realizing the symposium. Ed Annink, creative director at Ontwerpwerk Den Haag projected his mobile phone number challenging the +100 participants to send him ideas for German-Dutch design cooperation. Minister for Economy and Traffic Sven Morlock from Saxony, Germany, welcomed the participants and Margriet Leemhuis, ambassador for International Cultural cooperation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke about the relation between the Netherlands and Germany.
Timo de Rijk, the key-note speaker of the day, talked about the implications of standardisation on society by exploring not only industrial behaviour but also involving international and regional conventions in society: why should people buy a Subaru and pimp it for the double price? Interesting was also the story of the black painted T-Ford from 1908. Why black? Because black dries faster than any other colour. Ford seemed to be addicted to faster and more efficient.
Hellfried Christoph, director product management of OKA Neugersdorf, gave a clear presentation about how rules and regulations force a company to be creative within the limits. It was quite interesting to see what big influence a decision to change the norm for the height of a standing table of 5 cm has on the design of it, following rules which are created by health care institutions.
Marc van der Heijde gave a detailed insight in the growing process of the new logo and identity of the Dutch Government on which he worked at Studio Dumbar, the contractor for this huge project. The project started with a dream brief for designers: make the most beautiful logo of the (governmental) world, don't compromise, go for the maximum. One logo for all ministries seemed to be a 3 years procedural adventure during which many challenges were tackled. an der Heijde supported that standardisation is essential in the process in working with more design offices after the implementation and to control the use of the rules formulated in the house style regulations.
Gregor Clemens is a fashion designer. Born in Germany and now working in London. Clemens is interested in the impact of variations and the missing of good international protection rules for fashion designers. He told about the Christian Louboutin shoes with the red soles. Louboutin lost after many debates at court level the right to be the only one using red soles. Gregor Clemens is a passionate fashion designer striving to become as influential as his illustrious predecessors Yves Saint Laurant and Carl Lagerfeld.
The speech of the day was unmistakably by the Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat who is currently building the new University in the centre of Leipzig. Van Egeraat is called the enfant terrible (between Dutch architects) and is a colourful character with an interesting controversial opinion about architecture. He made without any hold back clear that standardisation is nothing more that a practical tool, not at all a goal, and certainly not a starting point for his work. The buildings of van Egeraat follow his own rules, his own interests and his own intellectual and playful development. Erik van Egeraat is a firm speaker with a seductive performance. Showing us the pyramids and other architectural icons he stated that a building may cost a lot but it also generates a lot of money. With a smart scheme he guided the audience trough a profit calculation showing investments in time and money and the generated income afterwards. A good building is a building that stands for a lifetime while facilitating economical possibilities. For the new University in Leipzig he stated (with deep social awareness) that his building will keep the memories of the people in Leipzig alive. Although the budget and the planning went completely over the original calculation and time he defends his project as a lion (long blond hair, bright blue eyes and his somehow strong physical appearance).
German managing director and owner of AHP Group Stefan Peickert closed the symposium by presenting formats for international cooperation especially between Germany and the Netherlands. Interesting figures; Germany exported in the year 2010 for 930 million euros products to the Netherlands while importing products for 875 million euros.
At the end of the day we watched six different presentations in Pecha Kucha-style: 20 slides, each 20 seconds. Some were focussed on one subject, some gave loads of information for just 6 minutes and 40 seconds. The best presentation came from young design bicycle entrepreneur Martin Fiedler from Veloheld.
Ed Annink received 5 ideas for German-Dutch design cooperation by sms and 1 by postcard (!) during the day. After the conclusion of the symposium the six idea givers were invited to explain more about their spontaneous ideas during an informal AfterTalk in the garden. Participants and the speaker of were motivated to join the AfterTalk moderated by Ed Annink and Erwin van Donk (NBSO Leipzig). Interesting proposals such as a Football Experience, Dutch-German workshops in Germany, a Dutch German design exhibition in the Netherlands were discussed. The Dutch and German participants (designers, design entrepreneurs, producers and civil servants) of the AfterTalk exchanged their business cards and promised to stay in contact.
Download the programme here (PDF 1,3 Mb).