The influence of Germany's Ulm School of Design will be explored in an international touring exhibition at RMIT Gallery (1-30 August).
Hans Gugelot and Dieter Rams, Braun SK4, radio and record player, 1958. Museu de les Arts Decoratives de Barcelona-DHUB.
The exhibition looks at iconic Ulm design - from the revolutionary Braun SK4 'Snow White's Coffin' radio and record player to Lufthansa's corporate branding and the ubiquitous stackable white tableware.
From 1953 until it closed in 1968 the Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung or HfG) was one of the world's most important contemporary design academies.
Regarded as being second only to the Bauhaus, the Ulm School of Design reflected the spirit of change in Germany in the post-war years, and revolutionised artistic and architectural thinking and production.
Suzanne Davies, RMIT Gallery Director, said the exhibition reflected the designer's role in helping to build a democratic society in a technologically-driven age of mass production.
"The Ulm Method - in rejecting design as an artistic activity, and focusing instead on inter-disciplinary work, social responsibility and objective design analysis - resulted in iconic mid-twentieth century designs that remain utterly modern and practical," she said.
The legacy is evident in Ulm School co-founder Otl Aicher's designs such as the system of pictograms for the 1972 Munich Olympics; the Rotis type font and the design for German airline Lufthansa's corporate branding which involved graphic design, logos, typography and packaging.
Dr Martin Mäntele, Director of the HfG Archive, will give a free public talk at RMIT Gallery tomorrow, 12.30-1.30pm, on the story of the Ulm School.
The Ulm School of Design exhibition was assembled by the Hochschule für Gestaltung Archive, a department of the Ulm Museum, to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ulm School of Design, and ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) the German institute for international cultural relations.
Ms Davies said the relationship between RMIT Gallery and the Goethe-Institut, and Ifa, was finely matched and mutually rewarding.
The exhibition will be opened tonight by Michael R Pearce SC, Honorary Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Melbourne, with a special address by Dr Mäntele and Dr Arpad Sölter, the Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien.
The Ulm School of Design Exhibition is at RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne, from 1 to 30 August.
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