It may sound as dry as dust, but the subject of “Archive” is in fact anything but – as we illustrate here via various short texts and numerous current case studies. Indeed, it’s one that deserves particular attention in times in which marketing activity often serves as a surrogate for design work. The recent closure “for internal organisational reasons” of the German Design Council’s library, a library that is unique in this country, should therefore not go unnoticed. Since its establishment in 1953, the Design Council has always been a non-profit foundation and, given that one of the measures of democratisation is, according to Jacques Derrida, “participation in and access to the archive”, we should keep an eye on whether this self-described unrivalled repository of “over 18,000 printed books, films, DVDs and CD-ROMS and around international journals” does indeed reopen to the public as scheduled in early summer 2019.
Even (or perhaps particularly) in this age of digital search engines, archives, libraries, and collections are vital places of documentation and cultural identity. If you wanted, for instance, to seek out further sources on the subject of Victor Papanek, or mid-century modernism, Hans-Rudolf Lutz or the HfG Ulm, you could go to the German Design Council library and doubtless discover extensive material on each.
Lastly, news of some recent personnel changes in our editorial team: Eva Artinger is heading back to her native Bavaria and Susanne Heinlein is off to pastures new after four very fruitful years at form; Charlotte Könenkamp, Jonas Rehm, and Katharina Zemljanskij, meanwhile, have all joined the team. We look forward to forging productive relationships and to benefitting from their input and ideas.
Stephan Ott, Editor-in-Chief