Design History and Stories. The Institute for New Technical Form
Institut für Neue Technische Form, Darmstadt
20 November 2018 – 17 March 2019
On 18 November 2018 at 12 noon, an exhibition taking stock of 65 years of design will open at 11 Friedensplatz in Darmstadt. That is how long INTEF, as it is commonly known, has existed.
You can look back on graphic artists such as Helmut Lortz, Wolfgang Schmidt or Wolfgang Weingart, on products by Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Herbert Hirche or Dieter Rams, on companies such as Braun and Resopal, on Plexiglas and wood, hats and rags, in short, on the stuff of life. But you can also look back on three locations, on successes and grievances, celebrations, and disasters. Given the chronic underfunding of INTEF, the fact that this exhibition is taking place at all is astonishing in itself; the fact that the city and its head of cultural affairs and lord mayor are finally reaffirming their commitment to INTEF after many years is something to be pleased about; but the fact that Michael Schneider, INTEF’s long-standing managing director, is no longer experiencing this exhibition is quite shocking. Well, INTEF and its new managing director Ute Schauer want to look ahead, and no longer dwell on the shabby treatment of INTEF by the design department of the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences or the Design Centre Hessen. Instead, in the heart of the city, they want to showcase a world of products from art nouveau to the present day and thereby promote and present design independently and confidently.
If you consider that the 65 exhibition stations are but a glimpse into the history of INTEF’s work, and you also take into account that the Schneider Collection, available to INTEF, is so extensive that the materials could furnish several design museums, and finally also that there are still numerous archives and warehouses full of stuff, then you can only hope that this exhibition won’t just take stock, but will actually mark a turning point for Darmstadt’s design and exhibition policy. A catalogue documents the show, which will hopefully lead to a museum in its own right.