Gudrun Zapf von Hesse
at the Institute for New Technical Form
Friedensplatz 11, Darmstadt
20 March – 15 April 2018
Since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Institute for New Technical Form (INTeF) in Darmstadt is, along with the iF Hannover, and the German Design Council in Frankfurt, the oldest institution supporting design in the country. From the outset, especially in terms of exhibitions, the INTeF was planned with a much broader remit than the council, which has focused on product design for decades.
Unlike the council, the INTeF received public funding, but was never a federally funded institution. This created many problems for the INTeF, resulting in disputes with other institutions about space and staff, some of which even threatened its existence. After the death in 2016, of long-standing managing director Michael Schneider, there was no guarantee that the INTeF would be able to continue running, especially since the rights of use in its historic premises on Friedensplatz were due to expire. Fortunately, however, Darmstadt’s mayor and cultural affairs director responded to this threat by providing the INTeF with a former furniture store, later known as the city’s popular bar “Waben”, for its work. Following the step-by-step relocation, which was largely carried out with a wheelbarrow in the autumn of 2017, events could finally be held in unfinished rooms from the end of 2017 – for example those in collaboration with the design department of the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. The rooms, which have large glass surfaces and hardly any solid walls, pose a challenge to any exhibition design.
Now the move is complete. The first exhibition in the new premises of INTeF, which also introduced the small “e” in its acronym along with the relocation, will open on 17 March 2018 at 5 pm. It is dedicated to the 100th birthday of the font designer Gudrun Zapf von Hesse, who will be present at the opening. Zapf von Hesse began as a bookbinder and calligrapher. In 1948 she created her first typeface, the “Diotima”, followed by typefaces such as “Emerald” and “Nofret”, that were distributed both domestically and internationally until 1991, and most recently “Alcuin” and “Clombine”. In addition, her first digital font “Hesse Antiqua” has since become available at Fontshop. Darmstadt’s Mayor Jochen Partsch will speak at the opening, and once again stress the city’s attachment to INTeF. Isabel Naegele from the Mainz University of Applied Sciences, will give an introduction to the designer’s work.