18 May 2017

Luxury!? – Positions between opulence and asceticism

Alfons-Kern-Turm, Pforzheim

– 25 June 2017



“Luxury is any expense that goes above and beyond what is necessary”, the sociologist and economist Werner Sombart once said. In its three-part series of events on luxury, the Faculty for Design at the Hochschule Pforzheim is focusing  on question: “What is luxurious in today’s world?”


To mark the 250th anniversary of the town in 2017, the faculty for design at Pforzheim is working in close collaboration with the Kunstverein Pforzheim, the Kulturamt der Stadt Pforzheim [Cutural Office of Pforzheim] and the Emma-Kreativzentrum Pforzheim to stage an exhibition, a symposium and a design week on the theme of luxury. Until 25 June 2017, the exhibition, arranged over the three storeys of the Alfons-Kern-Turm will be examining the questions: “What is luxury in saturated markets? And for those, who are at the other end of the supply chain?” The lower floor represents in the form of toys, photographs and clothing the adolescent phase of the western middle classes, who are heavily influenced by the pressure of competition. The middle floor displays the age of maturity which is already displaying signs of luxury fatigue. On the upper floor of the tower is the Rube Goldberg machine, a chain-reaction machine consisting of 500 individual steps, which is the highlight of the exhibition. One hundred engineering students at the Hochschule Pforzheim treated themselves to the luxury of working for eight months on this project. The university‘s objective is to set a new world record with a surface area of around 40 square metres and to achieve an entry in the Guinness Books of Records.


The symposium will take place on 23 and 24 June 2017 in the Faculty of Design and will tackle questions such as “What is the luxury of the future for designers and researchers?” Amongst others, the presenter, Susanne Kaufmann, will be receiving  Oliver P. Heil, who was director of the Center for Luxury Research at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. The students‘ semester projects on the theme of luxury will be on display during the design week from 11 to 16 July 2017. In addition, visitors can expect a varied programme of lectures, workshops, tours and performances. 


Nº 274

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