Welcome to the fiftieth issue of Mind Design. The webzine has now been published for five years with ten issues a year. To mark the anniversary, we take a look at the five years since Mind Design first saw the light of day.
By the editors of Mind Design
The Danish design research environment has matured, as a quick retrospective look will confirm. Much has happened in just five years’ time. The design industry in Denmark and worldwide has also undergone significant changes. We have picked a number of news stories from Denmark and around the world that we find interesting, relevant or amusing. Some of the specific events were not covered in Mind Design, but nevertheless, design research and the webzine have addressed many of the same topics. Join us on a brief tour of the past from the initial launch of Mind Design in 2007 until today.
First Graduates from the Master of Design Programme
The first class in the Master of Design programme graduate in May 2007 with high average marks. Since the programme was launched, a total of 46 designers have graduated from the programme, which enrols new students every second year. In June 2012, 31 new students enrol, forming the fourth class since the programme began.
You can read about the master’s programme in the article Mastermind in Mind Design #37.
Artifact Is Launched
Where do you go to publish research into design and new media? That is the question that two Danish PhD scholars ask each other in 2001. When they fail to find a good answer, they make a decision: Let’s launch our own journal!
Illustration: Per Mollerup
The two are Ida Engholm, now an associate professor of design history at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, and Charlie Breindahl, webmaster at the Danish Centre for Design Research. In 2007 they launch the international research journal Artifact. The first two volumes are published by Routledge. In 2011 Artifact becomes an online Open Access journal.
Read about Artifact’s transition to Open Access in Mind Design #45.
You can also read about Artifact in Mind Design #3.
Copenhagen Is the World’s Most Liveable City
Every year, the British magazine Monocle names the world’s 25 most liveable cities. In 2008, Copenhagen tops the list. In addition to cost of living, school system and healthcare services, the jury has considered lifestyle phenomena, design and culture. In particular, Copenhagen owes its chart-topping status to the city’s architecture and design, green areas and the fact that the water in the harbour is clean enough for swimming. The widespread use of bicycles for transportation is another key factor.
In 2009 and 2010, Copenhagen comes second on the Monocle list. In 2011, the Finnish capital, Helsinki, is named the world’s most liveable city, while Copenhagen comes third, according to the British magazine.
You can also read about the Denmark’s and Scandinavia’s creative challenges and values in the article Is Denmark a happening place? in Mind Design #11 from September 2008.
DCDR Gets a Makeover
In September 2008, Mind Design becomes an actual webzine. The first year, the publication was called Nyhedsbrev for designforskning (Newsletter for design research) and was published in Danish only. The DCDR launched a new website featuring the new monthly webzine Mind Design, which is now also available in English. The centre’s website also serves as a portal for design research, complete with a comprehensive list of relevant conferences, profiles of the centre’s design researchers and information about current funding options for research projects.
Crisis Fosters Innovation and Development
In June 2009, the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation publishes a comprehensive study of the impact of the financial crisis on research, innovation and development in the Danish private sector. The study finds that 14 percent of the surveyed companies see new opportunities in acquiring markets and implementing strategic changes and hence increase their research and development activities. And that may well prove to be a sound strategy. Companies with a higher level of research and innovation also have superior productivity, the study finds.
See Mind Design #22 to read about the study and the role of design research in a time of crisis.
Chinese Geely Reconstructs Volvo
Volvo is known around the world as an exponent of Scandinavian design. The brand values of quality, simplicity and safety are the result of a decades-long targeted effort involving innovation and design. The American carmaker Ford buys Volvo’s car operations in 1999. Ford’s plan for Volvo is to create a luxury brand. That strategy fails, Volvo loses money, and Ford puts Volvo up for sale.
In December 2009, after tough negotiations, the Chinese Zhejiang Geely Holding Group acquires Volvo at just over a quarter of the amount that Ford paid ten years earlier. The Volvo management, which is given relatively free reins by the new owners, subsequently chooses to return to an emphasis on safety and simplicity. Luxury is relegated to third place.
Report Recommends Merger
In March 2009, the Danish Ministry of Culture publishes a report with a number of recommendations (in Danish only) of mergers and binding partnerships among the higher education providers under the auspices of the Ministry. Among the recommendations in the report is a merger of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, The Danish Design School and the Glass and Ceramic School on Bornholm. This merger is implemented on 1 June 2011 and also includes the School of Conservation. The resulting Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation has some 1,600 students and a total grant of approximately 260 million kroner.
Photo: Better Place
Electric Car Manufacturer Receives Design Prize
The firm Better Place, which services electric cars, for example setting up charging and battery change stations, is awarded the design prize INDEX: Design to Improve Life 2009.
See additional articles about Danish design researchers’ focus on sustainability issues in the Mind Design theme on Society, innovation and environment, including, for example the article about the research and development project etrans in Mind Design #39.
Lady Gaga in a Meat Dress
Lady Gaga is one of the greatest pop divas of our time. She bases her brand on music, videos and style. Lady Gaga’s outfits are so outrageous that they make her the centre of attention whenever she makes a public appearance. She uses her extreme fashion style to make her essential political statement: It’s okay to be different. In 2010 Lady Gaga shows up for an MTV award ceremony wearing a dress made of raw meat.
Photo: Picture Group
See Mind Design #39 to read how Lady Gaga’s and other artists’ methods can inspire design researchers.
Danish Design Research of Good International Standard
In 2010, an international research evaluation panel assesses the design research at the Aarhus School of Architecture, The Danish Design School, the Kolding School of Design and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. In a general report, which also includes the Danish Centre for Design Research, the panel concludes that the design research under the Danish Ministry of Culture has ‘generally spoken, reached a good international standard’.
Read more about the evaluation of design research in Mind Design #33.
Jewellery Firm Pandora Charms the Stock Exchange
The international jewellery market is fragmented and lacks strong brands, and the Danish firm Pandora is an attempt at creating just such a brand. Pandora’s bracelet line in particular is successful: silver or leather bracelets with charms. More charms can be added later, which builds long-term loyalty among Pandora’s customers, something that few of the brand’s competitors are able to achieve.
The company’s exceptional growth peaks when the firm goes public in 2010 with the fourth-largest stock market debut that year in Europe. At the end of the day one, the price of the stock has risen to DKK 263, which gives the company a total value of 6.1 billion dollars. Soon after, however, the price plummets as the company announces steep price increases for its jewellery, and trading drops sharply. By May 2012, shares sell at DKK 64, but Pandora continues to expand and attempts to reduce its dependence on the bracelet line by launching new jewellery series.
Visit dcdr.dk to read about a design research project focused on jewellery design.
Design Researcher Wins Chair CompetitionIn December, Associate Professor Nicolai de Gier and Professor Christoffer Harlang of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture win the competition about a new chair to be used for official state occasions in Denmark. The winning chair, Stuk, is based in part on Nicolai de Gier’s years of research into chairs and tectonics.
Read more in Mind Design #38.
Illustration: Nicolai de Gier and Christoffer Harlang
Danish Architect Designs Visionary Residential Block in New York
In February 2011, the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels publishes his plans for a building with 600 flats, the W57, on Manhattan in New York. With its unique design, the building is a reinvention of the classic American skyscraper. Bjarke Ingels combines the classic structure with elements from modern Danish architecture – including a balcony for every flat and green areas where children can play, sheltered from the traffic.
Photo: Bjarke Ingels Group
Visions for Danish Design in 2020By 2020, Denmark is known around the world as a leading design nation, which uses design on every level to enhance the quality of life for its citizens, generate business growth and increase the quality and efficiency of the public sector.
Illustration: The cover of the reportThus the vision that is presented in the Danish government’s Vision Committee report, Design2020, which is released in June 2011. The committee describes a general vision for Danish design 2020 and outlines solutions for the long-term challenges in the field of design.
You can read more about the visions for design research in Mind Design #41.
Danish Ministry of Culture Celebrates 50th AnniversaryDenmark is one of the first countries in the world to establish a Ministry of Culture. On 19 September 2011, the Danish Ministry of Culture celebrates its 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the ministry publishes an anniversary publication (in Danish only) describing the ministry’s history and telling some of the anecdotes from its fifty-year past. At the time, the DCDR and the schools of design and architecture fall under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Culture, which reflects the artistic basis of these educational programmes.
The Danish Museum of Art & Design Has a New Director and a New NameAnne-Louise Sommer, the former head of research and rector at The Danish Design School, takes up her position as the new director of the Danish Museum of Art & Design in September 2011. The same year, the museum also changes its name to Designmuseum Danmark to reflect its position as a contemporary museum that aims to inspire the development of superior design solutions and shed new light on the museum’s historic collections.
Read an interview with the newly appointed museum director in Mind Design #40.
Handbag Made of Recycled Finance Bill ProposalsThe 2011 general election makes Helle Thorning-Smith Denmark’s first female prime minister. Traditionally, the outgoing PM gives his predecessor a personal gift with a touch of humour at the hand-over ceremony.
The outgoing prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, chooses to give Helle Thorning-Schmidt a handbag made up of the outgoing administration’s finance bill proposals.
The bag is created by fashion student Katja Brünchle Knudsen of the Kolding School of Design with assistance from fashion student Laura Locher and the school’s staff.
Photo: Mette Romme
As the new administration comes into power just before the state budget has to be in place, much of the new budget is really a recycling of the previous administration’s proposals. Thus, the bag is both a humorous reference to the new PM’s personal style and a cheeky political comment.
Webmuseum.dk OpensWebmuseum.dk preserves Danish web design as it has unfolded since the first days of the brief but hectic history of the worldwide web. Since May 2011 the museum has had both an online presence and a physical presence at Designmuseum Danmark in Bredgade in Copenhagen.
The first websites, that is, hypertexts with links, text, images and audio features appeared in 1993-95. In the late 1990s the dot-com fever peaked, and web designers were in high demand. The bubble burst, and most of the firms disappeared, but the web continued to gain importance. Fast broadband connections allowed for ever more sophisticated websites. A few years into the new millennium, Web 2.0 was launched, featuring social media such as Myspace, Twitter and Facebook.
In 2012, the web is still a new and young medium, but nevertheless, much of it has already disappeared. That is why webmuseum.dk is such an important institution for preserving and documenting the development of this fleeting and ever-changing medium.
Read about the web museum in Mind Design #22.
DCDR Has Allocated Funds to a Total of 73 Research ProjectsSince the DCDR was founded in 2004, the centre has allocated grants from its research fund to 73 projects that have contributed to the development of the Danish design research environment and helped to develop career opportunities for design researchers. Over the years, the centre has supported both pre-doc projects and PhD projects and supported the hiring of post-docs.
09.08.2011Apple Is the World’s Most Valuable Company
On 9 August 2011, at 2:30 pm, Apple becomes the world’s most valuable company in terms of share value when its shares are traded at USD 366.62 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s total value is 337 billion dollars.
Apple’s success owes much to the design thinking that permeates the company.
10.2011Along with the schools of architecture and design, the DCDR moves from the Danish Ministry of Culture to the new Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education in October 2011. The purpose of the reassignment is to strengthen the cooperation between the universities and the schools of design and architecture.
Denmark Is a Partner Country for Hong Kong’s Annual Design Week
In 2012, the Hong Kong Design Centre has chosen Denmark as its partner country for the annual Business of Design Week, which takes place in Hong Kong, 3-8 December 2012. As part of the planning process, a delegation from Hong Kong visits selected Danish institutions and agencies in March 2012. The tour includes a visit to the DCDR, where they learn about the centre’s efforts to coordinate design research, manage and develop the Master of Design programme and carry out research dissemination.
Illustration: Hong Kong Business of Design Week
Bestseller Fashion Group China Has More Than 5000 StoresDanish fashion is generally successful abroad, but the Danish fashion group Bestseller’s venture in China is in a league of its own. The Chinese consumers love the group’s brands such as Only, Vero Moda, Jack & Jones and Selected. Bestseller was �created by Troels Holch Povlsen and has its HQ in the town Brande in Mid Jutland. In 1996, Holch Povlsen is approached by Dan Friis and Allan Warburg, and as a result of these talks the two move to Beijing and establish Bestseller Fashion Group China, which by 2012 has more than 5,100 stores in China. By the end of 2008 that figure was 2,600 – in other words, the number of stores has doubled in three years.
Read about Danish fashion research under the Mind Design Fashion theme.
Future Design Policy – Visions and PossibilitiesIn March 2012, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Danish Industry, the Danish Design Association and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design send the Danish government a joint policy paper intended as a contribution to the government’s future design policy. The title of the paper is Fremtidens designpolitik - Visioner og muligheder (Future design policy – visions and possibilities). It revolves around three key areas: Design education and research, Design as a market developer and Visibility in international markets. For each of these areas, the paper presents five specific policy proposals. The policy paper is accompanied by a survey about the use of design in 60 Danish companies.