Gaps in the Market: Niches in Post-industrial Society
The Bachelor of Arts in Object Design provides the tools for product designers in a post-industrial society. Object Design broadens the classic scope of product design to include areas beyond industrial applications, such as small series for specific needs, which may approximate to the practice of fine arts. Object Design is a self-confident niche in higher education from where Product Design can be reviewed and reinvented. On this study programme students learn to combine opposites: digital and material components, tradition and innovation, the Swiss market and the global one. They pursue research and become skilled in finding solutions that balance design and production in ways geared to contemporary needs. This equips students with a broad understanding of existing markets, challenges them to discover niches and seek out unrecognized needs.
Narration: Taking and Communicating a Position
Students come to us as individuals with different backgrounds and are given space here to build on the passions, experiences and skills they have already acquired. They learn to develop their own artistic position in the development of an appropriate product language, which at the same time reflects the wishes of clients and needs of users. In seminars, they learn about the relationship between society and its objects, as well as their cultural and practical significance. The mediation and convincing narration of their position in image, film and language is part of the product development – through presentations, publications, internet media and public exhibitions.
Material: Designing Processes
In projects of increasing complexity, in interdisciplinary projects and in cooperation with professional partner companies, they can network their acquired expertise. Different design and manufacturing strategies are taught and practiced using combinations of craft and digital tools – in the beginning simulated using model-building, in the elaboration using a concrete material and its properties. Project submissions in Object Design are always 1:1 prototypes built from the proposed material. Students are encouraged to question existing processes and explore new possibilities. In this way students are able to examine their ideas in terms of the interplay of different production techniques with the peculiarities of the materials and to moreover tap into the innovation-process potential that unfamiliar combinations can provide. At the same time each design manifests an affirmation, the requirement being that this becomes immediately evident in the end product.