Designers reinvent the world

Manuela Pfrunder completes the creation and wins the promotion award 2000 of the Swiss Graphic Artists Association

Manuela Pfrunder completes the creation and wins the Promotion Prize 2000 of the Swiss Graphic Designers AssociationBy Ernst Weber On November 17, the tenth award ceremony of the Promotion Prize of the Swiss Graphic Designers Association (SGV), endowed with 12000 Swiss francs, took place in the Bourbaki Panorama in Lucerne. At the same time, the SGV opened a series of lectures entitled "Design and..." which attempts to develop a holistic view of the concept of design.
The SGV awards the promotional prize to the best final paper of an examination year. The theses nominated for the award are those that achieved the highest grade in their examination region. Eight of a total of ten examination regions took part in this year's anniversary competition. The Jura and Lausanne regions were not represented. Their reason for not taking part was that the standard was too high, said Jacques Plancherel before presenting the 2000 prize to Manuela Pfrunder from Eschenbach LU.
The newly graduated designer received the award for an elaborate implementation she designed on the theme of uniforms. "The project work impresses with its originality, scientific, analytical approach, exemplary design quality and innovation in terms of content," said a jury consisting of representatives from the examination regions of Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva, Lucerne, St.Gallen, Ticino and Zurich and a member of the SGV board, explaining its unanimous decision.
Genesis of a uniform world in which all are placed on an equal footing
Manuela Pfründer's approach grasps the concept of uniform in the broadest possible and, for a young person, surprisingly profound way: Under the title "The Continuation of Creation", the 21-year-old award winner visualized a monocultural "vision of the earth caused by progressive networking and globalization, which consists of the same conditions and circumstances being available to every person".
Manuela Pfrunder would not like to live in a uniform, fair world corresponding to her design, of course, "because it is precisely unfairness and inequality that make life alive." The winner went on to say that she had been confused when she realized in the course of her work that the world must be set up as unfairly as it is.
The original function of the sponsorship award was to even out the gap that existed between the training standards in Zurich and other examination regions. "This goal has largely been achieved. For this reason, and due to the new training landscape and training situation, we must now rethink and redefine the role of the sponsorship award," said association president Peter Vetter.
The award ceremony, which was held publicly for the first time, was preceded by an afternoon of lectures in the Pix 1 cinema, located in the basement of the Bourbaki Panorama. With this event, the SGV inaugurated a cycle aimed at fomenting interdisciplinary discourse and promoting exchanges between pioneers and young professionals in a subject that today encompasses numerous fields whose boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred.
"We are challenged on all fronts because our trade is in such upheaval and training is permanently in flux," said the association president, explaining the purpose of this series of events, where he spoke on the topic of "Design and Innovation."
One is all, everything is one: namely design
The lecture cycle was opened by André Vladimir Heiz. The semiotician and design theorist with teaching assignments at the Hochschule für Kunst in Zurich and at the Schule für Gestaltung in Biel proselytized in the name of design research.
His theory, presented in the lecture, assumes that the beginning of all design is research, but design is the consequence of a certain perception, which makes itself the object of its observation. André Vladimir Heiz visualized that a subjective idea of design cannot represent a concept of truth, but can only exist in the plural and the majority.
"There would be no design at all if there were not different points of view," the speaker said. Furthermore, the scientist declared the activity of designing as the desire to transform the world as it is into something else. Heiz sees this desire arising from a dissatisfaction of the designer, who always intervenes in the world as a whole when he states an imperfection of the present.
"It doesn't occur to a student to design a table if he's happy with all the tables that are available. He must be able to perceive a gap, a flaw, diagnose a need or a want," Heiz said. It was just a pity that the design theorist chose a too intellectual terminology for his interesting lecture, which the young audience was partly not able to follow.
Do not lose sight of the social context
A counterpoint to Heiz's theoretical digression was provided by Lars Müller, who spoke on the subject of "Design and Culture. The graphic designer and publisher, who works primarily in the cultural environment and holds a professorship for graphic design at the State University of Design in Karlsruhe, tried to guide the young graphic designers toward an "old" understanding of the profession, in which the communicator takes on an advisory, planning and conceptual function instead of just a formal design function.
"Due to the technology-heavy nature, design has become a formal discipline that is in danger of losing market value," said Lars Müller, who believes it is important to maintain a certain idealism in school graduates, but at the same time give them a soft landing in the real world.
Müller denies the graphic designer a share of responsibility in shaping the cultural present as long as he loses sight of the overall social context due to his concentration on technology. "Only when the design process is understood as a creative, constantly changing process can the design of culture, politics, architecture, products and graphics be equated," said the design professor.
After the award ceremony, the guests had the opportunity to practice designing interpersonal relationships at an aperitif.

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