Victor Papanek
The Politics of Design

Accompanying programme for the exhibition


Exhibition tour »Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design«
Regular tours in German from October 6, 2018 on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays 
Tours in English upon request, inquiries and bookings: 

Children's tour »Discover Victor's World«
On the following Sundays: 28 October, 25 November, 23 December 2018, 
27 January, 24 February, 3 March 2019
Tours in English upon request, inquiries and bookings: 


Anab Jain – Superflux
TALK (EN) | 7 March 2019
6:30 pm, Vitra Schaudepot
Superflux, founded by Anab Jain and Jon Ardern, is a design studio working in London (GB) and Ahmedabad (IN). In its experimental work, Superflux analyses design’s impacts and combines real designs with »Design Fiction« – narrative and speculative elements offering a glimpse into our future daily lives. Artificial intelligence, robotics, intelligent materials, and renewable materials are just some of Superflux’s themes. In her talk, Anab Jain discusses the political power inherent to this approach to design.
Free admission

Alice Rawsthorn – Design as an Attitude
TALK (EN) | 14 March 2019
6:30 pm, Vitra Schaudepot
While the world and life itself are becoming ever more complex, design as a means of influencing society is garnering increasing attention. In »Design as an Attitude«, author and design critic Alice Rawsthorn talks about how design can help us to navigate today’s tumultuous changes. Rawsthorn describes an eclectic and empowering vision of design that really can make a difference.
Free admission


Can Design Save Us?
OPENING TALK (EN) | 28 September 2018
6 pm, Fire Station
Can design really make our world a better place and offer solutions to global problems? To kick off the exhibition, Jan Boelen, Head of department Social Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Lucy Orta, artist, fashion designer, and Chair of Art in the Environment at the University of the Arts London discuss with Professor Alison J. Clarke, director of the Victor J. Papanek Foundation and co-curator of »Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design«, as well as Amelie Klein, co-curator for the exhibition for the Vitra Design Museum.
Free admission, please register under 

Alison J. Clarke – Design Revolution:
Victor Papanek, His Time and Why It All Still Matters
TALK (EN) | 22 November 2018
18:30 pm, Vitra Design Museum
The 1960s and early 1970s weren’t just the era of hippies and student revolt. It was also a time when the role of design was critically reassessed and its political and social purpose redefined. While designers like Victor Papanek called for a holistic view of design, initiatives such as the Italian group »Global Tools« propagated more radical and experimental approaches. In her talk, Alison J. Clarke, co-curator of the »Victor Papanek« exhibition, examines the era’s tendencies and protagonists and reflects on their continued relevance today.
Free admission

Sedia Uno – Furniture with a Mission
SPECIAL WORKSHOP (DE) | 24 November 2018
10:30 to 5:30 pm, Vitra Schaudepot
In 1974 the Italian designer Enzo Mari published 19 do-it-yourself furniture designs in his book »Autoprogettazione?« CUCULA, a Berlin-based project, today produces the »Sedia Uno« chair from this series together with refugees, who in the process learn important career skills. In a cooperative workshop with CUCULA, participants will not only build their own Sedia Uno, but they also learn more about the connection between politics and design.
€ 85.00 per person, registration:

Expert Talk: The Politics of Design
»Design as Tool for a Social and Ecological Change«
SPECIAL (DE) | 28 November 2018
7 pm, DRIVE, Volkswagen Group Forum, Berlin
Friedrichstraße 84, 10117 Berlin

In the framework of the exhibition »Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design«, Vitra Design Museum and Volkswagen Group are organizing an interdisciplinary panel discussion in Berlin. Ever more designers face their responsibility resulting from the realization that design is an important tool for social, ecological and hence political change. They examine complex themes including sustainability, identity, inclusion, our consumerist behavior, or the consequences of digitalization. But whereas a consensus seems to exist about collective aims – social justice, for instance, or a cleaner environment, there are different opinions on why design needs to confront the major questions of our time, how these aims can be reached and what kind of impact design can actually have.

The panel includes Axel Kufus, product designer and university professor, Director of the Institute of Product and Process Design at the Berlin University of the Arts until 2017, Henriette Ackermann, trend and material designer working on sustainable solutions, Volkswagen Group Future Center, as well as Amelie Klein, curator at the Vitra Design Museum. The expert talk is hosted by Antje Stahl, journalist and feature writer at the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and winner of the 2018 Michael Althen Prize for Criticism.

The expert talk will be held in German.
No registration needed, free admission

Uta Brandes – Gender in Design
TALK (DE) | 6 December 2018
6:30 pm, Vitra Schaudepot
Famous designers and architects are always men, and on the shelves of Western shops we find angled black products of steel for men and small, soft, and rounded items for women. For years the design expert Uta Brandes has investigated the theoretical and practical significance of gender in design. In her talk she discusses how gender should play a fundamental role in the design process and presents examples of design projects.
Free admission

Forensic Architecture – Investigative Architecture as a Tool for Political Intervention
TALK (EN) | 31 January 2019
6:30 pm, Vitra Schaudepot
Forensic Architecture is an interdisciplinary association of researchers at London’s Goldsmiths College whose members include designers, architects, and scholars. Founder Eyal Weizman, architect and professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures, talks about the group’s radical research methods focusing on the examination and visualization of human rights violations whose novel combination of design and politics is causing international furore.
Free admission

Dieter Landenberger – The Myth of the Bulli
TALK (DE) | 7 February 2019
6:30 pm, Vitra Schaudepot
The arrival of the Volkswagen Transporter, known as the »Bulli«, in 1950 marked the beginning of a new era in Wolfsburg. A workhorse of Germany’s economic miracle, this pop-cultural icon was colourfully painted and converted to a camper, making the models T1 and T2 into true cult objects among alternative cultures. Dieter Landenberger ,director of Volkswagen Heritage, discusses the history of the Transporter and explains how it became a symbol of our desires and wanderlust.
Free admission

Curator Tour »Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design«
Wednesday matinee (DE) | 6 March 2019
10 am, Vitra Design Museum

Can design be socially minded? Can it be a tool for political and social transformation? Erika Pinner, assistant curator of »Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design«, takes us on a tour of the exhibition, introduces Papanek's work, and examines contemporary design projects to show how design can effect change.
€ 10.00 per person

You can find all information on the exhibition here.