Design PF

Exchange students Maura Moller (USA) and Daniel Braaten (CAN)

Maura Moller is 20 years old and student of Industrial Design at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio, United States.

Daniel Braaten is 28 year old and a student of Interdisciplinary Design at NSCAD University in Halifax, Canada.

Both Maura and Daniel are at Design PF BA Industrial Design for an exchange semester and participated in the workshop at Vitra Design Museum in spring 2023.

Daniel: "My name is Daniel Braaten, I am a 28 year old Interdisciplinary Design student at NSCAD University in Halifax, Canada. I am participating in a study abroad program at Hochschule Pforzheim in the industrial design department.
During my exchange semester here at Hochschule Pforzheim I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Vitra Design Workshop. It was a busy week full of opportunities for collaboration, learning, and companionship.

I was blown away by the beautiful workshop we were given access to and greatly enjoyed seeing the role it played in inspiring all of the students to create thoughtful and interesting work. I loved to be able to work in such a creative environment, and to have such excellent support by the instructors was invaluable. It was fascinating to see the collection of famous chairs and buildings created by so many high-profile designers and architects. It made such a difference to see them in person and to be able to interact with them in physical space after having read so much about them and seen so many pictures. As a Canadian, I found the experience enlightening and enriching.

I greatly enjoyed seeing the architecture of Lörrach and Weil Am Rhein because of how much it differs from typical Canadian buildings, and the various structures on the Vitra Campus were exceptional. I was surprised by how extensive the campus is, it is very large and boasts work from many famous designers. They were excellent hosts and gave us in-depth tours of the various facilities and buildings. To have such an intimate view of the campus and have access to all the world-class design was very inspiring and helped to foster an excellent creative atmosphere in our workshop. Not to mention the exceptional food!

Each of the design projects we worked on were based on a park or garden that we knew of, and we all created a form of seating for our chosen places. It was interesting to see what spaces each person chose and to learn about the parks that they care about. The interdisciplinarity of our group made the work we accomplished much more interesting, having students from various departments all mixed together created interesting collaboration and discussion. Seeing how each of my peers approached the initial brief and then went through the process of sketching, ideation and prototyping was very inspiring.
The collective focus of my peers was very strong, and each person poured a lot of energy and work into creating something that carefully addressed the need they saw within their chosen park or garden. The design processes people used seemed to reflect elements of each of their disciplines, and it helped my process to see how others addressed the same tasks in their own way.

Instructor feedback was extremely helpful and I am so grateful to have been able to have so much constructive discussion about the project. I think our design approaches as peers were for the most part quite similar and reflected individual tendencies and preferences, but I am curious how much of the similarities is due to the large impact Germany has had on the practice of design. Either way, something seemed to work because the presentations were strong and each person had a solid result and process represented.

Overall I am extremely grateful to have been able to participate in the Vitra Design Workshop, and very glad to have been able to work alongside such an excellent group of students and instructors in such an inspiring and beautiful environment."

Maura: "Hello! I’m Maura Moller, I study Industrial Design at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States. I’m 20 years old and in my 4th semester. 

My ground-breaking experience of the Vitra Design Workshop was seeing the rich history of design at Vitra. How they were pushing boundaries, advancing their designs, and innovating what something as simple as a chair can be. 

It was extremely interesting to tour the design facilities there and see the many different shapes, sizes, and types of chairs that have been designed at Vitra. Seeing so many different designs for such a straightforward object was eye-opening. I felt very free in my own design process and didn’t feel limited at all. I was able to be very creative and make what I wanted. 

I also really enjoyed working through the design process. Having the designs from Vitra as a resource was so helpful and inspiring. I also enjoyed working around so many other talented students. Seeing others' designs and talking to them about my own was very helpful. In my own process I enjoy making models, so having the opportunity to do this at Vitra was a lot of fun. It was amazing to have access to all the materials and tools I could need. 

What I’ve learned about the German design approach is that it is very orderly. Making prototypes and testing the product is very important. Throughout the design process there are a lot of periods of feedback and peer review. I find this process works well for me, and I hope to explore it more in the future."