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With Dr Malte Wagenfeld (RMIT) & Prof Wolfgang Laubersheimer (KISD).

Partner Program: Integrated Design, KISD (Köln International School of Design), Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Germany & Industrial Design.

KISD Cologne: http://kisd.de/en/kisd-online/

IMM Cologne: http://www.imm-cologne.com/en/imm/home/index.php

This is an exchange studio between RMIT and KISD, Cologne Germany. KISD students will visit RMIT in April and RMIT students will have the opportunity to visit KISD in June.

The industrial revolution powered by industrial mechanisation posed a threat to tacit craft knowledge acquired over millennia and handed down from master to apprentice. Design ‘think tanks’ such as the arts and crafts movements and the Bauhaus sought to develop strategies to address this issue and also to harness the design potential of industrial production. We now find ourselves in a third wave driven by globalisation and information technology which dramatically recasts the landscape for craft and design. This studio uses furniture and object design as away of researching the ways in which this changed “landscape” impacts how design can be done. Whilst addressing the loss, gain or change to craft knowledge.

It explores how design can be applied as a strategy to harness the potential of a globalised information technology whilst addressing the loss of craft knowledge – especially in highly developed economies – by finding a new resonance and market for it. With a focus on furniture and objects, in the context of highly developed economies (Australia and Germany) the proposition is to explore a merging of traditional craft practices with digital fabrication technology to produce a hybrid ‘cybercraft’ . This approach is underpinned by an aesthetic and philosophical method around the concept of ‘Schilcht’ (German) – a refined, sophisticated and ingenious simplicity.

Video conferencing and live feeds will enable remote connectivity for joint lectures and discussions for you to rigorously debate and explore the topic. You will undertake iterative material explorations with craft and digital processes and will build a shared knowledge resource that will inform your design response. You will work in a team of KISD and RMIT members, geographically distributed but digitally connected. These teams will engage in an innovative exploration of complex material issues which will include the experimentation with communication technology and digital fabrication as a critical element of the iterative design process. The final outcome will be a highly refined prototype finished at the KISD workshops in June, supported by an archive of experiments and an exegesis: a written and visual account of your engagement in the design process. The project will be exhibited at the international furniture fair ‘IMM Cologne’.

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Important Note:  As an exchange studio between RMIT and KISD the majority of design collaboration will occur online in the semester times at RMIT. Travel to KISD in Germany (June) is recommended but not a requirement of the studio, students who remain in Melbourne will remain connected and play a vital role in producing the final prototype by generating prototype components at RMIT and then sending digital files for their reproduction at KISD. Sponsorship to help cover travel cost is currently being sort, but this can not be guaranteed, students who wish to travel to Germany should expect costs of approximately $2000. The studio will include two intensive mode sessions in April and June, these will not interfere with normal classes, the studio will run until June 26, 2015.