The research of the Professorship for Theory and History of Design focuses on the relationship between design theory and cultural history, and the history of media and information technology in particular. As such, design is not considered as autonomous discipline, but as universal practice, which encompasses the traditional notion of design as craft or artistic work. Instead the Professorship aims at developing multidisciplinary models and epistemic methods, and to contextualise them within the larger cultural history. This includes not only design processes and their results, but also their underlying paradigms and dynamics, on which, ultimately, the understanding and implementation of design is based on. Given that scope, the research of the Professorship can be conceived as a form of laboratory work, where design is explored through specific approaches and questions, not through mere generalisation and abstraction.

This holds particularly true for the Professorship’s research into contemporary design cultures: Central is the critical reflection of the digital turn and its disruptive practices, which, just like the first avatars of the digital revolution during the 1960s, is begetting a new (radical) way of design and making. This entails the investigation into the “inner mechanics“ of novel digital design cultures and evolving information technologies, fostering expanded concepts, strategies and techniques, to develop an in-depth understanding of such contemporary design practices and their epistemic potentials – such as, for example, novel computational design and fabrication technology – as well as their disciplinary and historical impact.