The concept of sustainability describes the use of a regenerative system in such a way that its essential characteristics are preserved and it can replenish its resources naturally.
Consequently, in the master's degree programme »Product Design/ Sustainable Product Cultures«, the research focuses on expanding the relevant criteria of Product Design to include social, environmental and energetic influences on product culture, and on developing new solutions.
The potential of urgently needed energy-saving measures in our product culture exists at several levels:
- The socio-political circumstances
- The energy expenditures in the material and product cycles
- The customers' and target group's usage behaviour
This approach does not merely entail replacing standards of our product culture with presumably environmentally friendly ones and searching for ways to reduce technical expense, but rather investigating the sense of product systems, their conditions of emergence, their cycles, and optimizing the total performance of these systems.
There are two levels to this evaluation of cost and benefit, both of which complement the other – on one hand, to produce more with less material and energy, and on the other, to sustainably change usage behaviour. The former is an established hallmark for sophisticated design and deserves to be critically and vigilantly developed further.
The latter is a task which design must embrace, because political appeals to moral obligation will only result in an environmentally relevant usage behaviour if, for example, energetically effective product reduction can free itself of the stigma of sacrifice and deprivation. Since qualitative values underlie various parameters in this evaluation, the development of a more energy-efficient design standard must not come at the expense of experimentation and diversity of design.
Design will only have a relevant future if designers continue to detach themselves from function, technology, the market, trends and advertising, and focus instead on confidently pursuing their own provocative positions. The prescribed period of study, which includes the completion of the master's thesis, is two semesters. Candidates may only enrol in this degree programme in the winter semester.