New Materials and Technology

The New Materials and Technology field of teaching has been established as an interdisciplinary field of teaching and research alongside design and theoretical instruction at the School of Design. The basic course encompasses the communication of specialist fundamentals concerning technology, materials and construction in design. On the advanced course, knowledge of technology and materials is consolidated and deepened. The focus hereby is on relationships between technologies and formal, cultural, social and artistic issues.​

Preliminary note

In terms of scope, design and in particular product design have always been technology driven. Here functional form is only one of many objectives. The practical and theoretical examination of the aesthetics of objects, of their interplay with us and their environment, of their fate after their intended use or in spite of this intention, preserves and maintains their driving force through technological advancement. The inclusion of technology is of vital importance for insightful, knowledge-building research with and through design in particular. Technologies form the practical tools of creative processes, provide working materials and methods for the materialization of results. Technological possibilities and limits define new tasks for design. Technological expertise is therefore indispensable for designers in order to be able to hold a competent discourse on our future living and working environments and to actively shape our everyday and cultural contexts. This competence only starts to accrue when we stop being satisfied with the conceptual surface, the catchphrase and having heard of it before.


Taking into account the preliminary note, the trans-disciplinary educational objective of HfG Offenbach as well as the often minor technical-scientific prior knowledge, to begin with the lectures on the basic course offer a low-threshold introduction to technology in design.

The most important material properties and their relevance for product design are introduced on the basis of a quintessential canon of materials (metals, polymers/elastomers, biogenic materials) in the two seminars of the basic course (Technology 1+2). Material behavior is conveyed qualitatively and quantitatively by means of practical examples, in part through students’ experiments. The focus is also on theoretical approaches to assess stability and resilience of materials as seen before the backdrop of exemplary materials knowledge. In the Technology 3 (T3) seminar for the advanced course, the canon of materials is widened to include natural and synthetic composite materials such as wood, paper or fiber-reinforced plastics and ceramic materials. The communication of knowledge concerning processes, handling and manipulation of individual groups of materials takes place alongside and intermeshed with the discussion on materials. The methods currently used in industry or in scientific research are presented and discussed alongside hands-on techniques (i.e. within the context of the university’s technical equipment).

Goals of the seminar are the acquisition of a systematic understanding of materials including physical, chemical and bionic modeling concepts (forces, statics, geometry, morphology) as well as gaining knowledge of materials processing as a whole that specifically prompts students to transgress limits. The transgression of limits, understood as competent creativity, is the ability to initiate creative-experimental technology transfer. This means, for example, the processing and shaping of materials with technologies and machines that were not originally developed for these materials. Within the framework of the seminars, the conflicts of goals in product development that arise out of challenges concerning functionality and topicality, longevity and market orientation, growth compulsion and sustainability will also be discussed.


Technology & Image of Humanity

Photographic/artistic and scientific research into the effects of techno-medical body modifications and augmentations as well as body-part substitutions on the self-perception and perception by others of the human body.


Biologically based materials, biomineralization and creative substitution processes. Conceptual and practice-oriented research in collaboration with Prof. Markus Holzbach (field of teaching Visualization and Materialization). 


4 February 2015
4 February 2015 Wednesday
O a kl2