Then came the crisis, the protests and the alternatives (1973-1989). With the arrival of Erich Honecker as First Secretary of the GDR in 1971 and the decline of the country’s economic power, along with the large companies’ switch to export, many designers reinvented their careers by adopting more craftsmanlike solutions, eschewing mass production. In the GFR too, the 1973 oil crisis proved determining for industrial design, which began to look at alternative solutions, also more craft-orientated, artistic and experimental.
The hundreds of pieces on exhibit include famous ones such as the Karl Clauss Dietel’s iconic Simson S50 motorbike (1975), which introduced the so-called “open principle,” in which each structural element is clearly recognisable and easily replaced, and Dieter Rams’ radio-phonograph (1956), nicknamed “Snow White’s Coffin” on account of its transparent lid, along with rare pieces such as Luigi Colani’s sculptural Poly-COR loop chair, produced for the German COR company (1968) and Renate Müller’s therapeutic toys.
Two countries and one history: shared, built on clashes and disagreements, but also on interconnections and synergies.
German Design 1949–1989. Two Countries, One History
Runs until 20th February 2022
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Kunstgewerbemuseum)