The MAK Design Collection was established in 2005 and represents a broad spectrum of design output from Austria. The design
concept in question encompasses a multifaceted range of aspects, from industrial production and handcrafted manufacture to
unique art objects and prototypes, from utility objects and fashion to graphic arts and media design.
A new profile is currently being developed in the interest of making contemporary designincluding international stancespermanently
visible in the exhibition spaces of the MAK. At issue is the way in which the area of design is to relate to long-established
collecting areas, as well as the inclusion of current, process-oriented productions and strategies in an expanded, socially
and ecologically committed approach to design which can feature both performative and participatory elements. Viewed in this
light, a physical collection of domestic utilitarian wares would seem to be obsolete. Nevertheless, a museum of applied arts
functions as memory for a societys (everyday) cultural production, with the objective of initiating creative thought
processes and impulses for positive change.
Everything is designdesign is everything
Key objects, those that are helpful in providing support for the development of a collecting strategy oriented toward the
future of the museum as such, are in fact those which question their own belonging to the recently created MAK Design Collectionare
they design, art, handcrafted items, something else entirely? Constructed using the most diverse materials and techniques
and created as part of both fine and applied practices, such objects either flirt with the previously
established collection areas or resist categorization entirely by virtue of their seeming indifference to design, as is the
case with the publication Katalog 98 Samen & Pflanzen [Catalogue 98 Seeds & Plants], (Mitgliedernachrichten [Member News] No. 1, Schiltern / Langenlois, Lower Austria 1998,
Arche Noah, printed book).
All [human beings] are designers, for design is the primary underlying matrix of life, wrote Victor
Papanek in 1971 in Design for the Real World (Pantheon Books), thereby laying the theoretical foundation for a universal conception of design that goes beyond the object
fetish to put human beings at the center. Design is an elementary tool and medium with which to both change our environment
and effect societal change. The MAK Design Collection unites the most recent strategies aimed at taking on this complex challenge.
Be they poetic (as in ibu, 1995, by EOOS / Martin Bergmann, Gernot Bohmann, Harald Gründl), hypothetical (as in Citizen Evolution, 2010, by Jessica Charlesworth and Marei Wollersberger), experimental (as in Grande tête, 2003, by Robert Stadler), playful (as in Ping meets Pong, 2002, by Walking Chair / Fidel Peugeot, Karl Emilio Pircher), or participatory (as in Till You Stop How Much Is Too Much?, 2010, by mischertraxler / Katharina Mischer, Thomas Traxler), the methods of and approaches to using design to initiate
processes of thought and change, as well as to bring forth a new, sustainability-oriented type of consumption, seem more multi-layered
and comprehensive than those which one would at first associate with a design collection.
German 256 pages, 264 illustrations, 220 full color Softcover Birkhäuser Publishers 2006
A Cooperation of MAK & Vienna Business Agency, creativ center departure
In the newly developed formats departure/ MAK d>link, d>lab, and d>nite, renowned international design experts will enter
into an exchange with representatives of Viennas creative industry to interrogate, challenge, and shape relations between
design, industry, and society. Different events will provide an opportunity of looking out together for new possibilities, interfaces, cooperations, and, eventually, fields of activity.