College of Design Ulm

The Ulm College of Design had already become one of the leading and most progressive teaching establishments for design and environment planning in the brief 15 years of its existence. Inaugurated in 1955, the college building followed a design by Max Bill. It was likewise Max Bill who formulated the college curriculum that attracted students from the whole world. According to Bill’s wish, the designer should design products »that are better and cheaper than all others and help to improve the living standard of wide sections of society and the create a culture of our technological age«. In addition to Bill, who became the first College Principal in 1953, Inge Scholl and Otl Aicher were also closely involved with the foundation of the HfG Ulm. As former Bauhaus pupil Bill attempted to organize the College subjects along the lines of the Bauhaus model. The teaching was intended to form a link between art and design. However, not all lecturers shared Bill’s viewpoints.

Unbridgeable differences of opinion resulted in Bill leaving the College in 1957. Renowned designers taught at the College, for example, Hans Gugelot and Thomas Maldonado, who fundamentally revised the teaching after Bill’s departure, also the philosopher Max Bense in the department »Information« and the film-makers Alexander Kluge and Edgar Reitz, who worked in the subsequently affiliated film department. With the newly designated visual communication of the »Ulmer Model« it was intended to teach a design of information that served society and not for instance consumer advertising. This concept, that gave greater emphasis to theory and science, also had its opponents. After Max Bill had been ousted from the College and the power blocks started to falter, the final blow was delivered by the political situation of the sixties. The political clashes and the student movement of 1968 to impose radically new concepts resulted in the dismissal of all staff lecturers. The College closed down in 1968.