Design in and from Frankfurt


Since the start of industrialisation, Frankfurt and the Rhine Main region have played an important role in international design: notably the Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony in Darmstadt, Michael Thonet, the pioneering manufacturer of mass-produced furniture, and the Frankfurt Adlerwerke, which by 1914 were supplying one fifth of the cars in Germany.

In 1925, Ernst May awas appointed director of town planning of Frankfurt. The housing estates of “New Frankfurt” designed by May and Ferdinand Kramer have come to be regarded as milestones in design history - as did the precursor of the fitted kitchen by Grete Schütte-Lihotzky. of the same period. After WWII, this pre-war modernism became fashionable again and loved all over the world, for instance in the streamlined design of the Braun AG of Kronberg whose product design Dieter Rams took over in 1955. Internationally famous in the 60s: the posters by graphic designer Gunter Rambow. With innovative exhibition concepts and ironic product designs, the designer Volker Albus made a name for himself in the New German Design of the 80s.

Starting in the 70s, numerous successful design firms have been set up in the Rhine Main area, often founded by graduates from the HfG [School of Design] in Offenbach and the Universities of Applied Sciences in Mainz, Wiesbaden and Darmstadt. New, design-oriented manufacturers such as "serien Raumleuchten" or "e15" have a similar background. Because of the many consumer goods fairs held here, Frankfurt has become an important international meeting point for designers and design-based companies. companies.

Interdisciplinary projects such as the event series Design Horizonte or the Luminale seek to put applied arts and design in a broader social context. The Rhine Main area’s design scene is constantly evolving, whereas the duty of collecting and researching the history and development of design lies with the museums and institutions. The Museum Angewandte Kunst [Museum of Applied Arts] holds an extensive design collection and the Rat für Formgebung [German Design Council], Germany’s leading design institution, is based in Frankfurt and has the largest design library in Germany.