Collecting

Lending shape to new ideas

We discuss a museum of the future as a vibrant design platform with the aim not only of identifying and procuring key contemporary witnesses but also tapping into and teaching historical and current development processes in design. We use the word “collect” to define this area of work. The aim is to appreciate and communicate both known as well as (still) unknown design works and personalities in terms of their relevance to design culture. The intention is for science and research as well as the general public to benefit from the results. The first step in the creation of a “digital museum” has already been taken.

Samples of the WMF inventory of the historical archive

Bowls by sculptor Günter Kupetz, 1956
Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen (Steige)

Bowls by sculptor Günter Kupetz, 1956

Photography: Werkaufnahme, WMF Geislingen/Steige.
Object: Bowls by sculptor Günter Kupetz, 1956, Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen (Steige).
Source: Historical archives German Design Council (Inv.-Nr.: SDDM_HF_0.000.384.002)


"Stockholm" Besteck 4-teilig von Dipl. Ing. Kurt Mayer, 1955
Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen/Steige

"Stockholm" Besteck 4-teilig von Dipl. Ing. Kurt Mayer, 1955

Fotografie: Werkaufnahme, WMF Geislingen/Steige. Objekt: "Stockholm" Besteck 4-teilig von Dipl. Ing. Kurt Mayer, 1955, Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen/Steige. Quelle: Historisches Fotoarchiv Rat für Formgebung (Inv.-Nr.: SDDM_HF_0.000.230.


Modernes versilbertes Rahmservice von Marianne Denzel
WMF Geislingen/Steige

Modernes versilbertes Rahmservice von Marianne Denzel

Fotografie: Werkaufnahme, WMF Geislingen/Steige.
Objekt: Modernes versilbertes Rahmservice von Marianne Denzel.
Quelle: Historisches Fotoarchiv Rat für Formgebung (Inv.-Nr.: SDDM_HF_0.000.307.002)


Messerserie "Classica" von Prof. K. Dittert, 1963/64
Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen/Steige

Messerserie "Classica" von Prof. K. Dittert, 1963/64

Fotografie: Werkaufnahme, WMF Geislingen/Steige.
Objekt: Messerserie "Classica" von Prof. K. Dittert, 1963/64, Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen/Steige.
Quelle: Historisches Fotoarchiv Rat für Formgebung (Inv.-Nr.: SDDM_HF_0.000.170.002)


Kragenvase von Sigrid Kupetz, 1957
Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen (Steige)

Kragenvase von Sigrid Kupetz, 1957

Fotografie: Werkaufnahme, WMF Geislingen/Steige.
Objekt: Kragenvase von Sigrid Kupetz, 1957, Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen (Steige).
Quelle: Historisches Fotoarchiv Rat für Formgebung (Inv.-Nr.: SDDM_HF_0.000.134.002)


Honig- oder Geleedose von Kurt Radtke, DID, 1959
Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen/Steige

Honig- oder Geleedose von Kurt Radtke, DID, 1959

Fotografie: Werkaufnahme, WMF Geislingen/Steige.
Objekt: Honig- oder Geleedose von Kurt Radtke, DID, 1959, Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen/Steige.
Quelle: Historisches Fotoarchiv Rat für Formgebung (Inv.-Nr.: SDDM_HF_0.000.462.002)


Entwicklung eines Kindermessers von Günter Kupetz, 1955
Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen (Steige)

Entwicklung eines Kindermessers von Günter Kupetz, 1955

Fotografie: Werkaufnahme, WMF Geislingen/Steige.
Objekt: Entwicklung eines Kindermessers von Günter Kupetz, 1955, Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik Geislingen (Steige).
Quelle: Historisches Fotoarchiv Rat für Formgebung (Inv.-Nr.: SDDM_HF_0.000.226.00


Cocktailbecher von Prof. Dr. Braun-Feldweg, 1961
WMF Geislingen/Steige

Cocktailbecher von Prof. Dr. Braun-Feldweg, 1961

Fotografie: Werkaufnahme, WMF Geislingen/Steige.
Objekt: Cocktailbecher von Prof. Dr. Braun-Feldweg, 1961, WMF Geislingen/Steige.
Quelle: Historisches Fotoarchiv Rat für Formgebung (Inv.-Nr.: SDDM_HF_0.000.070.002)



Show all ()
Show less
Developing a design inheritance for the future

Under the working title "German product design in the 20th century, 1950s-1980s" the operational archive of the German Design Council will be recorded and digitised on a scientific basis and made accessible as part of an ambitious project. This will enable us to create and conduct further research into a unique photo archive and make it visible for future generations. 

For an archive of the future
with 42,000 new, digital image data sets
that can be used by the general public and professionals 

we will record, conduct research into and preserve 
42,000 original photographs + with captions on the reverse
24,000 register folders with individual entries
5,700 slides 

in cooperation with
Deutsche Fotothek (WMF inventory)
Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB)
arthistoricum.net (Specialised Information Services Art Photography Design)
Hochschule Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, Department of Media

With generous support during the pilot phase 2015 of

Journey through time

In the mid-1950s the German Design Council begins documenting the dynamic as well as continuous development of German industrial design . The result is a valuable operational archive for producers, designers, teachers and students. Geared towards the “German Warenkunde” (merchandise knowledge) system, it is expanded in the decades that follow. All significant but also lesser-known mass-produced items for everyday life, work and capital goods from German and international manufacturers, are represented. The addition of photos from exhibitions and trade fairs, from arts and crafts broadens the range. By the mid-1980s the collection encompasses around 42,000 photographs and around 5,700 slides.
This archive represents unique potential for the 21st century that we will preserve, maintain and make available for new uses.

Pioneers of the modern age

In a one-year pilot phase, curators have evaluated examples from the extensive collection of items in order to verify its significant importance in terms of design history. Pioneering brands and companies such as Thonet, Braun, Knoll International, Wilde & Spieth, Gebr. Peill & Putzler Glashüttenwerke GmbH, Jenaer Glaswerk Schott & Genossen are represented. Together with many others, they reflect key development processes in modern product design and bear witness to the wealth of ideas from leading designers such as Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Max Bill, Dieter Rams, Hans Gugelot, Egon Eiermann and Günter Kupetz. With protagonists such as Willi Moegle, Karl Schumacher and Adolf Lazi, even still-life photography is changing - and becoming the setting for modern brand communication.

Digital, not museum pieces: The start has been made

The photographs of the Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik WMF in the historical photo archive have already been recorded in a scientific inventory with support from the Hessische Kulturstiftung and are being digitized on a continual basis. 580 originals are being digitized. Ground-breaking design objects such as flatware, bowls, candlesticks, kitchen utensils and glassware are preserved for the future. The celebrity designers of these items include Kurt Mayer, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Sigrid Kupetz, Günter Kupetz and Karl Dittert. As an oeuvre photographer, Karl Schumacher is of central importance for the imagery.

In cooperation with copyright owners and companies

Once the whole archive has been fully explored, many design icons of the modern era will be seen in a new light; side by side, even perhaps with spectacular new discoveries. In order to make as many pioneers of modern product designs as possible both visible and utilizable for the 21st century on a permanent basis, we are contacting all the companies represented in the collection.   Accept our invitation and play your part in sifting through valuable stocks of individual items, capturing them in digital form and preserving them for posterity as well as for your own company.