Extra/Ordinary

Dornbracht Conversations 3

A further dimension on the rise of New Normal

Anyone who has been following the discussions, magazine articles and new books on the topic of design will have noticed that a major focal point is the apparently fundamentally changing perception of form. At many points, the concepts of “zeitgeist” and “lifestyle” give way to a new normality: “The New Normal”. What does that mean? Are timeless, unexcited and public-spirited qualities, and due care and attention the new signs of the times? “Personally, I am convinced that we will see a change in common values, which will be understood by at least one particular group of consumers,” said product designer Stefan Diez (participant in Dornbracht Conversations 1). “We will not just see designs as having value because they are perfectly handcrafted, but will also come to appreciate more strongly how this comes about.”
Economist and author Richard Florida even believes that a new consumer age is beginning, where status will no longer be demonstrated by abundance, but by means of conscientious consumerism. The trend towards this has been becoming apparent for a long time. Some time ago, an exhibition about the Biedermeier period entitled “The Invention of Simplicity” was already a talking point. The exhibition impressively summed up the reawakening of a yearning by the greater part of society for new lucidity, new clarity and even virtuousness, triggered by various crises and an ever-increasing degree of complexity.
The “Dornbracht Conversations (DC)” series dedicated itself to the related problematic, with the title “Extra/Ordinary. A further Dimension on the rise of New Normal”. Dornbracht Conversations provides a forum that regularly brings together personalities from the fields of architecture, design and art to address key issues on a trendsetting topic, present their own experiences and views and involve the public in the discussion. The aim of what was by now the third event in the Dornbracht Conversations series was essentially to discuss the connection between contemporary trends in society and their relevance for developing design strategies, product design and architecture. It addressed, for example, the changing and more probing way in which design is perceived – not just among design theorists or sociologists, but also by a wider audience, namely consumers of design. The panellists included Mateo Kries, curator and head of programme at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, the designer Michael Sieger, the architect Matteo Thun, the author Thomas Wagner, the creative director Mike Meiré and Andreas Dornbracht. The discussion was facilitated by Marcus Fairs, journalist and founder of the architecture and design platform “dezeen”. It became clear that Dornbracht, as a company, feels compelled permanently to address topical questions arising within the context of design, culture and architecture, and to develop successful products that are open for a wide range of shapes, whil maintaining the relevant product features of pithiness, proportion and precision. After all, maintaining an open mind and driving the evolution of the bathroom lie at the heart of the brand’s raison d’être.