Workshop No.1

Urban Creative Lifeworlds

Workshop held by Bernd Draser and Davide Brocchi / ecosign - Akademie für Gestaltung

Since the first cities were founded, they have been functioning as cultural, economic and creative hot spots. The sizzling urban lifestyles however grow in the urban peripheries, within flexible and informal networks. Throughout the 19th century, urban development was closely linked to industrialization; the last decades of deindustrialization are a challenge for many cities. Participation, networks and creativity are decisive factors for such challenges.

The “Ruhr Metropolis” adjacent to our venue, is a model for such structural changes;  remarkable efforts have been made. This is why it has been rewarded as Europe's Cultural Capital for 2010, following the maxim “Culture through Change, Change through Culture".

But there are still questions to be answered: How can the social and economic problems be transformed into more sustainable solutions? What is labour, what is leisure, what is a citizen in the post-industrial age? How can creativity be enhanced? How can we take advantage of the creative forces of urban peripheries? What are the perspectives of urban life in the future?

Our workshop will develop new concepts of urbanity, and creative solutions for future sustainable lifeworlds. Just the appropriate challenge for sustainable designers! We will go five steps to gain results:

1.     Analyzing urban living environments, discussing their structures, looking at the city as a system of interactions.

2.     Immersing into a real-life project of turning a normal urban environment into a creative lifeworld.

3.     Providing you a space for your creativity to shape new ideas, and to apply the new insights.

4.     Discussing and evaluating your ideas and sketches. This will be the real-life-test for your ideas.

5.     Presenting your work results and discussing them with the whole group.


Workshop No. 3

Shaping a Sustainable Future

Workshop held by Nina Gellersen / HSLU Lucerne and Luzius Schnellmann / HSLU Lucerne

Design is about shaping the future. In the past our discipline dealt with creating new products to satisfy customer wants and commercial needs. Today, things are not that simple. If we are to take the responsibility of a designer seriously, we have to include more aspects such as ecological und social needs. This is what social design is all about: A holistic approach of putting human well-being at the centre.

Design thinking is a powerful tool for changing the world we are currently living in into a better future. By approaching an issue from different perspectives we come up with new ideas, which can help answering the following questions:

How could we disengage ourselves from being so focussed on material goods?

Which sources could be more fruitful instead?

Are the proposed solutions really sustainable?

And if so: How can we make them popular?

We are looking for everyday solutions that make a contribution in changing our lives for the better. By sharing our skills, knowledge and resources we – as designers, but also humans as a whole – are able to create something that is worth more than the sum of its parts. Ideally, the results of this workshop can be posted as a manifesto, manual or blueprint on platforms such as,,,, or



Workshop No. 2

...what can we learn from the fish?

Workshop held by Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf / Wuppertal University

Our living and working environment is getting more and more complex. We have to deal with more information, more activities, more technology and more options of choice for products and services every day. What will our future be like? As designers we play an active role in shaping prospect lifestyles. Referring to sustainability we have to ask ourselves: What can we learn from nature regarding the organization of complexity in order to create sustainable life styles? Nature in itself is a complex system composed of self-organizing sub systems. Planet Earth exists for about 40 Billion years and is organizing itself ever since. No CEO is giving orders. Scientist discovered that protozoon began to live on Earth about 4 Billion years ago. Compared to that fact mankind is settling on Earth for a relative short period of time but has created a lot of trouble and environmental damage. In this workshop we will reflect the rules of self-organizing systems (for example: swarms of fish, ant colonies and bee-hives etc.) and prove their viability for sustainable solutions in human life. Many examples, like the organization of cargo flights on the basis of ant algorithms and office work on rules of swarm behavior have already shown, that swarm intelligence is a very useful resource to create sustainable solutions for complex problems.

In this workshop we want to find meaningful applications for swarm intelligence in everyday life, like for example: transportation/travel, work life balance, shopping and coordination of work and leisure time activities and others. 


Workshop No. 4

chaos and order in handling ressources

Workshop held by Prof. Anke Bernotat / Folkwang Hochschule - Industrial Design

Introduction- The swarm in general

A swarm is a combination of identical elements for generating abilities and characteristics, which a single individual does not have to its disposal. The cluster generates a single new form of life which behaves in order to specific principles and develops an own dynamic. The behavior of insects, birds or fishes within a swarm differs from the behavior of an individual which moves on its own. The dynamic of a group changes the actions of a single element. In contrast to this, a single individual can influence the movements of a swarm as well. Cause, activity and impact of a group are not only the result of single decisions, but rather depend on cohesion of the whole collective. Humans also move in groups or swarms. Where ever a lot of people meet with each other because of a similar or a different motivation, basic functions of the dynamic of swarms can be realized, for instance during a sporting event, a concert or a wedding.

Swarm- chaos and order in handling ressources for the example of water

The individuals of a swarm have to absorb resources to ensure their surviving and the surviving of the swarm. The resource of water is the central point for every life and thus is of particular importance for every form of life. Processing and sharing out resources like in an ant building is very efficient even tough it does not seem to be like this at first sight. Swarms appear to be chaotic but nevertheless they are well-regulated. Chaos and order have a central meaning according to the function of a swarm.

During the seminar both aspects, order and chaos shall be investigated and their relevance for  sharing out and handling with resources shall be pointed out. Biological examples shall be watched and checked carefully, to find out, if principles of their behavior can be adapted and used by human. The seminar aims at a conception of products and services, which provide a more efficient and sustainable handling with the resource of water referring to a huge group/swarm.

The following central questions shall be discussed

Which functions do order or disorder have within a swarm?

Which type of interaction does exist between the behavior of the swarm and the individual?

How are resources shared out and absorbed by the swarm?

How can principles of behavior for a more efficient and sustainable handling with the ressource of water be transfered to human?