Design is never innocent

Documentary by Reinhild Dettmer-Finke

53 Min., 2021, ZDF/Arte/SRF

on SRF29.8.2021  at 12 o'clock

on arte: 28.4.2021 at 21.40 o'clock

The problems facing our planet, such as environmental degradation, climate change, dwindling resources and global inequality, are nothing new to us, and yet we continue to pursue our wasteful lifestyles. Is design responsible for these problems if it encourages mass consumption with ever new products and trends? How can design help put an end to the destructive exploitation of our planet? This film showcases designers who experiment with unusual materials, such as seaweed and fungi, study energy-saving production methods in interdisciplinary teams and ask critical questions about the responsibility designers have for their products and production methods. A return to critical approaches to design in the 20th century shows how design theorist and educator Viktor Papanek, who was an advocate of politically responsible design, is experiencing a revival and inspiring many contemporary designers. Julia Lohmann builds installations and objects from seaweed. Marjan van Aubel wants to achieve a "solar democracy" with equipment and buildings that generate their own power. And in their "Superflux" laboratory, British designer and artist duo Anab Jain and Jon Ardern speculate about our possible future, when climate change will make Earth barely habitable. 

Mateo Kries, Director of the Vitra Design Museum, and Alison J. Clark, Director of the Papanek Foundation, shed light on the context of design history.

See the Trailer 


Alison J. Clark: Victor Papanek


Director: Reinhild Dettmer-Finke

Director of Photography: Daniel Waldhecker I Kerstin Pommerenke I Roland Wagner I Mark Klotz I Jamie Lucas

Montage: Mike Schlömer

Music: Karl-Heinz Blomann

Producer: Anahita Nazemi (Kobalt Documentary)

Commissioning Editor: Kathrin Brinkmann ZDF/arte, Christian Walther SRF

nominated in International Competition at NaturVision Filmfestival

UNCOVER Design Festival Mannheim: 18. June 2021 at 19:00