Design Lab #13
Material Legacies

04.11.2022 to 26.02.2023

The Design Lab #13 exhibition Material Legacies, developed in cooperation with design researchers from the Matters of Activity. Image Space Material Cluster of Excellence at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, explores contingencies and disruptions between traditional crafts and most recent developments at the interface of materials research, design, technology and architecture.

The exhibition project brings together artefacts from the Kunstgewerbemuseum’s (Museum of Decorative Arts) collection with work-in-progress installations by designers and researchers from the Cluster of Excellence to initiate a dialogue about the historical, current and future conditions under which materiality unfolds.

The Material Past, Present and Future

By surveying a range of different materials and techniques, the exhibition problematises unsustainable pasts and presents while also formulating notions of possible material futures. This occurs through the examination of shape-shifting surfaces and phase-shifting textiles and of the processes of calcification, mineralization and sedimentation.

Materials in Context

The project considers each of the exhibits within its socio-cultural, economic and political context. The focus was on questions such as: How can we make better use of left-over materials? What can we learn from the transfer of biological processes to the processing of materials? What do materials and artefacts teach us about our relationship with the environment?


Michaela Büsse, Mason Dean, Karola Dierichs, Michaela Eder, Lennart Eigen, Lorenzo Guiducci, Johanna Hehemeyer-Cürten, Heidi Jalkh, Agata Kycia, Claudia Mareis, John A. Nyakatura, Felix Rasehorn, Iva Rešetar, Patricia Ribault, Christiane Sauer, Igor Sauer, Maxie Schneider, Robert Stock, Josephine Shone, Emile de Visscher, Charlett Wenig.

The Matters of Activity. Image Space Material Cluster of Excellence

Matters of Activity. Image Space Material is an interdisciplinary research group with the aim of laying the foundations for a new culture of materials. It is based at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and conducts research at the interface of biology and technology, mind and material, nature and culture. The Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under the Excellence Strategy of the German Federal Government and the Länder. More information:

About Design Lab

Since 2019, the Design Lab exhibition series has invited selected design studios, students and researchers to present current projects and to engage in discourse with the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts. The series is curated by Claudia Banz, curator for design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum.

Design Lab is supported by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Board of Trustees.

A special exhibition of the Kunstgewerbemuseum – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in cooperation with the Matters of Activity. Image Space Material Cluster of Excellence at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

10785 Berlin

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Sun 11:00 - 18:00
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Tue closed
Wed 10:00 - 17:00
Thu 10:00 - 17:00
Fri 10:00 - 17:00
Sat 11:00 - 18:00

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To the Cluster of Excellence „Matters of Activity. Image Space Material “