The Consequences of Design

The Consequences of Design

Intervention at the imm cologne, 14th to 20th, 2013, Hall 3.2, Place E-045.

Do we realize that we don’t sit on just a chair – we sit on crude oil and on vast quantities of water used in production? Only a few companies are assessing the environmental impact of their products and, in so doing, creating a basis for improvements in future products. This is a start, but why not consider products or product-service systems that avoid unrecoverable or toxic resources? This installation, a collaboration between the Institute of Design Research Vienna (IDRV) and the Köln International School of Design (KISD), strikingly demonstrates the total raw material consumption of a plastic stacking chair in all the phases of its life cycle. The water used to make the object, for example, is visible in a bag.

„If you invest energy in creating something, do it wisely and effectively, celebrate diversity of people and nature, respect the limits given to us by our planet, and create joy and quality of life for everybody involved – including yourself. Life is too precious…“ Ursula Tischner


This installation is part of IDRV’s “Tools for the Design Revolution” exhibition, which shows how we can help to overcome the planet’s ecological crisis. The tools are methods and instructions for sustainable design, which play a major role in the transformation to a sustainable society and in the formulation of environmentally compatible lifestyles based on global solidarity.

In addition to the installation contrary statements are presented which aim to animate the visitor to state a comment and participate.

The share of thoughts will be documented by the individual comments and the discourse is visualized by the growing statement trees. The KISD displays publications on topically related thesises of their alumnis.

A table invites to sit down, read and discuss. Students intiiate a dialogue and reflect on their reactions.


The Institute of Design Research Vienna (IDRV) is making an independent research contribution outside of the university to the establishment of design science in the areas of design history, product design and sustainable design. Visit or see us on iTunes U and on Facebook!

The Köln International School of Design, an internationally oriented institution, is one of the most distinguished training centers for the core design disciplines in Europe. The education is interdisciplinary and focusses on the individual responsibility of the designer.

[slideshow gallery_id=”1″]