The association Netzwerk Designgeschichte NDG (Eng. Design History Network) is a platform that connects people interested in design history within Switzerland, both from theory and practice, and facilitates exchanges among them. The aim of the association NDG is to promote the awareness, research and mediation of design history in Switzerland. This includes a broad spectrum of design-historically oriented disciplines from both established and newly emerging fields such as the history of graphic, product, industrial, textile, fashion, jewellery, interaction and game design, and illustration amongst others.

Current Board: Meret Ernst, Mònica Gaspar, David Glättli, Ariana Pradal, Sabina Tenti, Peter Vetter and Robert Wettstein.

Membership

As a member, you will regularly receive our newsletter and invitations to our various activities where we foster exchange on relevant topics. At the annual general meeting in early summer, we discuss and determine the projects and goals for the coming year.

With the membership fee, we cover the costs for the creation and maintenance of our website, events and meetings.

Students membership (with valid student identity card): CHF 30.
Regular membership: CHF 90.
Institutional membership: CHF 300.

Your membership will be valid for a calendar year. Without further notice, you will automatically receive a payment order for the following year. If you have any question regarding your membership please contact us: members_at_netzwerk-designgeschichte.ch 


Register

Upcoming: Show & Tell with Simone Gugger, 4 June 2024, 6pm

NDG member and jewellery designer Simone Gugger is celebrating her 20th anniversary this year. She will be presenting a retrospective of her work, exhibitions and publications in her studio.

Venue: Hochstrasse 13, 8044 Zürich

Registration

Upcoming: Visit Therma Schaulager, 20 April, from 1 p.m in Schwanden

Therma, a factory for electrical appliances, quickly developed from its headquarters in 1907 into a company with a worldwide reputation. It existed independently until 1978 when it was absorbed into the Electrolux Group. The archive is now being developed into a showroom, and a book on the history and development of Therma products is in the works. Both recall a memorable chapter in Swiss design history, the energy centre of which was the village of Schwanden for a century. – We will then visit the Schätti metal goods factory.

Venue: Sernftalstrasse 34, 8762 Schwanden. Registration needed

5th General Assembly, 22 March 2024 @ Gewerbemuseum Winterthur

Our General Assembly took place at Gewerbemuseum Winterthur on invitation of our member director Susanna Kumschick. A guided tour of the Perfectly Imperfect exhibition and an insight into the new show Blood & Dust–When Residues Become Materials by member Franziska Müller-Reissmann kicked off our General Assembly. Afterwards we went for dinner at Restaurant Molino.

NDG+ Gesellschaft für Designgeschichte, 4 March 2024

What is the status of design history in Germany? How does the GfDg link research with practice, and what does cooperation with museums, universities, and archives entail? Board members Kilian Steiner and Thilo Schwer discussed networking in design history matters with us, gave tips and explained what it takes (in German).

Talk: Appearance and decay, 1 February 2024

The surface shows what shines or what has lost its lustre. But surfaces also fullfil a function and are far more than just a beautiful appearance. The discussion in the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur about design, craftsmanship, restoration and art explores how deep the surface of things is—chaired by NDG board member Meret Ernst, Susanne Graner, Head of Collection and Archive, Vitra Design Museum; NDG board member Mónica Gaspar, lecturer, freelance curator and author; Noelani Rutz, designer; and Frédéric Dedelley, designer.

Show & Tell with Sabina Tenti about Martha Huber-Villiger, 24 January 2024

NDG board member Sabina Tenti has worked on the estate of interior architect and designer Martha Huber-Villiger. She was Charlotte Perriand's employee in her Paris studio in 1952. Together with Jean Prouvé, they developed the furniture types Equipment d'habitation. A ten-month stay in Japan with Perriand had a lasting impact on Martha Villiger's work. We learn this and much more when we look at her estate, which is kept at the gta Archives at ETH Zurich.

Visit Ricola Kräuterzentrum and Schauarchiv, 2 December 2023

How does a sweet manufacturer become a company that is now active worldwide? What roles do herbs play in this, and what roles does design play? The tour, organised exclusively for the NDG, first took us to Ricola's herb centre. The clay building by architects Herzog & de Meuron is the central location for processing and storing the herbs. Afterwards, we visited the newly established archive at the company's headquarters.

Dine & Tell with Studio David Glättli Zurich / Tokyo, 21 November 2023

David Glättli is an art director, consultant, design manager and curator for Japanese manufacturers, international companies and institutions, including Karimoku New Standard. How can a company use its tradition, idiosyncrasies and unique skills? What makes a mediation between designers and manufacturers successful? David Glättli discussed these and other questions for our NDG members during a dinner in the Japanese restaurant Hikari in Zurich.

Please, take a seat. 150 years of the Dietiker chair factory, 10 October 2023

Not many Swiss design companies can look back on such a long history as Dietiker. That is why the Kulturhaus Obere Stube in Stein am Rhein is dedicating an exhibition to the 150th anniversary of the "Sesseli". NDG board member und curator of the exhibition Ariana Pradal gave a guided tour of the presentation.

Book launch Rosmarie Baltensweiler. Life and work, 14 September 2023

Design is a way of perceiving and changing the world. It offers the chance to build a business and cultivate relationships. Rosmarie Baltensweiler (1927-2020) took advantage of all these opportunities. Together with her husband Rico Baltensweiler (1920-1987), she founded a company that is still internationally successful today and focused early on sustainable production and lighting. A large-scale monograph presents her life and work. NDG co-president Meret Ernst introduces Rosmarie Baltensweiler's role as a designer.

Show & Tell with Heike Schmitz-Esser, Enthusiatic Approval, 6 July 2023

New NDG member Heike Schmitz-Esser leads us through her showroom and talks about the Jakob Bengel manufactory and its Art Deco jewellery from the 1930s. Enthusiastic Approval presents not only Art Deco jewellery but also avant-garde designs by artists and architects from the early 20th century.

Swiss Design Awards, 13 June 2023

David Glättli, a member of the Federal Design Commission and a NDG board member, gave us an guided tour of the Swiss Design Awards exhibition, which presents the candidates who have been nominated in a two-stage process for the award.

4th General meeting, 12 May 2023

For this year's General Assembly we have put together a design-historically interesting programme. First, we took a guided tour of the Horgenglarus furniture factory in Glarus to learn how one of the oldest Swiss chair and table manufacturers produces. For the general assembly we were guests at the impressive Freulerpalast in Näfels, whose special exhibition also presented textiles from the Glarus printing company Mitlödi.

Meeting with design researcher and author Guy Julier, 22 April 2023

Guy Julier is a full professor at the Department of Design at Aalto University in Helsinki. He is the author of Economies of Design and The Culture of Design. A keen observer, scholar and practitioner, he has more than 30 years of experience researching global changes in design, business and society. On his journey through Europe, he stopped in Zurich and we met up with him.

Visit to Ruedi Rock's tubular steel furniture warehouse, 9 March 2023

The well-known furniture dealer Ruedi Rock has brought together his collection of historic tubular steel furniture in a storage room. He granted NDG members an exclusive insight into his universe. It was an experience for fans of historical furniture.

NDG+ Design History Foundation, Barcelona, 28 February 2023

Our first guest in the new NDG+ format was Barcelona's Design History Foundation FHD. lt's chair, lsabel Campi talked in our online event about the motivation for establishing this foundation, what activities the FHD organises, and what goals it is striving for. And she also put light on the situation of design historiography in Spain in conversation with NDG board member Monica Gaspar.

Dine & Tell, 30 November 2022

Direct contact between NDG members is very important to us. That's why we tried out the new format Dine & Tell at the end of November, which combines exchange with a dinner. Nine of us (only the last ones are still to be seen in the photo) were at Bar Basso and talked about what moved us "design-wise" this year. The conversations were wonderfully enriching.

Show & Tell with Robert Wettstein, 15 September 2022

The designer Robert Wettstein presented his big collection of Landi chairs. He owns a copy of each production and shared with us his great knowledge about this chair.

3rd General meeting, 13 May 2021

Our General Assembly took place at Lehni. The company has been producing aluminium furniture since the 1960s. It cultivates its design heritage, to which Max Bill, Andreas Christen, Frédéric Dedelley, Sol Lewitt and Donald Judd, among others, have contributed.

Show & Tell with Paola de Martin and Hans ten Dornkaat, 12 April 2022

In the first edition of the format Show & Tell, Paola de Martin and Hans ten Doornkaat talked about their work and gave an insight into their practice.
Hans ten Doornkaat talked about the concept and scenography of the exhibition «Picture books: illustrated and staged» that takes place at the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur right now. 
Paola De Martin told what it took to fund her PhD publication.

2021 DHS Annual Conference: Memory Full? Reimagining the relations of Design and History

From 1 to 4 September 2021, the Design History Society held its annual conference for the first time in Switzerland. For the first time as well, it was held on a fully digital format, thanks to an engaged organisation team on site and the infrastructure of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design, Basel. The digital conference attracted 260 active participants. Four keynotes, 87 papers and two workshops, and a series of 7 book presentations and ten virtual visits through which students of the HGK FHNW guided conference guests virtually through Switzerland rounded off the programme. As convenors, Meret Ernst and Monica Gaspars welcomed 104 speakers as convenors, who came from almost all over the world - from 4 continents and 34 countries. Those who missed the conference and the high-level debates on archives and materials, critique and blind spots, practices of design history, and alternative formats may like to read the proceedings to be published in spring 2022.

2nd General meeting, 18 June 2021

Our 2nd General meeting was hold in Bern. It was followed by a guided tour of the Bestform exhibition with the managing director of the Bernese Design Foundation Meret Mangold on the topic of collecting and promoting.

Collecting in the GTA-archive, 28 May 2021

We were allowed to visit the estate of Sigfried Giedion and Carola Giedion-Welcker in the gta archive in Zurich with the archivist und NDG-member Almut Grunewald.

NDG virtual #2 Visit to the Bally Archive and book vernissage, 21 April 2021

At this event first, the curator of the Bally archives, Rebekka Gerber, together with the two authors of the current Bally publication, Anna-Brigitte Schlittler and Katharina Tietze, gave us a virtual tour of the company's archives on film. Afterwards, the authors presented their book Bally – A History of Footwear in the Interwar Period.

NDG virtual #1: Collecting and Institutions, 27 November 2020

Curator Severin Rüegg took us virtually into the collection of the SKKG Foundation Art, Culture and History in Winterthur. We then discussed current strategies that can be used to maintain, mediate and research such a broadly based collection. 

Collect and design, 11 September 2020

We visited  the studio of the designer Alfredo Häberli in Zurich and enjoyed an aperitif in the Blauen Ente.

1st General meeting, 5 June 2020

Due to the corona crisis, our first general meeting took place digitally. We discussed current affairs, including the annual programme dedicated to the topic of collecting.

If you have any other questions or inputs: info_at_netzwerk-designgeschichte.ch

We look forward to writing a new chapter of Swiss design history together with you!

The Board Netzwerk Designgeschichte NDG

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