Dornbracht Conversations 3: panel 1 - design history

Dezeen movies: earlier this year Dezeen took part in Dornbracht Conversations 3 - a platform for design discussion hosted by Dornbracht and instigated by creative director Mike Meiré. Here are three short movies made by Dezeen showing highlights of the first panel, which discussed design history.

The theme of this year's Dornbracht Conversations was Extra/Ordinary: A Further Dimension on the rise of New Normal. The first panel - consisting of (from left to right) Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs (moderator), manufacturer Andreas Dornbracht, designer Michael Sieger and critic and curator Mateo Kries - discussed design history, looking at the key movements of the past and asking how contemporary design shapes up in comparison.

Can't see the movie? Click here

In the first movie from the first panel (above), the panelists identify what they feel were the most important design movements from the last century.

Can't see the movie? Click here

In the second movie (above), the panel discusses the economic, social, technological and other forces that are shaping contemporary design.

Can't see the movie? Click here

The third movie (above) includes a conversation about whether design might be coming to an end as a historic force.

Watch all our movies »

Here's some info about Dornbracht Conversations 3, including biographies of the panelists and an introductory text by Marcus Fairs:

Extra/Ordinary A further dimension on the rise of New Normal

Iserlohn, Germany, 17/02/2011

“What comes after the age of the design icon and the designer ego?”

Dornbracht Conversations 3 will attempt to divine where design goes next. The starting point is the observation that the evolution of design “styles” that dominated the last century – the steady progression from Art Nouveau to Art Deco, from Modernism to Post-Modernism – seems to have been replaced by a free-for-all in which no one design language dominates.

Overwhelmed by this visual confusion, many people feel the way forward is to put excess to one side and start again with a clean slate. This is expressed by Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa‘s Super Normal movement, which celebrates unglamorous, every- day functional objects; by the rise of modesty, austerity and dis- cretion as style buzzwords; by the sleek visual simplicity of Apple products that belies the complexity of their inner workings; by the emergence of minimalism as the epitome of luxury both in architec- ture and design.

Dornbracht has coined the term Extra/Ordinary to describe this new spirit in design and Creative Director Mike Meiré will set out his thoughts at Dornbracht Conversations 3. Other panellists at the afternoon sessions will share their own thoughts on the contempo- rary design scene while the morning session will set the scene by reviewing some of the key design movements of the last century.

-       Marcus Fairs


With Dornbracht Conversations, a series of discussions was launched in 2008, which serves as a discourse platform exploring current schools of thought in design, architecture and art. For each of the Dornbracht Conversations (DC), three or four experts from different industries, including design, art, architecture, science and the media, were invited to address key issues on a trendsetting topic, present their own experiences and views and involve the public in the discussion. Dornbract Conversations 1 (DC 1) took place in Iserlohn at the end of May, addressing the question “What is a modern classic and what significance does a classic have in a transversal culture?”

Dornbracht used the presentation of the improved TARA series as an opportunity to highlight the current almost inflationary concept of the classic at DC 1 in two separate podium discussions. Dornbracht Conversations 2 (DC 2) followed in mid-September in Museum Ludwig Cologne, the topic this time being “Is design art, is art design?”. The artist Tobias Rehberger, Konstantin Grcic, Mike Meiré and Collector Harald Falckenberg held a captivating discussion on the aspects which unite or divide the disciplines of art and design.

PANEL 1 – Design history

Marcus Fairs (Presenter), Andreas Dornbracht, Michael Sieger, Mateo Kries

Introduction by Mike Meiré

Panel 2 – Extra/Ordinary

Marcus Fairs (Presenter), Mike Meiré, Thomas Wagner, Matteo Thun

Panel biographies


Mateo Kries, born in 1974, Program Director of the Vitra Design Museum and author of the book “Total Design – Die Inflation mod- erner Gestaltung” (“Total Design – the Inflation of Modern Design”). Following his traineeship as assistant curator at the Museum for Moroccan Arts and Culture in Marrakesh, Morocco, he was curator of the Vitra Design Museum in Weil/Rhein from 1995 until 2000, with exhibitions such as “Automobility – Was uns bewegt” (Auto- mobility – What drives us) (1999) or “Mies van der Rohe” (2004). From 2000 until 2006 he was responsible for the construction and management of the Vitra Design Museum Berlin. Beginning in January 2007, he was responsible for the program and contents at the Vitra Design Museum Weil, and since 2011 he has been one of the two new directors of the museum. He is also co-founder of DESIGNMAI in Berlin, has taught the history and theory of design in Hamburg and Berlin and is the editor of numerous publications on design subjects such as Mies van der Rohe, Issey Miyake and Le Corbusier.


After finishing his secondary education and completing his National Service, Andreas Dornbracht, born in 1959, joined a degree course in Business Studies at the university of Dortmund and graduated in 1983. Following a year abroad as Vice-President Marketing with a sanitaryware importer in the uSA, in 1985 he joined Aloys F. Dornbracht GmbH & Co. KG as assistant to the management. Since 1991 he has been the Director of Marketing and Sales. He shares the management of the company with his brother Matthias as well as with Ralph Dihlmann. Aloys F. Dornbracht GmbH & Co. KG, which has its head office in Iserlohn, is an international producer of high-quality designer fittings and accessories for the bathroom and kitchen. The company regularly wins international design awards for its product designs and, since 1996, has also been acclaimed for its sustained com- mitment to culture. Through this long-term commitment to culture, Dornbracht is pursuing its intention to develop its own cultural identity and relevance.


Michael Sieger, born in 1968, Managing Director of sieger de- sign, studied industrial and product design in Essen and Münster. He took over responsibility of the family company at a young age. Michael Sieger has received numerous international design awards and has participated in many important design exhibitions. sieger design and Dornbracht have been working together since 1985. The first jointly produced fixture “DOMANI” was followed by many successful fixture series, for example “TARA”, which is still sold today in over 60 countries all over the world. The sieger design agency, now in its second generation under the leadership of the two brothers Christian and Michael Sieger, is amongst the most renowned design agencies in Europe.

MARCUS FAIRS (Presenter)

Marcus Fairs is a journalist, entrepreneur, curator, founder of the Icon magazine, and editor of the Dezeen web magazine. He also works in radio and television. A furniture design graduate, Marcus began his journalism career writing for publications including Blueprint, The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday and Conde Nast Traveller. He launched icon, the international architecture and design magazine, in 2003, and edited the publication until November 2006. under Marcus, the magazine rapidly established itself as one of the world’s most influential and respected design journals, winning a string of awards including Launch of the Year and Designer of the Year in 2003 and Monthly Magazine of the Year in 2005 and 2006. Marcus Fairs himself has won numerous awards, including Journalist of the Year (2002) and Architectural Journalist of the Year (2004). He won a BSME award for Best Brand-Building Initiative in 2005. Marcus Fairs lives and works in London.

See also:


Dezeen movie:
Wim Crouwel
Dezeen movie:
Shay Alkalay
Dezeen movie:
Winy Maas