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© Charlett Wenig, Johanna Hehemeyer Cürten, Lee Zihern, Bark jacket woven, MPIKG, 2020. Image credits: Studio Patrick Walter

Opening of the Exhibition “Design Lab #13: Material Legacies”

Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« | Claudia Banz, Michaela Büsse, Emile De Visscher, Claudia Mareis

What do materials teach us about our changing relationship to the environment?

Opening on November 3rd, 2022, at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin, Design Lab #13: Material Legacies features the work of designers and researchers who look for innovative yet sustainable methods for working with materials. What happens when we look into the past to explore the future? This exhibition situates contemporary works inspired by museum artifacts to facilitate reflection on how interdisciplinary practices can draw inspiration from the natural world, how we can build on historical practices, and how these inquiries help us situate our ever-changing relationship with the environment.

The opening event will include an introduction to the exhibition by Dr. Claudia Banz, Curator of Design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin, and Prof. Dr. Claudia Mareis, Co-Director of the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity. Image Space Material«. Moreover, exhibition curators Michaela Büsse and Emile De Visscher will provide background on the exhibition, its goals, and how the curatorial process was undertaken.

The exhibition will be running from 4 November 2022 to 26 February 2023.

Design Lab #13: Material Legacies is part of the Design Lab exhibition series at Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin, that since 2019, 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. More information about the exhibition can be found here.

Cooperation Partners: Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity. Image Space Material, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz; Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin; Freie Universität Berlin; HTW University of Applied Sciences Berlin; Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam; Technische Universität Berlin; weißensee school of art and design berlin.


This is an in-person event. No pre-registration is required. The location is wheelchair accessible.

About the Venue
Berlin, 10785 Germany

Dr. Claudia Banz is an art and design historian, exhibition curator, and author, and currently curator for design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. She has realized numerous exhibitions, outreach formats, and fairs at the intersection of design, fashion, craft, and art, including Unresolved Matters. Social Utopias revisited, Fast Fashion. The Dark Side of Fashion, Food Revolution 5.0. or Retrotopia. Design for Socialist Spaces. For the Kunstgewerbemuseum, she established the Design Lab series to open the house as a platform and experimental space for multidisciplinary design approaches and a critical discourse on socially relevant design issues.

Michaela Büsse


Michaela Büsse is one of the curators of the Design Lab #13: Material Legacies exhibition and an Associated Member of the Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity. She is interested in the interplay of material practices, technologies, and geological processes. Her dissertation project analyses land reclamation projects in Southeast Asia and the Netherlands and based on sand’s granular physics develops a performative reading of design. Michaela currently works as a Research Associate at the Institute of Cultural History and Theory, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and has held positions at the Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures, FHNW, and the Institute for Design Research, ZHdK. Furthermore, she has held fellowships with TU Delft, NTU/Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design Manila, and Strelka Institute for Media, Design and Architecture in Moscow.


Emile De Visscher


Claudia Mareis


Prof. Dr. Claudia Mareis is Co-Director of the Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and an expert for Design as well as Cultural History and Theory. Since 2021, she has been Professor of Design and History of Knowledge at the Department of Cultural History and Theory at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her research interests include history, theory, and methodology of design in the 20th century, knowledge cultures in design, experimental design and media practices, cultural history of creativity, design, and material politics. After initial training in Graphic Design, she studied Design, Art, and Cultural Studies in Zurich, Berlin, and Linz. Research and teaching positions subsequently took her to the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the University of the Arts Berne, the University of Basel, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge/MA, and the Vilnius Academy of Art, among others. From 2013 to 2021, she directed the Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures (IXDM) as well as the Critical Media Lab at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel.

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