Summer Semester 2010,


„It is often said that sustainability rests on three equal pillars: environmental, economical and social. However, designers often ignore the social and cultural aspects. (...)“ Professor Matthew Simon und Andrew Dixon, Sheffield Hallam University

“Able” is a concept that was initiated in 9 workshop units at the Via Ceramics studio. Via is a conglomerate of artisan studios, which employs people with mental and intellectual disabilities, thus providing them with a workplace that caters to their special needs. The workshop is part of a continuing, participatory creative process, aiming at generating a new line of products, enabling the participants to fully use their abilities and identify themselves confidently with their work.

The workshop engages the designers and the participants in a creative process, that encourages the employee’s sensibilities for design and instructs them in distinguishing the different levels in which a product can be used, and how products themselves communicate. Using different design methods we demonstrate new perspectives on how to use every day material, which in turn shows us, where their interests and talents lie, which later will benefit the course of the project.

The Exhibition at the “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” (House of the Cultures of the World) will be the public platform for people with disabilities and their true abilities can be viewed in a different light, so that they themselves have the opportunity to see their work in a different light.

This, however is not the end of our collaboration, the next step is to create attractive and market compatible products that will later be produced in their workplace. “Able” is a long-term partnership that aims at engaging all the participants in an individual and passionate way. We aim to improve the given circumstances by introducing design techniques, to establish local, sustainable, high quality yet affordable products that incorporate good design as a tool of communication and production.





Supervision Prof. Dr. Zane Berzina, Prof. Susanne Schwarz-Raacke, Prof. Heike Selmer
Project categorySemester Project