Design and Improvisation. Monograph, transcript 2017 – Introduction

This is my dissertation (in german). During the process of design, designers need to improvise. The development of the braun electronic shaver as well as Sebastian Herkners furniture designs show how improvisation is involved in the making of models and prototypes. It can also be a way to develop the process of production. But improvisation is not only a necessity – it is also a method to create concepts of design.

»Annika Frye has given us an impressive study of the role of improvisation in product design. Some of her findings could inspire other researchers to transfer her questions to other fields of research.«
Hans-Joachim Braun, ICON, 23 (2017)

Besprochen in:
designreport, 4 (2017)

Hybridity is the Paradigm of Contemporary Design, Introduction for the SIDER conference Papers, 2019

The Non-School: a Conversation with Dr. Annika Frye, Interview by Jeanette Petrik at Design Academy Eindhoven, 2021

As part of my Professorship at DAE I was interviewed by Jeanette Petrik about my project ‘The Non-School’ which I transferred into the Digital Learning Cultures Art Lab at Muthesius in 2022.

Hybrid Material Cultures. New Plastics in Design, 2022, published both as website and as printed qr code in: Let’s Get Sustainable. Eds.: Annika Frye, Christiane Kruse, Antje Majewski, Sandra Schramke, Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2023

Instead of printing my article, I chose to create a webpage. The webpage was designed by Joscha Brüning. The translation was made by Andrea Lerner. Elisa Porsche helped publishing digitally, Maike Schulken supported the making of the book. The background collage was made by me.

Let’s get Sustainable. Art, Design and Architecture. Eds.: Annika Frye, Christiane Kruse, Antje Majewski, Sandra Schramke, printed book, VFMK 2023

I What Is at Stake
II The Power of Art
III Need for Transformation
IV Material Agency 

In its four parts, this volume brings together positions in art, design and architecture that look at how nature and human beings can achieve an ecological balance in their mutual environment and how people can live, work and operate sustainably within a global ecology. Each of the 25 contributions examines current scenarios and possible solutions, seeking perspectives on an ecology that is meant to empower actors in the fields of art, architecture and design to assume responsibility now.

Improvisation in Design Processes. In: Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Improvisation in the Arts, Marcello Ruta, Alessandro Giovanni Bertinetto (Eds.) 07/21.

New ideas in design do not only emerge from careful planning and thinking. They also arise when improvisation occurs: In the workshop, in the design studio, in the network-like processes of open design, but also in the enclosed laboratories of industrial design companies such as German elec-tronics manufacturer Braun. Improvisation is part of the design process, but it is not necessarily visible in its outcomes, the products of design. When looking at moments of improvisation we can find new structures of design. Apart from fostering innovation, improvisation also functions as a participatory, democratic strategy that flattens existing hierarchies. Design processes become open, network-like structures rather than planning processes of a few genius expert designers. Following this observation, an understanding of the design process conducted in situ is important for a concept of design and an understanding of design as a practice.

List of Publications

Kunst an den Rändern. Konferenzband Hg. gemeinsam mit Christiane Kruse, de Gruyter 08/21.

– Improvisation in Design Processes. In: Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Improvisation in the Arts, Marcello Ruta, Alessandro Giovanni Bertinetto (Eds.) 07/21.

Interaktives Skizzieren, Prototyping und Interaktion im Entwurfsprozess. In: Methoden der Produktgestaltung. Entwicklung, Anwendungen und Perspektiven. Herausgegeben von Bernhard E. Bürdek und Jochen Denzinger,  Birkhäuser 2018.

Printed Interface. Catalogue on the exhibition Muthesius Parallax, with Matylda Krzykowski, July 2018.

Designart. Paper at the X. congress of the German society of aesthetics, Feb. 2018.

Interferences of industrial design and engineering in future design education. Conference paper at Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, at International conference on engineering and product design education, with Frank Gärtner and Martin Pietzsch, Oslo 7–8 Sept. 2017.

Learning from Dilettantism, form No. 266, july 2016.

Tagungsbericht Re/Set Designkonferenz. Annual report HfG Offenbach July 2015.

Improvisation in Design. form No. 253, June 2014.

Design and strict science. Or: how to learn from experiments. Text with Prof. Dr. Martin Gessmann, HfG Offenbach annual report 2013.

Makerkulturen. In: Handbuch Designwissenschaft, Herausgegeben von Thomas Hensel und Oliver Ruf (being published apprx. 2022).

Maker zwischen Konsumkritik und Affirmation. In: Ästhetik des Konsums, Hg. Norbert M. Schmitz, Fink (being published apprx. 2022). 

Hybrid Interfaces. Monograph on  the dissolvement of the distinction between analogue and digital in interface design (in preparation).

– Ecology and Sustainabilty. With Christiane Kruse, Sandra Schramke and Antje Majewski (in preparation).