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Dr. Friedrich von Borries

Dr. Friedrich von Borries, Professor of Design Theory

Friedrich von Borries was born in 1974. He is an architect, and has been a professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg since 2009. He has conducted research in connection with the Aesthetics of the Virtual postgraduate program, and the research group Übersetzen und Rahmen (Translating and Framing). He operates a Berlin-based firm named Projektbüro Friedrich von Borries, whose activities combine architecture, design, art and urban planning.

Definition of “design”

For both theoretical and practical purposes, the HFBK understands the concept of “design” in its wider, expanded sense. “Design” therefore includes product design and graphic design, but also architecture, the shaping of urban spaces, and also art praxis. What is essential is the attitude, and not the materials used or the scale on which the designing process takes place. Entwerfen, which translates as projection – the activity that is at the heart of all design processes – is understood as a means of countering the state of Unterworfen-Sein, or subjection. Thought on design theory as fostered at the HFBK therefore centers around a simple yet fundamental question: “In what kind of a world do we wish to live?”

Research ethos

Research into design theory at the HFBK takes a strong interest in the political, economic, ecological and cultural framework conditions that impact on design. These conditions are investigated with reference to concrete phenomena and praxis, primarily using the following three methodical approaches.

Empirical studies and investigative observation, the describing of voids, paradoxes and power relationships.
Key question: “What is the nature of the world within which – and for which – we design?”

Comparative study
Analysis and contextualizing of the contemporary and historical praxis of designers, architects and artists, and of the associated normative goals.
Key question: “What are the models of action, and what are the world-concepts and lifestyles, that have been explored in the past / are being explored now?”

Interventions in existing systems and experimental exploration of models of action.
Key question: “How can we change the world in which we live through design?”

Public Information Day 2021

How do I become an art student? How does the application process work? Can I also study to become a teacher at the HFBK? These and other questions about studying art will be answered by professors, students and staff at the HFBK during the Public Information Day on February 13, 2021. Due to Corona, only online!

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

On the evening of November 4, the HFBK celebrated the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as the awarding of the Hiscox Art Prize in a livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

Art defies Corona: Graduate Show 2020

With a two-month delay, the Graduate Show took place this year on the 19 and 20 September. More than 140 students showed their artistic graduation projects, from painting to sound installation.

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?

Annual Exhibition 2020 at the HFBK

The HFBK’s traditional annual exhibition („Jahresausstellung“) opens in February every year. For three days the students – from first-years to post-graduates – present a broad spectrum of their current work and projects from all the different departments. All classrooms, studios and halls in the building are used. Interested visitors are cordially invited to gain an impression of the art currently being created at the HFBK.