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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?”