The first edition of the year 2020 contains several articles exploring a new self-image of the applied arts that could potentially emerge from humanity’s current crisis. The editorial introduces the topic. Applied art, along with designing and manufacturing in sophisticated workshops and manufactories, necessarily involves caring for our planet’s climate because their products are high-quality cultural assets intended for long-term use. more
By contrast, industrial mass production had to rely on rapid consumption at a very early stage in order to maintain its sales opportunities: “planned obsolescence” is the key idea in this context. There is now no question that this era must quickly come to an end. But for this to succeed, alternatives must become visible, and examples and pioneers are needed. One good example is Hannah Ryggen, who protested against injustice and (political) terror in the world with her weaving art (see page 50). Another is Markus Stenger, an architect who focuses on recycling or converting buildings rather than demolishing them, as is too often the case today (see page 42). And a third pioneer is the Dutch jewelry artist Beppe Kessler, who develops concepts that emphasize the spiritual over the material (see page 22). In our current predicament, this is far more than a philosophical question – it is one that urgently deserves to be examined in depth.