High-brow or low-brow, high tech or simplicity, tradition or experiment – what are the determining forces in product design for 2010? This is the question that Hansjerg Maier-Aichen will address within the context of the Ambiente trade fair, taking place February 12 to 16, 2010. Maier-Aichen is Professor of Product Design at the Technical University of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung) in Karlsruhe and on the Saturday and Sunday of the Ambiente trade fair in Frankfurt, he will be inviting representatives of the media to accompany him on an exclusive design-based tour around Ambiente. Polarizing tendencies of the market are presenting designers with new challenges in 2010 and leave a good deal of room for new interpretations. On the one hand, it is going to be a matter of creating authentic products based on a sensible view of things: usefulness, function, durability, reduction to the essentials and minimalism are the features that are clearly in the forefront of concerns. On the other hand, the borderline between design and art, technology and simplicity will become increasingly blurred - with unorthodox, effective products which are brightly colored, tasteful and sometimes kitschy. In economically straitened times, people's own homes become a social center for meeting friends and family - there is a growing need for privacy and "coziness," and with that comes the growing significance of the whole thematic area of table and kitchen. On his tour, Hansjerg Maier-Aichen will be looking out for one thing above all else: "In the midst of a flood of trend predictions and speculation about a new and largely short-lived 'spirit of the age', it is high-quality materials and traditional craft skills that are becoming more important. Instead of large-scale industrial production, it is the smaller workshops and factories that are gaining ground, in Germany, in Europe and in Asia alike. With young up-and-coming designers too and in the universities, we see an increasing desire to take a fresh approach to craft skills and materials," stresses Maier-Aichen. "The current economic situation has not only brought about a return to conviviality and hospitality – it also provides a breeding ground for new creative opportunities. In the light of the deep economic upheavals, new ways of thinking about things in product innovation are indispensable. 'Making the everyday special' and high levels of brand recognition for the product range should be the goal of a sustainable company culture – producers have a certain responsibility to the consumers here," explains Maier-Aichen. Ambiente international trade fair presents products for the table, kitchen, household, for giving and decorating, as well as for home and furnishing accessories. For five days each year, 4,300 exhibitors show what consumers will find in shops around the world in 2010.
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