HfG Archiv Ulm
Tue – Sun & public holiday 11 am — 5 pm


The HfG Archive regularly initiates and supports research projects dealing with the history of the Ulm School of Design.

Designer in Residence 2023

Rationality and Revolt 2023

The Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm) published a total of 21 issues of its own magazine “ulm” between 1958 and 1968. The publication served as a chronicle as well as a presentation of the results of teaching and research at the institution, which had been in existence since 1953.

The theoretical texts by Tomás Maldonado (1922-2018) published in it are still authoritative today. Not least because of these articles, the HfG Ulm is considered one of the birthplaces of design theory in the second half of the 20th century.

2022 marked the 100th anniversary of Tomás Maldonado’s birth. To mark this occasion, the HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm is dedicating the Designer in Residence (DiR) programme to the important design theorist.

Together with the HfG Ulm School of Design Foundation, the HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm is offering a scholarship as part of its Designer in Residence programme for the third time in 2023. With this series, the HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm is pursuing the goal of combining its own dual function as a museum and archive in the rooms of the former HfG Ulm with contemporary design research and mediation.

The HfG Ulm School of Design Foundation covers the costs of the monthly stipend and provides appropriate accommodation on the HfG campus free of charge.

Tomás Maldonado

Gui Bonsiepe, former staff member at the HfG Ulm, characterises in Maldonado’s thinking a “preference for pensiero discorrente (contrary thinking), an aversion to monocausal explanations, a mistrust of dematerialisation tendencies, a critique of technological-political naivety, [… ] an insistence on verifiability, a militant rationality, a preference for lucidité (and thus an aversion to romantic fuzziness), a sense of historical context, a willingness to cross disciplinary boundaries […]”

Environment and Revolt 2023

The HfG Ulm certainly owes its success to the reconstruction after the Second World War and the associated challenge of equipping the destroyed country with everything it needed. Today we know that economic success and the accompanying expansion of consumer society, as well as the economy’s dependence on constantly increasing sales, also have their downsides.

The concept of “sustainability” has been on everyone’s lips since the beginning of the 21st century, but it was already discussed at the HfG Ulm in the 1960s (together with other terms of consumer criticism such as obsolescence etc.). Tomás Maldonado continued to explore these questions after leaving Ulm and published his reflections in “Umwelt und Revolte: Zur Dialektik des Entwerfens im Spätkapitalismus” (German, 1972).

Together with Otl Aicher, Tomás Maldonado was significantly involved in the formulation of the “ulmer modell”. The orientation of the design profession towards technical-scientific subjects and the targeted training of team players in holistic design issues can still form the basis for working on the solution of the “wicked problems”, as Horst Rittel called them at the HfG.

What is the core question?

With the announcement of the Designer in Residence Programme 2023, the HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm wants to encourage the scholarship holders to take up these thoughts and theories.

It would be desirable to conduct an investigation that, based on these proposals, shows approaches to how design and design theory can contribute to solving today’s urgent issues (to be chosen from the fields of social design, circular design, digitalisation, virtualisation, politicisation).

The rich holdings of the HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm, e.g. on the topic of mobility, should definitely be used as source material for the research, also to reflect today’s situation against the historical backdrop.

Who is the programme aimed at?

The international call for applications invites designers or design scholars to apply for a six-month Designer Residence Scholarship, which invites them to engage in an experimental, technical, artistic and/or theoretical and scientific examination of the HfG Ulm heritage from today’s perspective.

The programme is explicitly designed to promote young talent and is aimed at personalities from design practice or design theory who are active at the interface with applied design research or in the field of design science.

The programme is not intended for the completion of research work in general or on Tomás Maldonado in particular.

What does the scholarship offer?

The person selected by the jury will be offered the following benefits as a six-month scholarship by the HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm:

monthly financial stipend i. 1.350,- € per month
Budget for working materials (by arrangement)
One-time travel allowance (to and from Ulm) corresponding to a 2nd class train journey or, in the case of a journey of more than 6 hours, the flight costs in the lowest flight class (economy or comparable class).
Working space in the HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm, access to workshops, research support
free accommodation on the campus directly adjacent to the former HfG Ulm, kindly provided by the HfG Ulm Foundation
Support with public relations and, if necessary, contact with local partners as well as presentation and discussion opportunities
Integration and presentation of the residency results in the context of an event to honour Tomás Maldonado (1st quarter 2024).

What is involved in accepting the scholarship?

Self-responsible: valid existing health and liability insurance, if applicable, independent procurement of a visa for the stay in Ulm, living expenses and meals.
six-month period of residence in Ulm (by arrangement, starting in mid-September 2023 until mid-February 2024)
Procurement of working materials (with support from the HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm)
Documentation of own work processes and results with the aim of publishing them (form open)
Internal kick-off event at the beginning, getting to know the actors, contacts
Mid-term: internal workshop report, presentation of a thesis paper
Concluding public HfG lecture: presentation (in English or German)
German or English are possible as working languages. Solid reading skills in German are mandatory.
The scholarship holder is expected to work mainly in Ulm.

Procedure / How can I apply?

CV and portfolio (selection of previous projects, work samples in documented form)
Letter of motivation and description of the work project (possibly with cost estimate and/or sketches) during the residency with reference to the topic “Rationality and Revolt 2023” and the HfG- Archiv/Museum Ulm, max. 3 pages, in German or English.

What is the application and selection process?

Application documents must be sent in PDF format (max. 15 MB) by 30 May 2023 at the latest exclusively by e-mail to Dr. Martin Mäntele at m.maentele@ulm.de.
After reviewing the submitted applications, a jury will meet at the beginning of June 2023 to select one applicant.
The procedure is expected to end in mid-June 2023, with written notification of the jury’s decision without giving reasons.

The jury is composed of:

Julia Hanisch, Dipl. Des., Foundation University of Design HfG Ulm
Viktoria Heinrich M.A., University of Art Kassel
Prof. Dr. Joaquín Medina Warmburg, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Faculty of Architecture
Dr. Martin Mäntele, Head of HfG-Archive/Museum Ulm
Prof. Dr. Dagmar Rinker, University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd
Dipl. Ing. Alexander Wetzig, Foundation University of Design HfG Ulm

The application for the scholarship does not constitute an entitlement to receive the scholarship.

Only applications that are extended until 30.05.2023 and submitted by mail can be considered.

The scholarship is awarded by the jury. The decision cannot be appealed.


HfG-Archiv/Museum Ulm
Designer in Residence
Dr. Martin Mäntele
Am Hochsträß 8
89081 Ulm
Tel. +49 731 161 4372

Research project Volkswagen Foundation

Exhibit design: The Visibility of the HfG Ulm: From Ulm to Montréal

Between 1955 and 1967, the HfG Ulm designed four exhibitions that attracted a great deal of attention regionally, nationally and internationally, most recently at the World’s Fair in Montréal.

In this research project, the material available in the HfG-Archiv served as a basis for addressing questions of design in research in the humanities and social sciences. Here, the HfG can be described as a pioneer.

Two dissertations, the exhibition HfG Ulm: Exhibition Fever and a project website were produced as part of the project.

Funded research project within the “Research in Museums” initiative of the Volkswagen Foundation

Designer in Residence 2020

AI aided design: Simon Hettler

He studied product design and strategic design at the HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd. In his studies he dealt with questions of sustainability and the justifiability of design in non-scientific contexts. His work is located at the interface between design, strategy and research.

For the second time this year the HfG-Archiv had announced the scholarship “Designer in Residence”: three months of living and working on the campus of the former Hochschule für Gestaltung and in the HfG-Archiv.

With the program “Designer in Residence” the HfG-Archiv wants to bridge the gap between the historical School of Design and current viewpoints of design. Based on the HfG’s thoughts on how the design process could be systematized and scientifically accompanied, this year’s scholarship holder Simon Hettler from Munich has dealt with this topic over 50 years after the closure of the Ulm School of Design. —› more

Designer in Residence 2018

Gender Design: Olivia Daigenault Deschênes

Born in Montreal, Olivia Daigenault Deschênes graduated from the Master of Architecture at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada in 2018 and currently works as an intern architect in Montreal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Montreal (2015) and completed a semester abroad in 2017 at Lund University, Sweden.

Olivia Daigenault Deschênes is most interested in interdisciplinary practice of design, at the intersection of art, architecture and critical thinking. Passionate about gender studies and feminist theories, Olivia seeks to understand multiple ways of doing feminism in architecture and design. In her practice, she explores architectural design methods as potential tools for activism and critical feminist knowledge.

In fall 2018, Olivia Daigenault Deschênes was invited to join the first Residency by the HfG-Archiv Ulm, Stiftung Hochschule für Gestaltung HfG Ulm and Prof. Dr. em. Uta Brandes, theme specific jury member.

“Show me how you eat and I will tell you who you are”: 
What does it say about us, how we eat and with what we eat? Apart from the fact that there are various table cultures in the world, eating is an activity with which we ‘perform’ social roles, especially gender roles.

Inspired by the daily lunch in the former Ulm School of Design canteen and viewing it from a feminist-critical perspective, Olivia Daigneault Deschênes studied the photographic collections and archival material in relation to the subjects of seating and cutlery design, as well as the architecture of the Bill canteen. The results of her investigations are studies, performances, drafts and models of applied design research, and not functional design solutions – with regard to gender-specific role behaviour, they reveal, culminate in, and even caricature stereotypical expectations. The results were presented in the special exhibition “Nicht mein Ding – Gender im Design” at the HfG-Archiv.

Personal Recap
“Living and working at the HfG-Ulm complex for three months allowed me to pursuit my reflection on feminism and architecture in an inspiring environment. Interested in developing ways to use design to unfold manifestations of patriarchy in the everyday life, I decided to focus on eating and its relation to gender. I was most inspired by Max Bill’s design of la Mensa. My project ‘Show me how you eat, I tell you who you are’ explores critical thinking and performance as design methods towards a feminist critical practice.” Olivia Daigneault Deschênes


Always up to date! With our free newsletter we are happy to inform you about our current exhibitions, events and our extensive range of art education, as well as much more.

Register now