The Kramer Principle Design for Variable Use

6 February - 7 September 2014

Ferdinand Kramer (1898–1985) is considered one of the most important architects and designers of the modern age in Germany. With new conceptions about the use of objects – he took the term “Mobil-iar” (German for furniture) literally – Kramer gave expression and form to the changing conditions of life in the twentieth century.

Reflecting societal developments and taking the surroundings – social as well as spatial – into account within the design process, his work is informed by a changing perspective on the world. This and such attributes as simplicity, clarity and utility are what make Kramer’s works unique. In department-store manner, and long before companies like IKEA adopted this approach, Kramer was already creating flexible build-it-yourself furniture, modular furniture systems, and tables and chairs that could be easily assembled and disassembled.

Encompassing more than a hundred displays – lamps, stoves and pitchers of the early 1920s, standardized window and door fittings as well as small and standardized furniture from the “Neues Frankfurt” period, drawings and works dating from the years of Kramer’s emigration to the U.S., numerous examples from the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt inventory, and rare items from the holdings of the family – this show will present above all the collection of Ferdinand Kramer design objects amassed by Gerda Breuer during her time on the staff of the Bergische Universtität Wuppertal.
The historical objects are enhanced by a selection of original Kramer designs produced as re-editions by e15 – testimonies to the fact that Kramer’s works are still up to date and of relevance for the present-day design industry.

From the door handle to the coffee table, Kramer’s designs are presently undergoing a revival. As aesthetic solutions that stand for such values as longevity, timelessness and sustainability, they are highly relevant in times of diminishing resources.

Guest curators
Prof. Dr. Gerda Breuer und Dipl. Designerin Julia Meer, Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp

Exhibition director
Matthias Wagner K

Cooperation partners and lenders
Bergische Universität Wuppertal Leihgeber Kramer Archiv, Universitätsarchiv Frankfurt, e15, Galerie Ulrich Fiedler, Frank Landau