Hybrid Design @ IFA Summit

Hybrid Space Lab’s Prof. Frans Vogelaar delivers the Keynote “Hybrid Design” at the IFA in Berlin, the global trade show for consumer electronics.

The keynote is at the IFA+ Summit on Design (Tendencies, Brands, High-Tech) on 8 September 2015.

Keynote Hybrid Design & Discussion @ IFA+ Summit, CityCube, Berlin, 8 September 2015


While industrial design concentrated on industrially produced objects following the logics of industrial age, “Hybrid Design” tackles today’s technological and cultural paradigms. “Hybrid Design” addresses the hybrid design fields that are emerging through the fusion of environments, objects, and services in the digital age. Digitization is enhancing the significance of the design factor as products, processes, communication, interaction, and service, all benefit from good design and structuring. The development of a strong design culture counts therefore among the key tasks of any company.

The “IFA + Summit on Design” emphasizes the increasing importance of design at the intersection of the cutting-edge technology and highlights the deep link between successful business models and innovative design.



11:00 – 11:20
Prof. Frans Vogelaar
Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Professor for Hybrid Space at the Academy for Media Arts in Cologne, Germany Frans Vogelaar is founder of Hybrid Space Lab, a R&D and design practice focusing on the hybrid fields that are emerging through the combination and fusion of environments, objects and services in the information-communication age.

Hybrid Design stands for the hybrid design fields that are emerging through the combination and fusion of environments, objects and services in the information-communication age. While industrial design concentrated on industrially produced objects and followed the logics of industrial age, Hybrid Design addresses the technological and cultural paradigms of today.

Hybrid Design considers objects, services and environments within their networked systems of production, distribution, use and recycling. It thus incorporates issues such as circuitry and networked (prosumer) participation and addresses Smart City, from Smart Health to Smart Retail to NatureTecture (Smart Nature) and New Civic. With its integrated approach, Hybrid Design, allows us to address today’s complex challenges of ecological and social sustainability in a comprehensive way.

Short talk

11:30 – 11:40
Dr. Natasha Vita-More
University of Advancing Technology, Designer, Author, Innovator
Natasha Vita-More is a mastermind of transhumanism. Her research focuses on emerging technologies. What will the future of design look like in the field of prosthetics and body enhancement?

Short talk

11:40 – 11:50
David Yen
Socratic, Product Designer
Yen is product designer at Lore and collaborated with Google before. He’s one of the most interesting young designers in tech design.

Short talk

11:50 – 12:00
Prof. Kalevi Ekman
Aalto Design Factory, Founder
As Director of the Design Factory at Aalto University Kalevi Ekman works at the sharp end of innovative product development and design.


12:00 – 12:25
Dr. Natasha Vita-Moore
Prof. Frans Vogelaar
David Yen


Please tell us about your organization and your own role on a daily basis.

I am head of the Department of Hybrid Space at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany that I founded in 1998 as the first institute worldwide working on hybrid space, on combined analog and digital space.

I am also principal of Hybrid Space Lab in Berlin, an urban-architectural and design office consisting of a Think Tank and a Design Lab. We focus on forecasting and prototyping. Together with my partner, Prof. Elizabeth Sikiaridi, and our team I commit a big part of my daily program to research and creative thinking.

What do you see as being the biggest challenges in your industry today?

Designing our hybrid world is THE challenge. Hybrid Design addresses among others the Smart City, the coming together of the Information-Communication Age and the Urban Age.

Hybrid Design is an innovation method for dealing with our increasingly complex future, known by the acronym BANG: the fusion of Binary, Atoms, Neurons, and Genes. Hybrid Design addresses complexity and diversity of our globalized – and ‘glocalized’ – world.

Hybrid Design is a strategy that incorporates elements and processes from diverse fields that are in todays design practice not always perceived as compatible. This is a method to generate new design visions.

Please outline your presentation at the IFA+ Summit.

Hybrid Design is an interface to the future as it provides creative instruments for developing future visions.

The increasingly complex challenges require a collaborative interdisciplinary approach, a hybrid approach. Hybrid Design develops also methods for dealing with the geometrically accelerating pace of developments and with disruptive change.

In my IFA+ Summit presentation I will address following questions:

* How to develop precise visions within open, participatory, and interdisciplinary innovation environments?
* How can speculative design research foster relevant ‘moonshots’?
* How can ‘What If’ scenarios nurture pools of valuable ideas that can be adapted and implemented in different future environments?

How important is it for people to project onto a different plane in this respect and look at things in a different way?

The ‘catch phrase” of the summit is “next level thinking”.
Geometrical growth of complexity and acceleration make a “next level thinking” indispensable. Using ideas and concepts from one field and trying them out in another, is one of the Hybrid Design methods to approach the issues we deal with from new perspectives, in order to reframe future challenges.


IFA presents the latest products and innovations from around the world. Only IFA offers such a comprehensive overview of the international market and attracts the attention of over 150,000 trade visitors each year from more than 130 countries. IFA is the main meeting place for key retailers, buyers, and experts from the industry and the media.


Next Level in Design

What will life be like in 20 years time? What technologies will we be using? How can we make the most strategic use of value chains? The IFA+ Summit features six sessions with the top-level decision makers shaping our future: Experts meet visionaries – and opportunities meet implementation possibilities.

Why does Design Matter more than ever?

The Design session wants to highlight the latest tendencies of product and industrial design, graphic and communication design, interaction and service design for today and tomorrow. The session will point out the increasing importance of design for established brands and at the intersection with high-tech. Successful business models are to deeply related to modern and innovative design and the connection between art, design and technology is more and more central if it comes to creative leadership.

The Product is in the Design

Today’s innovations will carry the day if not only the product but the entire process of its creation is succinctly structured. Digitisation has hugely boosted the significance of the design factor: Products, processes, communication, interaction and service – all of if benefits from sound structuring. Accordingly, the development of a design culture counts among the key tasks of any company.
The “Design” session will look into the ways in which successful value chains in business and society are structured.

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