“How will we live together?” – The question posed by Lebanese architect and curator Hashim Sarkis headlining this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale is provocative in its simplicity. As a designer, one is immediately tempted to imagine answers, to think up new spaces and visualisations, to think in terms of new “user experiences” of living together. But the question goes deeper. It does not only require the temporal projection of design options into a possible future scenario. Rather, every answer to the question also requires a positioning of who is actually meant by “we” and what is meant by »together«. What role does society – i.e. the communal and thus political structures – play in this answer. Against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic that has just shown us the ecological, economic and social limits of global dependencies, as well as current debates about gender justice and decolonisation, this seems a more than timely perspective.

The guests of our upcoming Dinnertime Talk, both are active in precisely this particular dimension of design: the political. The term »dimension« seems quite appropriate here. while coming from different academic and professional backgrounds, both guests are experts in design and space making, especially in an urban context. Mara Recklies (B), design philosopher at the HfK Bremen/HTW Berlin, and Hanna Noller (H), architect and founder of Stadtlücken e.V., will each tell us how design has a concrete political effect for them. The focus will be on conceptual-philosophical perspectives, but also on very practical forms of realisation. Together with Holger Lund and Klaus Birk, we will discuss how the public sphere and the opening up of design domains are connected and what role is assigned to design as a form of critique.

Mara Recklies is a philosopher looking at design as a discipline. She is particularly interested in the political dimensions of design: for example, intersectional-feminist perspectives on design, the problems of capitalist forms of life and what can be learned from decolonial thinkers. She is working on a dissertation on philosophical design criticism and is a lecturer at the HfK Bremen and the HTW in Berlin. Previously, she was part of a cooperative research network between the University of Hamburg and the HFBK Hamburg, where she used experimental methods to research urban and artistic interventions. She has also taught at the Köln International School of Design (KISD) at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg and was a visiting researcher at the Flusser Archive at the UdK Berlin.

Hanna Noller studied architecture and business administration and is a trained carpenter. She researches and teaches at the Institute for Design and Urban Planning at the University of Hanover and works as an “urban maker” in Stuttgart and Hanover. She is a member and co-founder of the non-profit association STADTLÜCKEN e.V.. From 2018-2020, she acts as coordinator of the research project Future City Lab – Reallabor für nachhaltige Mobilitätskultur at the University of Stuttgart. During Winter semester 19/20 she held the interim professorship of the class for design, architecture and design at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart.