Where at the ZHdK can you be found?
The place I like best at the Toni Areal site is probably the roof terrace. You can amble and have a good conversation, while the open space offers fresh air and a welcome vista that lets you arrange your thoughts and forge new plans. Looking out beyond the borders of the Toni Areal, the building becomes a part of the city, and the small universe of the university a part of the wider biosphere. I also consistently enjoy how the roof garden evolves, despite its exposed location, and meeting the various feathered friends that visit there.
Which topics are you focussing on at the moment?
My teaching and research revolve around the interface between design and ecology – I am interested in the history, status and cultural significance of biodiversity and green spaces over time. Linked to this, I am motivated by the very practical question of how we can better support biodiversity and the different habitats on our doorstop, here in Switzerland. With my company Wild Spots I take on commissions at the interface between design, ecology and everyday culture and work together with collaborators in planning and other disciplines, depending on the project.
Who would you like to work with one day?
There are many former and current students with whom I’d very much like to work together one day, beyond the regular teaching programme, because of similar shared interests. A dialogue on an equal footing, which is possible at a university, is extremely valuable and I am always pleased when such contacts can be maintained after students complete their degrees. The students have their fingers on the pulse, and their topics and questions should be seen as important pointers for teaching and for the wider strategy of the university.
What is your personal definition of design?
Design to me is food for thought but also a kind of cultural lubricant – as such it contributes, in virtually unlimited ways, to a discourse that in turn shapes the world. In my opinion, good design quality is achieved by transdisciplinary openness and a questioning, critical mindset. My main impulse is a curiosity to get to the bottom of urgent questions and make them comprehensible, tangible and negotiable through aesthetic manifestations and curated or edited formats. That doesn’t mean that I have to be in the foreground as the author. A future-orientated design to me requires that it specifically addresses a goal and combines knowledge, activism and appreciation.