Open for designers
von Nancy Jehmlich | Nov 5, 2008

Right at the entrance the first people crowd around the stand of Thanh Thuy. The fashion designer creates favorite items you can't help but notice: the casual, slim-fit hooded pullover is greeted with great approval. The fine pleats add a touch of refinement to her urban streetwear look and the unusual collars promise a new trend. A little further on "Lydia in St.Petersburg" (or rather Susan Krieger from Halle an der Saale) presented her first handbag, briefcase and traveling bag collection. All the bags are inspired by the good old midwife's bag and just looking at them conveys the impression of the country physician rushing to the rescue. The jury at Designers' Open promptly decided the combination of hand-made patterned wallpaper and roomy work bag was worthy of a prize.

The last weekend in October saw a small but exclusive event in Leipzig revolving around the topic of design. The festival Designers' Open came close to meeting the ideal concept of a fair, in other words, a lively venue where people came together and were inspired. The event was located in the vacant Streifenhäuser (Strip Houses), two flat, long, narrow buildings between the trade fair high-rise at the railway station and the main post office on Augustusplatz. The cultural setting or rather ground went well with the concept because in a highly trendy manner there is a retro breath from Socialist times proving once again how vacant spaces in the city can be put to good use.

Some 140 exhibitors found space to present their products in relatively cramped quarters - free of platforms, partitions or divisions. Everyone moved on one level and the cramped conditions largely occasioned by the many visitors encouraged direct contact. In the milling masses people of highly diverse colors came together: the sprightly granny, the average married couple in their forties, many young, hip design enthusiasts, friends and relations of the exhibitors, the designers and many others besides. The design event presenting art and creative items resembled a mass exodus. The wealth of graphic design elements completed the picture: posters everywhere, balloons, flyers, postcards, signs. Experts or not visitors could not fail to see that something is happening here they simply should not miss.

Far away from the trials and tribulations of big business, Designers' Open creates a platform for independent, young designers. Visitors can discover many generally small products in a relaxed atmosphere. Moreover, unusual but highly wearable fashion was tried and above all, where it pleased - bought. After all, Designers' Open not only offered an opportunity to get to know creative people, you could also buy the products that made hearts beat faster. For example, foldable lampshades of felt and paper, furniture for those unused corners, containers of concrete with stoppers as lids. Halle's own Burg Giebichenstein college presented student projects in a dedicated store: "10 Liter Design" markets selected products crafted by students and specially manufactured in small series. Likewise from Halle is the project Fat Flat where a laser cutter was experimented with and visitors could fold three-dimensional objects using flat materials.

The next project will be presented shortly. The DO/Shop, a store set up temporarily that from November 15 through to December 31, 2008 will sell select, unique, limited and international products. Tenders are already being received to participate in the store.

Jury: Lars Quadejakob, Nora Kühner, Nils Holger Moormann, Ulrike Möslinger
Walk on Air
Collection 7 for the edge
Collection 7 for the edge