Designer haben Macht und Verantwortung © Jonas Wölk

Sustainability - top priority for designers in Hamburg

Over 12,000 designers in Hamburg - Hamburg News talks to designxport's Babette Peters

“‘Form follows function’ is the guiding principle for many designers, but is unrealistic in an increasingly complex world,” according to Dr. Babette Peters, Managing Director of designxport in Hafencity. “Of course, the functionality of a product must stand out. Nobody needs a futuristic-looking juicer that squirts juice all the over the place, but not into the glass.”

Nowadays, more and more people value quality design and surprising, decorative traits may lead to a sale. But a growing number of consumers want ecological, sustainable, fair trade, long-life products that can be repaired and do not add astronomic amounts to rubbish heaps. “However, the product must be fun and pleasing to the eye. The product must be desirable and competitive and live up to prevailing social trends. Designs are not created in vacuums.”

Women – 60 per cent share of Hamburg’s designers

Designers are powerful and have responsibility as they are at interfaces between customers’ demands, technology, science and commerce, according to Peters. “Customers want designers to win them over with new, sustainable and creative solutions.” Over 12,000 designers in Hamburg have this potential power and responsibility. Around one-third are self-employed and women account for a 60 per cent share.

Dr. Babette Peters, Geschäftsführerin von Hamburgs Designzentrum „designxport“

Ella Deck, Iris von Arnim, Bettina Schoenbach and Uli Schneider are among Hamburg’s famous fashion designers while Ulrike Brandi designed the lighting concept for the Elbphilharmonie and also illuminated the facade of Hamburg’s Town Hall. Illustrations by Birgit Schössow have made it onto the front page of the U.S. New Yorker magazine for the third time.

Fields of design in Hamburg

All kinds of design strands can be found in Hamburg ranging from industrial and product design, graphic, corporate and brand design, packaging, interior, fashion design, jewellery, glass and textiles. Brand Union, Mutabor and Held+Team are among the well-known agencies based in the city.

Hamburg’s award-winning designers include Peter Schmidt and Peter Maly and their companies. “Corporate and packaging design are well represented in the city thanks to the publishing sector,” said Dr. Peters. Companies like Unilever and Beiersdorf value innovative product packaging.

New fields of work are emerging for designers as the digital era gains pace. The Internet of Things requires new creative approaches and Hamburg’s games sector is also becoming a magnet for creative designers.


designxport opened in HafenCity in 2014 and emerged from the “hamburgunddesign” initiative to promote Hamburg as a creative centre. designxport is the first public venue for presentations, information and networking. The centre forms an interface between society, culture, science, technology and commerce thanks mainly to efforts by Dr. Babette Peters, the former director of “hamburgunddesign”. More information can be found on:

More articles

  • There are no older articles in this category.
  • There are no newer articles in this category.