Module 6: Shaping the Future – Ceramic development and tomorrow’s design


Modern ceramics have to meet a variety of requirements (energy saving, sustainable, certain demands on design, and handling). Simultaneously, technologies change rapidly. Therefore, modern designers have to pursue new ways to adapt to new production methods and scopes in order to develop new products. This module will explore various new ways. The resulting objects are presented in a touring exhibition.


Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture, Department of Design

weißensee kunsthochschule berlin

Ulster University, Belfast campus

Associated partner The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, Copenhagen, Denmark

KAHLA/Thüringen Porzellan GmbH


1st June 2016 – 30th November 2018

Exhibition venues:

Copper Smithy, Fiskars, Finland, 10 November – 7 December 2016

Porzellanikon – Staatliches Museum für Porzellan, Selb, Germany, 21 January – 1 May 2017

Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, Northern Ireland 24 June – 22 July 2017

British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom 23 September – 5 November 2017

Bröhan-Museum, Berlin, Germany 20 January – 18 April 2018

National Museum of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia 15 May – 31 July 2018

Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague, Czech Republic 4 September – 11 November 2018

Workshop, Touring exhibition & Publication

In the field of contemporary design, innovation and creativity are elemental features to compete against the low-cost international suppliers. Designers are needed and their tasks are becoming more complex.

To achieve leadership in this competitive industry, Europe has to look for ways to develop sustainability in production and delivery for global free markets. In this situation, it is time to challenge the education and profession of future ceramic artists and designers with new and brave spirit. The Shaping the Future module explored the future of ceramics with different student workshops, a touring exhibition and a publication.

Shaping the Future started 2016 exploring the possibilities of future ceramics with a workshop in the KAHLA porcelain factory, Kahla, Germany. 20 students from four different Universities were invited to work together in a real living factory environment. The workshop which was led by professors from Helsinki, Berlin and Copenhagen offered novel technologies, like 3D printing, aligned with traditional techniques.

Along with developing new goods and realizing their own shapes, lectures were held and demonstrations that introduced various themes to the students and inspired their creative minds. Some of the experiments produced in this workshop have been included in the touring exhibition along with 30 other curated works from students and professionals. During the traveling time of the exhibition from one destination to the other each time new ceramic items from the local area of that venue were added as well as objects recently realized by the Future Lights in Ceramics competition. As intended, the touring exhibition and the publication challenged us to reflect upon our future lifestyles and the different directions that it might take.

Museums and other institutions, where the exhibition was hosted, also held a round table discussion, a public talk or even a symposium regarding the Future of Ceramics. Two of them are shown by example: One was organized by the Porzellanikon – Staatliches Museum für Porzellan, Hohenberg a.d. Eger /Selb, in cooperation with “bayerndesign”, Nuremberg/Munich, a Bavarian state owned design supporting institution. It was titled „Shaping the Future – New ways and areas for the experimental handling of porcelain”and was very well visited by students and experts as well as industry representatives. Following this talk from January 19th 2017, some months later, on the 30th of June 2017, people from Portadown, where the exhibition was on display that time, were invited to a symposium.

Ceramics and its Dimensions - Shaping the FutureDownload PDF