The Real Value of Design - DeTao Master Professor Mathis Heller Delivers Lecture at China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing)
(May 28, Beijing) Professor Mathis Heller, Chief Designer of WeLL Design, and DeTao Master of Automotive & Industrial Design, delivered his eye-opening lecture ‘The Real Value of Design’ at China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing on the evening of May 28.
Professor Heller began his lecture with a brief self-introduction: ‘I have been working in the design industry for 25 years, and I can proudly say that I share two common traits with you. First, I was born in East Germany, a socialist country. Second, I too studied Marxism and Leninism at school.’
During the lecture, Professor Heller mentioned his dealings with China: ‘I was invited by DeTao to work in China back in 2010. DeTao has been inviting world renowned Masters to China for two reasons: to help innovate China’s education and to facilitate their cooperation with Chinese enterprises. I was among the first group of DeTao Masters to be given a studio housed by the CCIC Building. When I arrived, the DeTao CCIC Building was not yet built. Now, DeTao has accumulated over 500 Masters.’
‘Creating a strong design is by no means an easy task’, the Professor stated. ‘So, how do we design products? Better yet, how can we create outstanding products?’ According to Professor Heller, each successful product had three essential requirements: ‘Firstly, the product must satisfy users. Take the iPhone for example. This is irrefutably satisfactory, and is displayed via the users’ excessive handling of it.
‘Secondly, it must deliver a good user experience. That means that the product should be technically feasible, preferably developed with technical know-how. More importantly, however, it should be manufactured with current techniques. Finally, the product must sell well to be profitable.’
Of course, it is no easy job to meet all three requirements. Ecology, sustainability and ethics make the process more difficult.
According to Professor Heller, designers were expected to create a cyclical economy. It was complicated enough to design a successful product, not to mention an economical approach.
‘If people continue their production and consumption at this rate, five earths’ worth of resources will be necessary to sustain their current level of living in 2030. Resource consumption levels are surging with this global population explosion. Against such a backdrop, people need a strong team to find a solution.’
Professor Heller also revealed the reason why he came to China. ‘Many Chinese people are now living as if they are in the year 2050. Why not take China as a pilot case to test future scenarios? Solutions in the case of China may be solutions for humanity’s future.’
After the lecture, Professor Heller talked about traffic congestion in major cities. He said that he was shocked by Beijing’s traffic on his way to the lecture and considered sharing designers’ vision with students while held up in the traffic jam.
‘Pilotless automobiles controlled by smartphones will be a reality in the future’, the Professor began, ‘taking you wherever you want to be. If they can replace the existing cars, there will be no more congestion or pollution in the city. You don’t have to own a car yourselves because the automobile network is owned by the city and the municipal administration.’