Congratulations to KISD graduate Jakob Plöns. His BA thesis “VOCUS“ has been ranked “First Place“ on the occasion of Kölner Design Preis 2019 award ceremony. A total of 28 graduate works of four Cologne-based design and art schools had been nominated for final selection. At the award ceremony on October 24 at MAKK, Museum of Applied Arts Cologne, KISD – Köln International School of Design was represented by 17 graduates’ project works and could also succeed in being twice in the Top Two. KISD graduate Charlotte Werth’s thesis “Schutzkollektion“ was ranked second place.

VOCUS, the thesis of KISD graduate Jakob Plöns, is a virtual reality (VR) system to be utilized in neurological physiotherapy in order to create barrier-free environments for physically handicapped people through using a virtual space. The latter is, in contrast to everyday spaces for handicapped people, easily accessible and applies specific objects and physical-digital interactions which, as a result, modify users‘ behavior and perception: away from physical restraints to more autonomous movement patterns. For example, as the research done by VOCUS shows, patients suffering from tremor caused by Parkinson’s disease or patients affected by paraplegia, could demonstrably improve their motoric skills through using VOCUS, which can, as another asset, be adjusted according to patients‘ individual needs.

In her Bachelor thesis “Schutzkollektion“, ranked second place, KISD graduate Charlotte Werth applies a specific procedure for dyeing textiles through bacteria – a particular technique that had so far been poorly researched. By means of numerous experiments and tests, Charlotte Werth further investigates these processes and contrasts them with traditional chemical and plant-based coloring techniques. In addition, the thesis inquires into the societal implications of sustainability in the context of microorganisms and bacteria resulting in a collection of 17 textile items making Charlotte Werth’s research findings visually tangible.

Significant Progress and Genuine Sustainability

The jury of Kölner Design Preis stressed: “Innumerable examples from history have shown that new technologies do not automatically change our living environments for the better. In this respect, Jakob Plön’s rehabilitation project is beyond all doubt. His VR system is used for the treatment of patients with neurological malfunctions and is able, as compared to traditional treatment methods of neurological physiotherapy, to make fast and significant progress in this research area. The jury wishes Jakob and his thesis VOCUS to receive a high level of attention and wide-spread utilization.“

With regard to Charlotte Werth’s thesis “Schutzkollektion“, the jury said: “Given the current discussion about sustainability, the textile industry is under scrutiny and environmentally harmful and socially questionable production technologies need corrective action. Through her thesis ‘Schutzkollektion‘, Charlotte Werth asks for a genuine sustainable coloring technique through bacteria and also demonstrates – given the high aesthetic demand and quality of her collection – that such a manufacturing practice is compatible with the fast-moving fashion industry.“

This year, no third place was awarded on the occasion of Kölner Design Preis. Instead, the second rank was given to three projects. Besides Charlotte Werth from KISD to Katharina Kaven from Rheinische Fachhochschule Cologne for her thesis “When you have depression, you‘re not sad“ and to Fabienne Schovenberg from ecosign Academy for her thesis “Ist/Die Welt ist/ Noch zu retten“.

About the Kölner Design Preis

The Kölner Design Preis, as in the previous year also in 2019 labeled the Toby E. Rodes Award, is a joint project by KISD – Köln International School of Design, ecosign Academy, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, and Rheinische Fachhochschule Cologne. This year, 28 project works/final theses were approved for final selection. All 28 nominated works will be exhibited at MAKK from October 25 to November 17. 2019’s award ceremony marked the 12th edition of the Kölner Design Preis – this year for the second time under the auspices and with the support of Neumann-Hug SA willing to keep alive the estate of German author Toby E. Rodes. The Kölner Design Preis this year is endowed with 2,000 euro for the winner and with 1,000 euro each for those ranked second place. 
The jury in 2019 consisted of Dr. Petra Hesse (director of MAKK Museum Cologne), Nils Holger Moormann (Managing Director, Nils Holger Moormann Ltd.), Claudia Neumann (Managing Director, Neumann-Communication), Stephan Ott (Editor-in-Chief of “form”-magazine), and Prof. Ralph Sommer (Professor for Concept Design, University of Fine Arts, Hamburg).

Kölner Design Preis 2019 (Toby E. Rodes Award)

Winner, first place: Jakob Plöns, KISD – Köln International School of Design, for “VOCUS“ (Virtuelle Rehabilitation für neurologische Patienten)
Second place: Charlotte Werth, KISD – Köln International School of Design, for “Schutzkollektion“
Second place: Katharina Kaven, Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln, for “When you have depression, you’re not sad“
Second place: Fabienne Schovenberg, ecosign, for “Ist/Die Welt ist/Noch zu retten“

2019 Award Ceremony
October 24, 2019
Museum of Applied Arts Cologne (Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln, MAKK)
An der Rechtschule, 50667 Cologne
Exhibition of all nominated theses/projects: October 25 – November 17,
for detailed opening hours and more information:
© Photos: KISD photo studio, Freres