A short introduction
Since 2009, Nika has had her own design studio where she works on different interdisciplinary projects in the fields of product and concept design. She has been concentrating on the topic of design’s responsibility for the environment since her days as a student and has since strived to foster a more sustainable world and more social togetherness using creative and organisational impetuses. She has also been teaching at the ecosign Academy for Design in Cologne since 2011.
Nika also manages thelabor gruen along with Dunja Karabaic, where they develop and realise special projects on environmental and sustainability communication. Their last project was “The good life in your neighbourhood”, a pilot project for the whole of Germany, successfully proving that sustainable city development can be achieved using social togetherness to communicate the importance of sustainability. The project was sponsored by Europe’s most renowned environmental foundation, the German Federal Foundation for the Environment. It was also awarded the distinction as a United Nations Education for Sustainable Development project in Germany.
Focus and approach
As a designer, you have wonderful opportunities to integrate messages into your work and can help to positively influence society. Of course Nika’s products and projects are meant to be fun, but they are also meant to shed light on certain issues, tell a story, make people think and inspire people to change their behaviour. To do this complexity justice, the design can get pretty, well, complex, especially the projects. Along with formal design features, the projects can also call for approaches from the fields of sociology, psychology or marketing.
Which is a great way to connect behavioural and learning theory approaches with practical goals. Using these theories you can find out which criteria have to be met so that people start to identify themselves with a certain issue, incorporating them into the development of the respective project.
So if you take a closer look, designers have powerful tools they can use to create trends or demand, for example: they can trigger desires, needs and consumer worlds or generate new contexts. We designers have a great influence on what and how we consume. And it is this potential that we should use in any way possible in order to create a more modern and respectful future. It’s about being aware of what the societal consequences are of our communication and design performance. In order to develop objects and projects that have the highest possible utility without unnecessarily harming the environment, it is more important than ever to rely on reflection, research and science.