Institute for Materialdesign IMD

Parametrische lederstruktur

Parametic leather structure

Subject Material Design



Doctoral candidates

Research assistants

Lara Bohe

Emilie Burfeind

Valentin Brück

Student assistants

Sophia Bernauer

Johannes Bietz

Noa Haller

Leo Neunzerling

Lennard Wilde

The Institute for Materialdesign IMD at HfG Offenbach is involved in the experimental intersecting of the design process with the diverse analogue and digital processes for materialization and form generation. Current technological developments have enabled the shift from the traditional material selection or material authenticity to the active and ongoing generation of forms and materials. Special attention is paid to the sometimes conflicting and contradictory processes and their inherent potential in a creative-scientific and interdisciplinary dialog. What impact do materialization and form generation have on the design process? How can a material be charged with digital, adaptive or interactive elements? It is at this intersection of design, materiality and form generation in particular that functional and formal potential and new conceptual and contextual integration are stimulated.

At the IMD, teaching and research activities on material-based and form design are tied in with the context of an experimental and interdisciplinary program in the Basic and Advanced Courses as well as the doctoral program. Rather than a purely dogmatic approach, the aim is a pluralist interaction of a wide range of analogue and digital processes for the generation of forms and the materialization of three-dimensional objects. Here, experimentation, examination and research are often focused on materials, structures and systems and adaptive, interactive and dynamic processes. In addition, the interlacing of nature and artefact as well as the integration of physically, chemically and biologically inspired processes in design play an increasingly important role.

Form generation

At the IMD, the term ‘form generation’ is used to describe a design process that utilizes analogue and digital tools and processes and their reciprocal hybrids. This does not inevitably need to result in finding a form for an object to be designed. Often, the focus is rather on processes concerning the generation or finding of forms and on self-organization. Along with traditional analogue design methods, in particular computer-based, generative design practices and processes for the generation of forms are integrated. Important material parameters are directly embedded in the form generation process.

This gives rise to either digital form generation strategies directly integrating material parameters, or charged materials that lead to adaptive, interactive or dynamic user-object-environment interactions. At present digital surfaces are increasingly being materially charged and undergoing »re-analogization«. As such, by means of their interaction diverse disciplines and technological contexts are giving rise to completely new hybrids of form generation and materialization.

Qualle si han ho


Si Han Ho


Cooperation and project partners

  • Politecnico di Milano 
  • TU Delft
  • AA London
  • ABK Stuttgart
  • ILEK, University Stuttgart
  • BU Wuppertal
  • TU Eindhoven
  • HS Koblenz
  • FH Frankfurt
  • EVO Offenbach
  • Senckenberg Naturkundemuseum Frankfurt
  • Hyundai
  • BASF
  • Fraunhofer Institut
  • Saint Gobain
  • Airbag Craftworks
  • Stadt Koblenz
  • Palmengarten Frankfurt


Silikate exkursion finnland 2

Exkursion an die Aalto University in Helsinki, Finnland

Im Wintersemester 2017/18 fand das Semesterprojekt »Silicate« statt, an dem Studierende aus den beiden Fachbereichen Design und Kunst teilnahmen. Zum Ende des Semesterprojekts ging es vom 10. bis 15. Februar 2018 auf Einladung von Prof. Dr. Maarit Mäkelä auf eine Semesterabschlussexkursion zur Aalto Universität in Helsinki, Finnland. Die Aalto Universität ist die größte Universität in Finnland und hat derzeit rund 20.000 Studierende. An der vom IMD besuchten Fakultät werden die Fächer Architektur, Design und Kunst angeboten, die große Campusuniversität bietet aber auch die Möglichkeit, beispielsweise Ingenieurwissenschaften oder Wirtschaft zu studieren. Die Aalto Universität verfügt zudem über eine große Keramiktradition. Die HfG-Studierenden stellten ihre Semesterergebnisse aus dem Projekt »Silicate« in einer gemeinsamen Workshopveranstaltung mit Lehrenden der Aalto Universität vor. Es fanden Vorträge und ein weiterer Workshop zum Thema »Clay« statt.

Silikate exkursion finnland 1

Cover broschure

Materialdesign 2

The catalog was designed by Nadine Auth and Aeneas Stankowski and is available through the university library (

​ISBN: 978-3-945365-02-1

Materialdesign 2

Prof. Markus Holzbach and his team from Institute for Materialdesign IMD of the School of Design at the HfG Offenbach, University of Art and Design exhibits research works during the Salone del Mobili 2015 in Milan.

Analog and digital design processes combining material and structure

The Institute for Materialdesign IMD understands itself as a hub for inspiration – analog and digital methods are combined to create cross-material innovations. Ideas are frequently generated through the characteristics of the material itself, its qualities and its possibilities as well as its limits. Through the speculative combination of materials, transferring traditional processes of fabrication into innovative contexts, surprising results are achieved. Implementing randomization into the research establishes various remarkable starting points for the design process. The experimental approach and freedom of creative research is a characteristic of the IMD's approach to teaching. Here, research-driven projects stand alongside object-related product design. Many of the works exhibited address the relation between man and material. The extended understanding of the material shifts toward the role of the actual object. This new role of materials also comprises the intersection of nature and artifact. Materials are brought to life through layering and combining natural and synthetic elements and blending in digital techniques. The borders of perception are erased and the material itself is redefined. Designing with materials creates a new context between art and science. Material-centred design opens up the field of design to new possibilities and creates a broad space of conceivable tasks.

Involved designer

Lilian Dedio, Andreas Hildebrand, Florian Hundt, Alix Huschka, Frédéric Kreutzer, Jan-Simon Maibaum, Markus Mau, Anna-Lena Moeckl, Martin Pohlmann, Nico Reinhardt, Julian Schwarze, Aeneas Stankowski, Johannes Wöhrlin

Curated by

Prof. Markus Holzbach

Sponsored by

​BMW, Evonik Industries, freunde der hfg e.v., WZR ceramic solutions GmbH

Transformative paper

Transformative Paper

The project is a layered structure, which reacts to short-term environmental conditions, morphing into various states.

In cooperation with BMW AG

Florian Hundt

Magnetic fabrics

Magnetic Fabrics

The combination of methodically arranged magnetically active and passive components causes a mechanical accumulation of elements and thus a dynamic rearrangement of the entire medium.

In cooperation with BMW AG

Lilian Dedio

Forschungspavillon  1


The pavilion consisting of six thin shell elements is the result of a research project. The material-centred design process can be seen as an exemplary contribution to design science.

Nico Reinhardt


Material Design

The catalog for the Ventura Academies exhibition during the Salone del Mobile in Milan was designed by Nadine Auth and Claire Wildenhues with the Field of Teaching Material Design and is available through the university library (
​ISBN: 978-3-921997-98-7 


In the context of the accompanying program to the Milan Furniture Fair (April 8-13, 2014) students of the Field of Teaching Material Design presented material projects and exhibits in the exhibition district Ventura Lambrate (link). The Milan Furniture Fair is the largest international fair of its kind and attracts some 350,000 visitors every year. Numerous special exhibitions and showroom presentations in Milan’s various districts attract up to 500,000 visitors. HfG Offenbach’s »Material Design« show was presented alongside other universities from around the world under the title »Ventura Academies« in an industrial hall at Via Privata Oslavia 7.

The world of materials and structures, form and design exerts a fascination all of its own. The exhibition’s aim was to give visitors to the Milan Furniture Fair an impression of this fascination.
Many of the student projects on show came about through playful exploration and also involved unconventional approaches. Not only was the emphasis on getting to know materials, structures and systems, but also technical-physical or chemical properties and a sense for sensory properties. Often ideas evolved from an experimental and physical exploration of materials and three-dimensionality. Otl Aicher talks in this context of understanding and grasping things.
Apart from digital design and manufacturing tools, contemporary design is also decisively influenced by materiality. Only though their materialization do our ideas and design intentions become understandable. Materials with sensitive, smart or gradually varying properties lead to new and complex design ideas, which open up unimagined options with regard to concept, form, structure and surface. This paves the way from static to dynamic, process-oriented properties. Creativity and design are part of an industrial value-added and moreover an important cultural task. Mateo Kries, Director of the Vitra Design Museum, recently wrote: »Today, museums have to treat design as what it is – as a crossover discipline between art, science and technology.«

Participating students

Nadine Auth, Joong-Youn Cho, Raffael Costa, Lilian Dedio, Timothy Ekins, Anna Michèle Hamann, Florian Hundt, Alix Huschka, Steven Kaufmann, Marlies Kolodziey, Frederic Kreutzer, Markus Mau, Marianne Pforte, Martin Pohlmann, Ricardo Ponce, Julian Schwarze, Friedrich Söllner, Chi Sohns, Marc-Samuel Ulm, Claire Wildenhues, Johannes Wöhrlin, Benjamin Würkner

Curated by

Prof. Markus Holzbach, Prof. Petra Kellner

Sponsored by

Hyundai, BASF designfabrik, TechnologieTransferNetzwerk Hessen

Hydro lighting surface 02

Hydro Lighting Surface

Membrane construction, which thanks to material transformations and local layering is lent differing functions, and as a result produces an interaction between various fluids and the membrane.

Alix Huschka

Holzkeramik druckdaten 02

Ceramic Woods

The wooden ceramics are the result of a design process inspired by the materials, which essentially explores the question of the composition of natural and synthetic material properties.

Group project

Tacio 02


consists of a multi-layer microstructure, which generates a sense of intensified touch and pressure between the object surface and the hand, and consequently strongly influences interaction between man and object.

Marlies Kolodziey

  • Ceramic woods vortrag jw 02

    Ceramic Woods

  • Ceramic woods vortrag jw

Ceramic Woods

Bio-Materialization/Ceramic Woods

James Weaver (Wyss Institute, Harvard)


November 28, 2013
​Structure-Function Relationships in Damage Tolerant Structural Glasses: Analysis of the Architectural Complexities of Sponge Skeletal Systems


November 28 to 31, 2013
​Isenburger Schloss, 1st floor

Works and SEM images from the seminar “Substitution-biomorphic SiC ceramics” from summer semester 2013 and large-format color electron microscope images of biogenic ceramics (corals), partly in 3D (James Weaver)


Prof. Markus Holzbach
Prof. Werner Lorke

Anisotrop 02


Florian Hundt



The accompanying catalog for the gout exhibition  is available through the university library (
​ISBN: 978-3-921997-98-7 

Transmateria – Analogue and digital design processes at the interface of material and structure

gout exhibition at the Sheraton Offenbach Hotel

The exhibition »Transmateria – Analogue and digital design processes at the interface of material and structure« marked the ninth cooperation between HfG Offenbach and the Sheraton Offenbach Hotel. From November 7, 2013 to September 30, 2014 the hotel was transformed into an exhibition space once more. For the first time, projects, designs and presentations from the Product Design Department were showcased.

The exhibition showed design processes characterized by their immediate proximity to the material and that explore the nature, properties, possibilities and limitations of material. The surprising combination of materials and recontextualization of the familiar produced a range of inspiring stimuli for design. But that was not all. The creative approach to, say, wood and plant fibers, traditional industrial materials such as metals and plastics and completely new materials produced results that have a highly individual sensory power and particularly artistic aesthetic.

Participating students

Vasiliki Corakas, Karl Becker, Lilian Dedio, Timothy Ekins, Aldo Freund, Anna-Michele Hamann, Alix Huschka, Steven Kaufmann, Philip Kliem, Annalena Kluge, Marlies Kolodziey, Teresa Mendler, Marianne Pforte, Sophia Polywka, Steffen Reiter, Chi Sohns, Marc-Samuel Ulm, Barbara Wildung, Johannes Wöhrlin, Benjamin Würkner, Xiaojia Yao, Studierende der Grundlagen Produktgestaltung unter der Leitung von Prof. Petra Kellner und Prof. Peter Eckart und in Zusammenarbeit mit Andreas Klober

Cu­rated by

Prof. Dr. Markus Holzbach
​Dipl. Des. Nico Reinhardt

Transtextile marianne pforte 1


Marianne Pforte

  • Engelstrompete

    Engelstrompete (Angel’s Trumpet)

    Photos: Emily Wabitsch

  • Dsc 4370

  • Dsc 4492

  • Dsc 4436

  • Dsc 4536

Engelstrompete (Angel’s Trumpet)

Photos: Emily Wabitsch

Engelstrompete (Angel’s Trumpet)

Realized in Frankfurt’s Palmengarten during Luminale 2012

Concept of renewable raw materials

The design is based on the idea of processing a renewable regional raw material in an innovative manner and combining it with a modern material to create a completely new three-dimensional object. The pavilion – a lightweight load-bearing slab structure – consists of a delicate load-bearing structure of regional timbers and a translucent membrane. In combination, the materials form a harmonious whole that interprets the idea of sustainability in a pioneering manner and lends poetic expression to the technical element.

Temporary, mobile and sustainable

The pavilion can be quickly and easily erected and disassembled or transported thanks to its modular structure. Moreover, the pavilion is completely recyclable: All the materials used can easily be recycled separately; no harmful compounds are used or produced.


The blossom of the angel’s trumpet provided the inspiration for the pavilion. Seen as an abstract form, it opens up a wide range of creative options. The blossom has five characteristic tips, which are reflected in the pavilion by five basic structural elements. In all, the pavilion is made up of 15 elements. Their spatial arrangement gives rise to interesting overlayerings and interstices, blurring the difference between inside and outside.

Projection and sound

The pavilion is conceived as analogous to a living organism that responds to its environment and communicates with it visually and acoustically. The translucent membrane forms the skin between the wooden leaf ribs and simultaneously serves as a reflective surface or space for video projections. Moving forms and changing colors underline the similarity to a living organism. This visual level is accompanied by a sound space, which was conceived and realized by Dominik Eulberg. Not only is he an internationally successful ornithologist, but he is also famous for his rave music. He is an artist who, like the angel’s trumpet, combines nature and technology in a special way: natural sounds are the raw material for his electronic music.

Concept, design, realization and assembly

Aldo Freund, Philip Kliem, Barbara Wildung, Benjamin Würkner

Sound concept and realization

Dominik Eulberg


Paul Heyduck, Raoul Wilken


Nikita Bagdulin, Patrick König, Sarah Lilienthal, Martin Pohlmann, Nico Reinhardt


Prof. Markus Holzbach

With the kind support of

Dominik Eulberg, sonosfera, satis & fy, Palmengarten Frankfurt, Gründach e.K., Rauch,, Bagger Born GmbH


8 September 2019 until 6 February 2020
6 February 2020 Thursday
8 September 2019 Sunday
Bildschirmfoto 2019 09 05 um 09 58 41
Transformative paper
6 years ago

Exhibition »Materialdesign«

Prof. Markus Holzbach and his team from Institute for Materialdesign IMD of the Faculty of Product Design at the HfG Offenbach, University of Art and Design exhibits research works during the Salone del Mobili in Milan.