Prof. Dr. Annika Frye

Improvisation machine annika frye

Machine to improvise

Annika Frye

Improvisation in Design Processes

(School of Design)

For designers, improvisation is part of their everyday work. Improvisation comes into play again and again in the design process, sometimes even in subconscious ways. For example, a typical improvisatory strategy would be to temporarily fix individual parts of a model with a screw clamp. Beyond its practical use in everyday work, improvisation can be seen as a skill in design. Here the concept of skill is not meant in terms of an artisanal, reproducible action, rather, it is a creative competence that gives rise to something new – based on the repertoire of the designer (virtuoso). In the everyday work of designers, this form of improvisation is mostly overlooked. Yet improvisation has always been used as a strategy for generating ideas and works, especially in a number of artistic fields.

The doctoral research project aims to address the concept of improvisation and its significance for design. Here the focus is on the creative, productive aspect of improvisation, as opposed to emergency or makeshift solutions as often come about in everyday life. Models and drawings as well as conversations in the studios suggest that designers have an implicit knowledge that influences improvisation. This is to be documented and examined with a view to improvisation and its implicit knowledge. The objective of the project is to demystify the phenomenon of improvisation and possibly even find sub-strategies that can be used methodically.


  • Prof. Juliane Rebentisch
  • Prof. Bernhard E. Bürdek
  • Prof. Peter Eckart
Claude rotomolded light by annika frye


Rotomolded light

Annika Frye

Premold lamp annika frye

Premold Lamp

Annika Frye