dieDAS, Design Akademie Saaleck, was founded to provide generous opportunities for professional development and networking to designers and design-driven creatives. It is our deep conviction that such resources are essential to the creation of innovative and socially relevant processes and prototypes, which humanity urgently needs to secure present and future coexistence.
Set in the center of Europe, the academy’s program promotes transformative, collaborative design creation within a supportive environment that welcomes brainstorming, confrontation, and soul searching. We intend our campus to be a place to experience nature, reflect on history, and connect with colleagues and mentors, all while enlarging the potential of design. Nestled high on a verdant cliff above the Saale River, dieDAS is based in Saxony-Anhalt near Naumburg, Germany. The acquisition of the former Saalecker Werkstätten that now house dieDAS was made possible in 2018 thanks to the generosity of collector and patron Egidio Marzona and the founding of the Marzona Foundation.
The buildings that comprise the dieDAS campus are inextricably linked to a grave past. In 1902, racist ideologue and architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg built his home in Saaleck, and shortly thereafter founded the Saalecker Werkstätten, which became a hub for National Socialists. This racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic history must never fade from our collective memory. Reclaiming this “uncomfortable monument” as a site for forward-facing discourse and socially conscious creation was a deliberate choice. The Marzona Foundation and dieDAS will transform the former Saalecker Werkstätten into a platform that champions an anti-racist, globally mindful perspective and facilitates productive cross-cultural, interdisciplinary exchanges—among diverse fellows, institutions, and companies, as well as a worldwide network of designers, craftspeople, architects, curators, and theorists.
Together, we explore the urgent questions of our time, looking for solutions that are ecologically sensible, inclusive, resilient, and forward-facing. We examine topics such as biophilic design and sustainability, new technologies, and the democratization of design. And we investigate design's potential roles in environmental stewardship, fostering community, and beyond.
In so doing, we believe these efforts cumulatively serve as a compelling testament to the power of change, community, and vision.