—Maurizio Montalti, Artistic Director
Our inaugural Fellowship Program launched in September 2020 in the form of an intensive one-week workshop. Focusing on the theme “Farming Materials’ Ecologies”, our first group of fellows explored the concept of materials’ ecologies within design and architectural practices—as well as dieDAS’s own potential strategies in this arena.
Under the close direction and coaching of the dieDAS Team, led by Artistic Director Maurizio Montalti, we welcomed four fellows to participate in our debut program. These outstanding young talents—Talin Hazbar, Svenja Keune, Sasson Rafailov, and Basse Stittgen—joined us in Saaleck to work as a collective to research and critically analyze dieDAS’s local environment and our possible role within this context. Throughout their residency, the fellows enjoyed lectures by and mentorship from prestigious contributors, including acclaimed designers Formafantasma and Omer Arbel as well as syntropic materials expert Eugenia Morpurgo, among others.
Using our new campus as an experimental canvas, our debut fellows studied dieDAS’s environment and developed their site-specific research within a frame that took into account relevant local and global dynamics, from regional traditions to crafts, industrial activities, and beyond. Espousing a critical, systemic approach to design, the 2020 Fellowship Program laid the groundwork for future dieDAS talents—both literally and metaphorically—by producing a unified vision to “seed the ground“ for the creation of a multicultural ecology dedicated to on-site material production. Nurtured over time, this approach will allow future generations of dieDAS fellows to harvest and harness responsible raw products (e.g. fibers, pigments, adhesives, etc.) and regenerative processes for the production of natural materials to be used in design, craft, and architecture projects.
By radically subverting the origin of the raw materials currently implemented within both industrial and transformative design processes, the 2020 framework embraced a transition towards climate neutrality, allowing participants to both critically and practically reflect on inclusivity, poly-culturality, equality, and globality, as well as the democratization of the design and architectural practices, looking at them as fundamental drivers for societal change within contemporary global challenges.
Driven by analysis, hands-on experimentation, and thoughtful exchange, the one-week intensive capsule program resulted in the birth of a physical and intellectual design platform, which dieDAS will proudly continue building upon in years to come.