15.11.2019 – 18.10.2020

Ingo Maurer Intim. Design or What?

A comprehensive show in close collaboration with Ingo Maurer and his team that includes everything from his early designs right up to his latest luminaires, with more than 80 objects plus models and photographs
Exhibition, Ingo Maurer Intim. Design or What?, 2019.
Photo: Anna Seibel

About the Exhibition

With the exhibition “Ingo Maurer intim. Design or What?” (Ingo Maurer intimately. Design or What?) Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum is presenting the work of internationally renowned lighting designer Ingo Maurer and introduces the viewer to Maurer’s fascinating world of light and shade.

In close collaboration with Ingo Maurer and his team, Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum developed a comprehensive show that includes everything from his early designs right up to his latest luminaires, with more than 80 objects plus models and photographs. It is with great sadness that we learned of Ingo Maurer’s death so shortly before the exhibition opening.

Ingo Maurer (1932 Island of Reichenau, Lake Constance – 2019 Munich) devoted himself almost exclusively to light since 1966, and with his “Bulb” luminaire produced his first, famous statement in the form of an iconic light bulb. Since that time, he and his team in his Munich workshop have been developing complex, ingenious, and elaborate light objects and lighting concepts for both private and public spaces as well as spectacular one-offs.

Maurer’s international breakthrough came 1984 with his novel lighting system “YaYaHo”, one of the first low-voltage wire systems for halogen reflector lamps. To this day, many of his luminaires are well-known the world over, among them “Zettel’z” (1997), which users can partly design themselves. His “EL.E.DEE” (2001) is considered the very first LED table lamp – and in 2008 together with the Osram company he devised “Early Future”, the world’s first mass-produced OLED luminaire.

“Ingo Maurer intim” alludes to how Ingo Maurer saw his work. In close and trusting collaboration with his team, Maurer developed each step from the initial sketch to the final product to the sales process. “Design or What?” alludes to the exciting interaction of design, art, and architecture. Because with Maurer’s objects the question often arises of how, if at all, they can be pigeonholed in terms of style. This gave Maurer a great deal of freedom as no one discipline had clear expectations of what he would create.

This scope can be seen from his versatility and open mind, his special application of porcelain, plastic, paper or gold – and his use of technological novelties of the day, such as halogen lamps or OLED. Alongside the materials and technology, quite unspectacular moments in everyday life serve as his inspiration when conjuring up new lighting situations.
A joy in experimentation and playfulness are to be sensed in his works, which span the entire spectrum of elegance, simplicity, mannerism, construction, and humor. The latter is reflected in his preferred use of witty and onomatopoetic product names that draw on different languages.

In the final instance, it is not form that takes the foreground in his pieces, but the quality of light and its impact on people and the particular space involved. Maurer creates emotion and mood and seeks a symbiosis of technology and poetry.
In the person of Ingo Maurer and his team – following on from Konstantin Grcic, Werner Aisslinger, Hella Jongerius & Louise Schouwenberg and Friedrich von Borries – we are continuing our series on contemporary positions in design in the Paternoster Hall; ever since 2015, each year Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum has been inviting international protagonists of design to present their ideas here.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication:

The title of the catalogue “Ingo Maurer intim” (meaning: intimately) alludes to how Ingo Maurer sees his work. In close and trusting collaboration with his team, Maurer develops each step from the initial sketch to the final product to the sales process. “Design or What?” alludes to the exciting interaction of design, art, and architecture. Because with Maurer’s objects the question often arises of how, if at all, they can be pigeonholed in terms of style.

Exhibition Views

Exhibition, Ingo Maurer Intim. Design or What?, 2019.
Photo: Anna Seibel
Ingo Maurer, Zettel’s Laughing Buddha, 1997/2019.
Photo: Anna Seibel
Dagmar Mombach, Ingo Maurer + Team, MaMo Nouchies.
Photo: Anna Seibel
Ingo Maurer, Lucellino Wall, Birds, Birds, Birds, 1992.
Photo: Anna Seibel

Curated by:

Xenia Riemann-Tyroller

Curatorial assistent:
Rosa Carola Rodeck

Supported by:

PIN. Freunde der Pinakothek der Moderne e.V.

Logo of PIN. The capital letters are black and large. To the right of the lettering is Freunde der Pinakothek der Moderne e.V. in grey capital letters.