A conference by the Conservation Department

The FUTURE TALKS conference series was initiated in 2009 by the Conservation Department at Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum, and since then it has taken place every two years at Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.

FUTURE TALKS is an international conference format for transferring knowledge on innovations in modern materials and technologies, current research projects involving active restoration, and conservation of modern materials, as well as the analysis and documentation of technologies used. Specialist presentations, workshops, speed lectures, and panel discussions serve to present, scrutinize, and evaluate specific interdisciplinary approaches.

Having hosted more than 1,800 participants from over 30 nations, the first seven conferences and the eight conference postprints released to date have garnered an enthusiastic response and made the term FUTURE TALKS internationally synonymous with the preservation of modern materials.

FUTURE TALKS is internationally recognized as THE established forum for professional networking, interdisciplinary lectures, workshops, and discussions on modern materials and technologies and their impact on the world of museums, galleries, and private collections.

With a focus on an increasing number of interdisciplinary contributions relating to technologies and modified analytical techniques, our goal is to improve the decision-making process in the preservation of modern materials and to discuss and define possible avenues for active treatments.

The FUTURE TALKS help to raise awareness among the general public of the fact that even industrially produced products are subject to a gradual degradation of material which, in the worst-case scenario, can lead to a loss of our cultural identity and history.

Two participants are chatting on the terrace of the Pinakothek der Moderne. They are sitting on light green chairs. On the concrete wall in the background is the.
The Future Talks are intended for trade experts to discuss current modern innovations in materials and technology.
Photo: Die Neue Sammlung
The head of the Conservation Department, Tim Bechtold, stands on a stage behind a podium. A bright projection with the words "Cold Cases" can be seen in the background. This was the theme of the Future Talks 2023.
Future Talks, 2023.
Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum

Since the beginning of industrialization, the increasing development of materials and the new technologies associated with them have had ever greater influence on the design of goods and works of art. To this day, materials are designed, modified, blended, and adapted to the needs of the market and the environment.

Many of the materials that have been developed since the end of the 19th century undergo irreversible changes due to ageing processes. The damage is often incompatible with the original intention of the designer or artist and is usually problematic from a conservation point of view.

Conservators who are confronted with cultural objects of modernity must recognize and interpret these complex relationships in order to gain an appropriate understanding of the ageing processes and thus define suitable conservation methods and correspondingly adequate strategies for treatment. The interdisciplinary dialog with conservation scientists, engineers, designers, and producers represents a key tool in this context for understanding modernism.

Simone Farresin Studio Formafantasma in conversation with Sarah Dorkenwald (UnDesigUnit), Future Talks, November 2019.
Video: Die Neue Sammlung

Event Organizer
The conference series was initiated and has been organized every two years by the Conservation Department at Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum.

The Conservation Department has now spent 22 years working predominantly on the phenomenon of ageing in modern materials.

Thanks to numerous conference papers, specialist publications, practical research projects, and international teaching assignments (University College London [UCL] in Doha, Qatar; Technical University of Munich [TUM] and the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart, both in Germany; and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria), the Die Neue Sammlung Conservation Department is one of the world’s leading authorities on the ageing and restoration of modern materials in design.