What’s become of Otl Aicher’s former abode? A visit to the Allgäu.
Hans G. Conrad was the first student at the Ulm School of Design. Born in the Swiss canton of Aargau, Conrad was only four years younger than Otl Aicher. He had already enrolled in Ulm at the beginning of 1953, although classes did not begin until August. He had come to Ulm through personal contact with Aicher, with Inge Aicher-Scholl and founding headmaster Max Bill. He worked with Aicher on the system for the exhibition pavilion for the German Radio-, Phono- and Televisionexhibition in Düsseldorf in 1955, which served as a framework for new types of products by putting contemporary living and Braun products into context. This helped to significantly change the image and appearance of the Frankfurt based company Max Braun. The stand provided the framework for the phono-radio-combination “Braun SK4 Phonosuper”, mainly designed by Hans Gugelot and Dieter Rams – Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Otl Aicher and Herbert Lindinger had also contributed to details of the device.
From 1958, Conrad was in charge of the trade fair and exhibition design at Braun. In 1962 he moved to Lufthansa as head of advertising. From 1969, Conrad worked on the Visual Design Committee for the Munich Olympic Games (whose chairman was Anton Stankowski). Hans G. Conrad was of great importance as a contact person, companion and supporter of Aicher on the side of his early, important clients. From 1970, Conrad was a member of the editorial board of the magazine Capital. And he was always a factual visual chronicler of his surroundings.
The Cologne publicist, advertiser and university lecturer René Spitz completed his PhD with a work on the organisational history of the HfG Ulm from its beginnings to its end. As a professor, he now teaches design studies, design- and communication management at the Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln. Spitz has been preparing Hans G. Conrad’s extensive photographic oeuvre for years and publishing it in accurately edited volumes. His latest book was published in 2021 on the teaching activities of Josef Albers in Ulm (“Interaction of Albers”), now followed by “aicher in ulm”. Spitz says his aim is “to document facts so that they can serve as a basis for any following studies.”
The work contains more than 900 illustrations, 800 of which show Aicher with students and teachers, in his work for companies such as Braun or the Stuttgarter Gardinen (a not very well-known corporate design project of Aicher’s from the 1960s). Results of his typography teaching are also documented here. Aicher can be seen getting excited about motorbike racings and celebrating at the curved bar of the HfG Ulm, as well as receiving and informing guests of the HfG Ulm – from Theodor Heuss to Konrad Lorenz. An essay by the cultural scientist Thilo Koenig places Conrad’s images in their photographic-historical context. René Spitz himself contributes a text on Aicher’s teaching in Ulm. The book is designed by Petra Hollenbach.
René Spitz (ed.): Hans G. Conrad: aicher in ulm. Forewords by Alexander Wetzig, Stiftung Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) Ulm, and Volker Troche, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung, Essen.
344 pages, bilingual German/English
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, Cologne 2022