Zeischegg. Design. Product Form.
ed. Jasmin Trudel
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The industrial designer, Walter Zeischegg, was on any understanding obsessed with form. Variously described by those who knew him first-hand, as a Nietzsche-like figure trying to solve big, complex problems, and continually occupied with geometric forms and morphology, yet he was also able to recognise the potential that lay within form and develop successful, commercial products.

Zeischegg did not set out to become a designer. Born in 1917 in Vienna, his family then moved to Graz where in the later 1930s he studied to become a sculptor. But the intervention of war, and his serving in the Reichswehr, brought his artistic career to a halt. It was at the cessation of hostilities he decided it was impossible to return to art. Immediate, practical needs had to come first, and so he turned to the study and application of industrial design. Then in 1951, at the invitation of the architect Max Bill, Zeischegg joined the teaching team at the foundation of Ulm’s new design school, the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG). It was there he was to remain until its closure in 1968, when he went on to establish his own design studio, the Atelier für Produkt Form.

As a designer Zeischegg ended up rejecting both the notions of design as art, and that design could be reduced to system and function alone. There had to be a space for imagination. Yet there also had to be a product. In balancing these seemingly opposing imperatives, not only was he able to give his students a structure and approach to design, he and later his staff were able to apply it commercially.

For the first time, Zeischegg. Design. Product Form. brings to designers and those interested in design, the approach and method of this exacting and fascinating man. An approach that not only brought him success, but also challenges us today to look beyond the simple narratives of the relation between form and function.


First Edition, March 2024
A5 48 pages
© 2024 Ueberschwarz Pty Ltd
ISBN 978-1-922686-09-1