5. September 2022

Design­ing for the olympics


To mark the 50th anniver­sary of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Die Neue Samm­lung – The Design Muse­um is focus­ing on devel­op­ments in design for the Olympic Games and the Par­a­lympics Games. As the largest sport­ing event in the world, the Games have always been the motor for and focus for inno­va­tions. Not only do inter­na­tion­al ath­letes com­pete with one anoth­er. The man­u­fac­tur­ers of sports equip­ment also try to out­do one anoth­er when it comes to equip­ping the ath­letes, just as do the host coun­tries when it comes to the visu­al and archi­tec­tur­al design of the games. Despite the orig­i­nal idea of the Olympic Games as an ambas­sador for peace­ful, non-polit­i­cal under­stand­ing among peo­ple and nations, they do in fact often become vehi­cles for polit­i­cal and social statements.

Blick in die Ausstellung. Design für Olympia. © 2022. Die Neue Sammlung- The Design Museum (Kai
Blick in die Ausstellung. Design für Olympia. © 2022. Die Neue Sammlung- The Design Museum (Kai
Elena Winschermann (Schwaiger), Otl Aicher, Maskottchen Waldi. Offizieller Entwurf, 1970. Leihgabe Elena Schwaiger. Foto: Die Neue Sammlung (Foto: Kai Mewes)
Elena Winschermann (Schwaiger), Otl Aicher, Maskottchen Waldi. Offizieller Entwurf, 1970. Leihgabe Elena Schwaiger. Foto: Die Neue Sammlung (Foto: Kai Mewes)

The exhi­bi­tion “Design­ing for the Olympics” aims to illus­trate the many ways in which design and the Olympics are intertwined.

The 1972 Olympic Games in Munich with their for­ward-look­ing visu­al iden­ti­ty by Otl Aich­er form the start­ing point for reflec­tions on the Games that pre­ced­ed and fol­lowed them. The pre­sen­ta­tion shows how inven­tive­ness and a spir­it of inno­va­tion are reflect­ed in the design for the Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games, and which val­ues and goals are expressed in the design for the Olympics.

The notion of progress plays just as big a role here as the polit­i­cal agen­da, sus­tain­abil­i­ty and inclu­sion. With this focus on the design of the Olympic Games and its his­tor­i­cal devel­op­ment, Die Neue Samm­lung sets an accent that is both impor­tant and unique when exam­in­ing the Olympics from a polit­i­cal and social per­spec­tive in the anniver­sary year 2022.

Con­se­quent­ly, the exhi­bi­tion delib­er­ate­ly takes a col­lec­tive look at both the Olympic Games and the Par­a­lympic Games and uses mas­cots, medals, posters, and sports equip­ment to demon­strate how these two com­pe­ti­tions slow­ly con­verge after start­ing out in very dif­fer­ent ways. Sports equip­ment span­ning a hun­dred years, from box­ing gloves worn in the Paris Games of 1924 to moun­tain bikes rid­den in the Tokyo Games of 2021, tes­ti­fy to the chang­ing nature of sports equip­ment but also of the sports dis­ci­plines them­selves. The dis­ci­plines rep­re­sent­ed at the Games mir­ror the inter­re­la­tion­ships between ama­teur and pro­fes­sion­al sports.

In addi­tion to graph­ic designs and sports equip­ment, the exhi­bi­tion also presents room fur­nish­ings and their designs, which were also cre­at­ed in the course of the Olympic Games. These include the Niz­za show­er unit, designed by Gün­ther Eck­ert and Wern­er Wirs­ing for the Olympic Vil­lage at the 1972 Munich Games, or the devel­op­ment of the seat­ing shell used inside the Munich sta­di­um, which was designed in coop­er­a­tion with Behnisch Architek­ten by the Equip­ment Work­ing Par­ty under Nick Roericht. Pho­tographs by Sigrid Neu­bert and Karsten de Riese pro­vide an objec­tive look at the archi­tec­ture as well as an impres­sion of the spe­cial design and atmos­phere of the 1972 Games.

In coop­er­a­tion with stu­dents of the Fac­ul­ty of Design at the Munich Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences, inter­ac­tive web­sites and short films are being cre­at­ed in the cur­rent sum­mer semes­ter, which can be viewed in the exhibition.

The exhi­bi­tion is accom­pa­nied by a wide-rang­ing pro­gram, which includes col­lab­o­ra­tions with dok.fest Munich, the Münch­n­er Volk­shochschule, and Muse­um Min­er­alo­gia. In this exhi­bi­tion, we are again con­tin­u­ing to fol­low our new con­cept of inclu­sive design: There is a media sta­tion that can be accessed by wheel­chair users and texts are avail­able in sim­ple language.

The exhi­bi­tion con­cept adheres to the prin­ci­ple of the Cir­cu­lar Econ­o­my. Care was tak­en to min­i­mize trans­port routes and the nec­es­sary dis­tances were delib­er­ate­ly kept short. For the archi­tec­ture, fun­da­men­tal design deci­sions were made with the aim of reusing as much exist­ing mate­r­i­al as pos­si­ble and com­plete­ly avoid­ing ther­mal recy­cling after the end of the exhi­bi­tion. The exhi­bi­tion archi­tec­ture, which trans­lates the col­ors and arrange­ment of the five Olympic rings into exhi­bi­tion mod­ules, cre­ates a close mesh­ing and con­ver­gence of graph­ic design and object design.

The exhi­bi­tion will be accom­pa­nied by a bilin­gual cat­a­log, which will pro­vide aca­d­e­m­ic com­men­tary on the exhi­bi­tion as well as the tes­ti­mo­ny of con­tem­po­rary wit­ness­es on design devel­op­ment, pho­tog­ra­phy and com­pet­i­tive sports.

Exhi­bi­tion „Design für Olympia“
Pinakothek der Moderne
8 July 2022 – 3 Okto­ber 2022