18. September 2020

Mourn­ing the pass­ing of Dr. Silke Claus

bay­ern design deeply mourns the pass­ing of Dr. Silke Claus. As man­ag­ing direc­tor of bay­ern design GmbH from 2009 to 2020, Silke Claus devel­oped the State of Bavaria’s cen­ter of design com­pe­tence into an enti­ty of inter­na­tion­al renown. She also fos­tered the expan­sion of Munich Cre­ative Busi­ness Week (MCBW) into the largest design event in Ger­many, thus con­sid­er­ably fur­ther­ing Bavaria’s design industry.

Silke Claus stud­ied archi­tec­ture and psy­chol­o­gy at Braun­schweig Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty, Leib­niz Uni­ver­si­ty in Han­nover, Berlin Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Austin. She wrote her doc­tor­al the­sis on com­mu­ni­ca­tion-ori­ent­ed build­ing design and she con­tributed to diverse inter­na­tion­al urban-research projects. From 1994 to 2004, Silke Claus taught at Han­nover Uni­ver­si­ty and Dres­den Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty and was assis­tant man­ag­ing direc­tor of the MACI­NA agency in Hannover/Dubai before tak­ing on lead­er­ship of the Inter­na­tion­al Design Cen­ter Berlin in 2005.

Silke Claus was a mem­ber of sev­er­al nation­al and inter­na­tion­al asso­ci­a­tions of design experts, most impor­tant­ly, the Bureau of Euro­pean Design Asso­ci­a­tions (BEDA) and the Glob­al Design Net­work (GDN). She also served on juries for the Bavar­i­an State Prize for Young Design­ers and the Sax­on State Prize for Design. In addi­tion, for many years as chair of the advi­so­ry pan­el of Akademie Faber-Castell Silke Claus was com­mit­ted to fos­ter­ing the aca­d­e­m­ic edu­ca­tion of design­ers in Germany.

Silke Claus dis­tin­guished her­self through her broad appre­ci­a­tion of the impact of design on soci­ety as a whole. She under­stood design to be user-ori­ent­ed and to take social and polit­i­cal dimen­sions into con­sid­er­a­tion. Hence, she was par­tic­u­lar­ly ded­i­cat­ed to pro­mot­ing Uni­ver­sal Design and Eco Design. Hav­ing a glob­al mind­set, inter­na­tion­al­i­ty was a mat­ter of course for her. Exchanges between Europe and pros­per­ing economies in Asia, par­tic­u­lar­ly Chi­na, always were of spe­cial con­cern to Silke Claus. Dur­ing many pri­vate as well as busi­ness trips she explored the diver­si­ty of glob­al cul­ture in detail and broad­ened her view. Silke Claus used her advanced com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills to con­nect peo­ple across nations and pro­fes­sion­al fields.

Over the course of the eleven years Silke Claus worked for bay­ern design, she shaped this cen­tral Bavar­i­an orga­ni­za­tion for the pro­mo­tion of design into a lead­ing inter­na­tion­al insti­tu­tion with offices in Nurem­berg and Munich. She insti­tut­ed MCBW, which has been held annu­al­ly since 2012, as the show­case for the design, archi­tec­ture, and adver­tis­ing scenes and for design-ori­ent­ed com­pa­nies in Bavaria. She placed great impor­tance on the con­cep­tu­al-con­tex­tu­al ori­en­ta­tion of MCBW with chang­ing focal points in align­ment with major trends in soci­ety. In this endeav­or, Silke Claus always looked to the future and thus her activ­i­ties played a sig­nif­i­cant role in cham­pi­oning the acclaim of Bavaria as a site of design on an inter­na­tion­al scale.

It is with sor­row that the Bavar­i­an State Min­istry for Eco­nom­ic Affairs, Region­al Devel­op­ment and Ener­gy, the board of direc­tors of bay­ern design forum e.V., and the team at bay­ern design have to accept the loss of Silke Claus who, at 55 years of age, was tak­en much too soon.

We extend our deep­est sym­pa­thy to her fam­i­ly and relatives.


Instead of kind­ly allo­cat­ed dona­tions, the fam­i­ly asks for a dona­tion to Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al, IBAN DE 92 3506 0190 0010 2030 40, pass­word “In mem­o­ry of Silke Claus”.