The Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW) taking place 4–12 March, once again attracted top designers, architects, creatives, and business representatives from all over the world to meet in the Bavarian State capital. According to the motto of “The Smart Revolution”, design studios, galleries, and businesses opened their doors for exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. Hardly a day went by without some contribution by Phoenix Design.
A week MCBW with Phoenix Design
Whether in our studio, at the Deutsches Museum, or at the BMW Welt on the occasion of awarding the Bavarian State Prize for Young Designers, Phoenix Design took part in an event almost every day. And a very special guest was moving around in Munich, too: Paul, Care-O-bot of the 4th generation. This service robot was developed and designed in close cooperation between the Fraunhofer IPA and Phoenix Design in Stuttgart, and was this year's MCBW mascot. In the forum of the Deutsches Museum, Paul had the honour of opening the event on Saturday 4 March 2017 and sending a welcoming message to the audience.
At the “Smart People” stand of the exhibition, Paul then got in touch with interested visitors. Tim Fröhlich of Fraunhofer IPA was at Care-O-bot4’s side; he’s one of its constructors. “Most people who saw Paul were surprised at first, watching him from a certain distance”, the engineer tells us. But after only a few seconds, curiosity got the better of them, and they came closer, trying to talk to it or to enter into some kind of interaction. The most enthusiastic visitors were the children, but the grown-ups as well turned out to be positively impressed by the current state of development. “However, there was always a certain sense of foreboding, of fear about the predominance of robots, although this feeling could be dispersed quickly when we explained the current state-of-the-art”, Fröhlich adds.
On Sunday (5 March 2017), it was Joon-Mo Lee, Design Strategy Manager with Phoenix Design, who entered the stage at the MCBW-Forum. In his speech "Robotics: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" he discussed the evolution of robots, today’s standards and the opportunities for the future. Presenting impressions of past, current and future robotics milestones, he invited the audience to change their way of thinking. What if robots are not only our working servants, but if they were also able to positively touch our emotions?
For the award-winning ceremony for the Bavarian State Prize for Young Designers Bernd Eigenstetter, Phoenix Design Managing Director, was invited to the BMW Welt on Monday (6 March 2017). Beside Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Heckl, General Director of Deutsches Museum, and Dr. Silke Claus, CEO of bayern design, he spoke in front of a large audience on the topics of smart applications for service robots in retail and the demands on their design.
On stage, where Ilse Aigner, Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, handed over the coveted prizes, there was also Care-O-bot4, making small talk with the host, right there up in the limelight.
For Tuesday night (7 March 2017), Phoenix Design had extended an invitation to visit its own Munich studio on the occasion of the Design Talk “Smart Robots – Making of”. How will we be designing our future, using robotics? How will we as innovation agents steer and control the ever faster technology developments in a way that’s ideally smart? Armin Scharf as the host was moderator to a lively discussion, with the audience taking an active part. Sonja Moosburger, Head of Digital Transformation & Projects (Media-Saturn), Michael Fischer, Executive Partner European Leader Strategy & Design (IBM), Dr. Ulrich Reiser, Group Head Robot and Assistance Systems (Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart) and Moritz Kemper, Senior Interaction Designer (Phoenix Design) and lecturer at the ZHdK contributed their respective perspectives.
One focus was on striving to convey more emotionality and character in designing robots that interact with human beings in the future. “In order to make the interface between people and robots more emotional and more natural, we need to take inspiration from the dialog between people and to transform it into a respectively artificial character. This interplay of facial expressions, gestures, and language is vital for realising this character”, says Moritz Kemper. Even Paul made a point of coming to our event and celebrated together with the some 120 guests at the after party.
On the next day (8 March 2017), service robot Paul was again right on time at the Internet World Exhibition where he appeared as a star.
And another talk: For Phoenix Design, Bernd Eigenstetter appeared as talk guest on Thursday (9 March 2017) at the AXOR Talk at the MCBW-Forum, speaking on product intelligence in the bathroom; the talk host was Katharina Altemeier. The topic: “The new bathroom: Smart? Revolution?”. He contributed his digital expertise to the discussion with Werner Aisslinger, Designer, and Stefan Hoske, Senior Consultant Architecture and Design with AXOR/Hansgrohe. For architects, manufacturers and designers alike, the smart bathroom is a hot topic in the competition for digitisation and innovative comfort. In terms of technology and design – anything is possible. But the question to ask is: What does really make sense?
The week’s finale was marked by this year’s award-winning ceremony for the iF Design Awards on Friday (10 March 2017) at the BMW Welt Munich in front of an audience of more than 2,000 spectators. Phoenix Design was honoured with the iF Gold Award 2017 for the AXOR Uno series of bathroom fittings. Only 75 out of more than 5,000 submissions won the coveted Gold. A further seven iF Design Awards were awarded to Phoenix Design for Products designed for Hansgrohe. We are very happy about this success, together with the AXOR Hansgrohe team.