Design Campus 2023: School of phytocentric design

In traditional understanding and execution, design is a discipline focused on meeting human needs and wishes. The ongoing climate crisis, however, reminds us that caring solely for the desires of our species has had – and still has – unfortunate repercussions for the planet and the other beings who inhabit it with us. A change of direction is essential.

Applying a green and holistic filter to design – also taking into account the health and needs of the plant world beyond our own – can help us identify and rethink harmful practices such as monoculture production and patenting ancestral and nature knowledge. This effort makes more sense when we consider that design industries such as furniture manufacturing and fashion depend heavily on plant productivity to thrive, but are generally responsible for significant habitat loss for both plant communities and animals.

In a multidisciplinary and transcultural discourse and research environment, this year’s Design Campus summer school challenges the dualism of man and nature rooted in Western society and encourages collaboration, critical and utopian thinking.

In close dialogue with the research exhibition Plant fever: towards a phytocentric design and a collection entitled Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts)this year, the French-Italian duo Laura Drouet and Olivier Lacrouts (dots) are curators of the six-week international Summer School program as school principals. The program, titled “The School of Phytocentric Design”, invites participants to be inspired by the world of plants at Pillnitz Palace and Park in a series of nine-day workshops.

School principals will be on site in Pillnitz throughout the Summer School and will provide insight into their research and curatorial practice.


July 20-28, 2023: Making a difference
Fernando Laposse—The Legacy of the Avocado
Emma Bruschi-Harvest

August 3-11, 2023: Change of perspective
Passepartout duo– Greenhouse grooves
Simone Kenion– The Incarnate Garden

August 17-25, 2023: give back

FOUR (Zuzanna Bernhardt & Philip Kolmann) — Weaving a story about nettles
dots— Curatorial change

ABOUT school principals

dots is a nomadic curatorial practice founded by Laura Drouet (France) and Olivier Lacrouts (Italy/France). The duo’s research focuses on the diverse and questionable relationships that, through the project, human communities establish with each other, with other animals, plants and landscapes. Defined by a participatory and interdisciplinary approach, dot-s’ work includes writing, exhibition creation, hands-on workshops and design assignments.

ABOUT Project campus

Design Campus is a think tank and research and development platform of the Kunstgewerbemuseum as part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collection). Through its four pillars: Museum, School, Laboratory and Network, the Project Campus is a space to recalibrate and empower creative practitioners to take action in the face of the many changes, challenges and uncertainties of the 21st century.

The annually initiated Summer School matters both to the museum and its future projects, and to the wider world. Each year, as part of the six-week Summer School program, Design Campus offers a series of workshops led by world-renowned creative professionals.

Who can apply?

Curious, anxious, dreamer of better places, creative, fearless, sociable, collaborative, interested, involved, inquisitive, designer, architect, artist, scientist, curator, journalist, engineer, programmer, photographer, filmmaker, skilled students, recent graduates or young -professionals, people with open minds: welcome!


A great opportunity to think and dream big, with like-minded people, learn new skills, get involved in future projects in the museum, its surroundings and network, and perhaps change the world from the start.