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Klaus Bähr


Thesis subject
Transportation Design – ‘Designing Mobility’.
The project sets out to examine an as yet unresearched area of transportation design as a special form of advanced design. The interdisciplinary collaboration of engineers, social scientists and designers (see Schöller-Schwedes and Rammler 2008, 243) is creating a unified platform across those disciplines, facilitating research into the mutual socio-political and cultural influences of numerous innovative mobility systems, and at the same time calling for reinterpretation and revaluation. The thesis focuses above all on the identification of the theoretical design aspects – e.g. semiotic levels – required for this undertaking.

Public and private mobility systems will be empirically examined and analyzed to determine their impact on design theory from both a functional and sociological angle. Conversely the influence of existing semiotic aspects of design ostensibly relevant to that field will, in a further step, be methodically and systematically identified. The core problematic will be presented from a design perspective; thematic details are yet to be determined. In this context, qualitative research into the new semiotic systems required by the designer for the implementation of future concepts of mobility and transportation services appears both appropriate and feasible, as does their reinterpretation in anticipation of new developments in transportation design.

Current position
Klaus Bähr is currently investigating collective intelligence and ant colony optimization in traffic planning and informatics with a view to applying the results to supervised and self-organized traffic systems. What benefits might be gained by optimizing and hybridizing these systems? What are the experiential premises of current traffic planning and informatics? What conclusions can be drawn for design and design strategy from the application of autonomous mobile systems, and what consequences might this have for the theory and methodology of design?

After training and working as a technical draftsman, and taking a degree in industrial design, Klaus Bähr worked (among other organizations) for DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung) in air traffic control. For several years he was a product designer with Philips Design in Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Philips Lighting in Lyon/Miribell (France). This was followed by projects with Linde AG, and teaching at Darmstadt and Schwäbisch Gmünd Universities of Applied Science on “Fundamentals of 3D Design”. From 2004-2008 Klaus Bähr was head of IP innovation generation at UTC Carrier (a United Technologies Corporation company). Currently he is pursuing doctoral research in strategic design at UW (Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf) and at the Institute of Technological Design Innovation of Offenbach University of Art and Design (Prof. Dieter Mankau).