Van Bo Le-Mentzel - D-Talk HPI d-school


D-Talks – conversations in a studio atmosphere

A conversation about design thinking and sustainability with the architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel on April 29, 2024, 4:30 p.m., D-Space in the HPI main building in Potsdam.

Registration for the event


Design thinking and sustainability

Design thinking is constantly evolving. Where the individual user used to be the focus of the Design Thinking method, today the view is broadening. It has long been clear: If we do not consider the limits of our natural resources when developing innovations, our planet will soon sink back, exhausted and on all fours. Signs of this are already more than clear today.

Design thinking today is about including users' needs as important impulses for understanding and empathy. Still, the problem for which a solution is sought as part of the design thinking process must be essentially related to the planet's boundaries and define possible visions of the future worth living – from user-centered design, through life-centered design, to strategically effective visions of the future.


An approach to the topic of sustainability

But how do you approach this complex topic of sustainability in innovation processes? Our new Design Thinking Studios program format is intended to help shed light on complex problem areas and show how they can be integrated into finding solutions. A building block towards this goal: the D-Talks. By this we mean conversations in a studio atmosphere with people who have made outstanding contributions in the field of sustainability, for example - inspiring, committed and, above all, visionary. The studio conversation with the architect and visionary Van Bo Le-Mentzel marks the start of the D-Talks. Our design thinking coach Jochen Nünning leads the conversation.


The start of the D-Talks

For Van Bo Le-Mentzel it started with the Harz IV furniture project. He studied architecture at the Berlin University of Technology. By chance, he took a weekend “carpentry” course at the Berlin Adult Education Center, where he had the idea for his first product – the “24 Euro Chair” made from largely sustainable materials. Well-known Bauhaus design luminaries inspired him for the design of the resulting collection.


Van Bo Le-Mentzel is consistently continuing his view of sustainability: in 2017, he presented the “100 Euro Apartment” as part of the Bauhaus Campus Berlin. This has just 6.4 square meters. Le-Mentzel is not concerned with people living in small spaces. He is concerned with other questions: “Given the planetary boundaries, where will we lead if we continue to consume so much living space (45-46 sqm/person in Europe)?” And if the living space has to become smaller: “How can we build democratic coexistence and construct? “For Van Bo Le-Metzel, sustainability also explicitly means thinking about social interaction.


Van Bo Le-Mentzel was already a guest at the d-school in 2017 as part of the d.confestival. We are looking forward to continuing the exchange with him in the relaxed studio atmosphere of the D-Talks.