© Nola Bunke
Nika Rams studied product and concept design at the Maastricht Academy of the Fine Arts in the Netherlands, followed by a Master in design projects at the Hochschule Niederrhein – University of Applied Sciences in Krefeld, Germany.
Since 2009, Nika has had her own design studio where she works on different interdisciplinary projects in the fields of product, concept and project design. She has been concentrating on the topic of design’s responsibility for the environment since her days as a student and has since strived to foster a more sustainable world and more social togetherness using creative and organisational impetuses.
Since 2011 Nika has also been teaching at the ecosign Academy for Design in Cologne and manages the labor gruen. along with Dunja Karabaic, where they develop and realise special projects on environmental and sustainability communication and education.
Their last project was “Das gute Leben im Veedel”, a pilot project for the whole of Germany, successfully proving that sustainable city development can be achieved using social togetherness to communicate the importance of sustainability. The project was promoted by Europe’s most renowned environmental foundation, the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt). It was also awarded the distinction as a United Nations Education for Sustainable Development project and was nominated for the Bundespreis Ecodesign.
© Teresa Siebein
As a designer, you have wonderful opportunities to integrate messages and triggers into your work that can help to influence society in a positive way. Of course my products and projects are meant to be fun, but at the same time they also shed light on certain issues, tell a story, make people think or inspire to change their behaviour.
To do this complexity justice, the design process can get quite complex, sometimes. So designing a project means not only providing formal design features, but also calling for approaches from fields like sociology, psychology or marketing and then break down those complex topics through the intuitive experience of design.
In this way it is possible to connect behavioural and learning theory approaches with practical goals. Using scientific theories one can e.g. discover which criteria have to be met so that people start to identify themselves with a certain issue, in order to integrate this into the development of the respective project.
© Bozica Babic
So if you take a closer look, designers have powerful tools they can use to create trends or demands. For example they can trigger desires, needs and consumer worlds or generate new contexts. The design has a great influence on what and how we consume. And it is this potential that we should use in any way possible, in order to create a more sustainable and respectful future. It`s about being aware of what the societal consequences of our communication and design performance are.
In order to develop objects and projects that have the highest possible utility, without unnecessarily harming the environment, it is more important than ever to rely on reflection, research and interdisciplinary science.
© Bozica Babic
When I look back, I realize that the subject of design has always fascinated me. Maybe it was my polish rooted character of improvising and questioning, or my tend to see things more abstract, but I knew quite early that I wanted to become a kind of inventor.
Later, after my intensive study of the modern world, our environment and human needs, I discovered some things that made me question our current way of life and my role within it.
The fact that the social and ecological disbalance of our world increases rapidly is certainly nothing new anymore. But unfortunately most people still do not realize their relation as consumers to that situation or even have no idea of their power to change it.
As a Designer I have a great opportunity to implement such links and impulses in my work and create new values for a sustainable future by building things that inspire to act or to think in a different way.
Driven by curiosity and sensitivity for our culture, nature and science I am trying to balance human lifestyles with the planet’s limits in a blithely and inspiring way.
Always seeking for new challenges in the broad fields of creativity and actuality I also think that it is important to connect all the knowledge of our society and work far beyond borders and disciplines to understand and to influence bigger context. So I try to give my work a shape through design, but there is mostly more than that...