Annika Frye

Abschluss: 2010


Lebt in Offenbach am Main



Prof. Oliver Vogt

Prof. Dr. Uta Brandes


Titel der Abschlussarbeit



(Improvisation im Designprozess)


Improvisation Machine, 2012


The improvisation machine is an experimental production set up: A series of rotational moulded pieces was produced in it. I transferred the industrial process of rotational molding into my atelier. Because I am not using a fixed mold that produces the same object every time, I can produce variation instead of repetition.

The moulds were made from simple geometric patterns, the material is a special plaster that hardens within short time. It resembles ceramics. I also added wooden parts and other materials. The hollow objects were cut in order to create a vase/dish/container. The Machine, for me, is more than just a tool: I designed the machine itself by using basic characteristics of a piece of furniture such as brass fittings, multiplex and steel tubes.

The first series of pieces compromises different items such as vases, containers and bowls. Each object is unique. Still, all objects are related to each other as all forms are based on an octagonal grid.


The objects were produced in the gallery Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin in June during the DMY design festival. The exhibition Res publica / Res privata was curated by Susanne Prinz and Oliver Vogt. In October, the machine and the objects created in it will be shown at Adhocracy at Istanbul Design Biennial.


The first model of the machine was improvised with Fischertechnik parts. In the beginning, I wanted to make a machine that can improvise, but I figured out that the improvisation cannot be done by a machine. It actually happens when the machine is being made (in the workshop) or when I produce objects with the machine: I am the one who improvises!

The project is part of my PhD project at HfG Offenbach , the PhD is being supervised by Prof. Eckart (practical part), by Prof. Dr.Bernhard E. Bürdek and Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch (theory).




rotomolded light, 2013


This pendant light is made in a DIY-rotational molding machine. It was originally a test shape that I designed to experiment with my DIY- rotational molding machine. The lampshade is made from a polymer plaster. A mold is filled with the plaster and then rotated; due to the rotation the plaster sticks to all parts of the mold and a wall thickness emerges. The seam of the molding process is still visible in the product, so are the irregularities of casting process.



After some months of experimentation with different shapes and additives such as wood or textiles, I decided to use one test shape to improve the process. I tested all kinds of mixtures of polymer plaster with my test shape and I also did some color experiments. I started to write down everything I did, like laboratory workers do.



The outcome of my color and material experimentation is a simple lampshade: The molding process compromises three steps with different layers and different colors. The drops inside the lampshade refer to the movement of the machine. The lampshade comes in different colors: green, white and red. It has a smooth surface on the outside, it is sanded and covered with a protective layer of vaseline.



Because of the irregular material thickness, the lamp needs a special fixture that enables the user to adjust the lampshade. The fixture is made from sandblasted plexiglass. The special fixture also determines the form of the lampshade: a bigger hole is necessary at the top of the shade in order to adjust the lampshade, the light passes through. The fixture works as a diffusor.



The lights were already shown in some exhibitions: Milan Design Week (MOST by Tom Dixon), Nomadic furniture 3.0. New Liberated Living? at MAK Vienna, FRONT SALON at Beurs van Berlage Amsterdam by DUTCH DESIGN YEAR. The design is related to my PhD project about improvisation in the design process, at HfG Offenbach , the PhD is being supervised by Prof. Eckart (practical part), by Prof. Dr.Bernhard E. Bürdek and Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch (theory).

The CLAUDE light is edited by french furniture company HARTÔ.


Adhocsita, 2010


Theoretische Diplomarbeit


Die Arbeit Adhocsita widmet sich der Improvisation im Design. Wie verwenden Designer die Improvisation in ihren Arbeitsprozessen? Was ist Perfektion/Imperfektion? Worin besteht die Ästhetik der Improvisation? Geschieht die Improvisation rein zufällig?


Innerhalb einer Feldforschung wurden qualitative Interviews mit neun Autorendesignern geführt. Die Erkenntnisse aus den Interviews, und aus der Literaturrecherche sind in eine wissenschaftliche Auseinandersetzung eingeflossen. Die Diplomarbeit wurde betreut von Prof. Oliver Vogt, Prof. Dr. Uta Brandes, und Dipl. Des. Sandra Groll.


MINDMAP FOR PHD THESIS, 2013 (the thesis is work in progress)

Size: 2,50 m x 1m


This map is a model for my PhD thesis. I drew this map because I needed to organize all the examples and theories I collected for my thesis during the last two years. While a text only has a linear structure, the graphic shows everything at the same time, so new connections and constellations appear. Thus, the different subjects and theories are linked with each other. Most of the examples are designs from people I know, or they come from projects I did myself.


It was exhibited in the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (NAI), in an ongoing exhibition called THE MACHINE, curated by Jan Boelen and Matylda Kryzkowski.


The PHD Thesis is related to the graduation thesis on Improvisation and ad hoc in the design process I wrote in Kassel.

The PhD at HfG Offenbach is being supervised by Prof. Dr. Bernhard E. Bürdek and Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch (theory), and by Prof. Eckart (practical part).