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Austrian design is highly visible every year on the streets and in the shopping centres of over 120 countries: Christmas lighting designed in Austria. This is just one of the areas in which Austrian designers excel on the international stage. The country has a unique position on the design map, as it is located in the heart of Europe, between the poetry of Italian design, the engineering skills and refinement of German design and the new creative trends in Eastern Europe. Design from Austria is a globally sought-after mixture with a special character.

The design sector consists of several areas. The service product design, also referred to as industrial design, deals with the draft of serial and/or industrial products. Graphic design is the visual design of written and pictorial messages contained in graphical elements and makes them easier to understand and increases attention. With social design, the focus is on people. Other fields of design are interior and fashion design.


Three factors are typical for Austrian design:

  • a high degree of technical obsession. Austrian design contains a lot of technical know-how.
  • love of the material. There is a great openness when dealing with materials, whether they are high-tech, recyclable or newly developed (natural) materials.
  • a reduced language of form, combined with humour and a twinkle of the eye.

Mobility and more

Mobility design from Austria is internationally present, from fire trucks, trains and WC motorbikes, to electric folding bikes. The world of crystals is also determined by Austrian design for a machine was developed in Austria in 1892 that could grind crystal on an industrial basis. Today, the design of the crystal figures, the optical precision devices and the crystal jewellery from Austria is appreciated in more than 170 countries. A back orthosis, designed in Austria, was presented with the German Design Award and the iF Design Award – just a few examples of internationally recognised design from Austria.

Pioneers out of tradition

There are numerous pioneers in Austrian design history. They include Adolf Loos as a reformer advocating Modernism, Carl Auböck as a style pioneer of the post-war period and Hans Hollein as a trailblazer for the post-modern. Today, Austrian designers continue to establish Austria internationally as a design country by setting new trends away from the mainstream and having their finger on the pulse with innovations.

Knowledge, science and research

More than 60% of the designers in Austria have completed academic training. The Institute of Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna is one of the most important training institutions in Europe and strengthens the national and international interlinking of design expertise in Vienna. The degree course is characterised by knowledge transfer in small groups and intensive contact between lecturers and students, experimental and free choice of projects, as well as workshops and presentations by national and international experts.

The transfer of know-how between designers, technology companies, university research laboratories, industry and think-tanks is constantly being optimised. Designers play a central role in the further development of concepts from the research laboratories and factories into marketable products. The work of design firms is increasingly the key factor with which their clients ensure better results in competition. Collaboration with designers is therefore increasingly seen by science, business and industry as a valuable instrument.

Design and responsibility

Eco-design, also referred to as ecological design or sustainable design, is a separate design discipline that is of above-average importance in Austria. It is based on the principles of sustainability. Its goal is to achieve the maximum possible benefit for all stakeholders along the value-added chain with minimum burden on the environment and under socially fair conditions through intelligent use of the resources.

There are also excellent examples in Austria of the growing area of Green Design such as a mobile, foldable photovoltaics system that aligns itself to the sun and thus can generate maximum power anywhere. It also looks good in the process – another example of Austrian design that attracts attention and serves as a sales argument.