Malte Wagenfeld is Senior lecturer in Industrial Design at RMIT; he is a design practitioner, academic, artist, curator and researcher. As an industrial design practitioner, Malte has extensive experience in the design of furniture, appliances, objects and interiors with a specialisation in low volume manufacturing and prototyping. The designs resulting from this have been internationally distributed, exhibited and published.

Malte recently completed a PhD entitled ‘Aesthetics of Air’; a phenomenological investigation into sensual and perceptual atmospheric encounters (sound, light, air, breezes, smells, humidity and temperature) and how ‘re-contextualising’ these can lead to a new design typology of air for interior spaces. The projects, experiments and installations that resulted from this research have been widely exhibited and published. This research has seen a conceptual shift away from the material – object-based design – towards the immaterial, the design of experiences, atmospheres and environments; whereas someone might focus on the object that produces light or moves air, Malte is more interested in designing the qualities of light and air.

As a senior lecturer in design his focus encompasses the design of experiences, environments, sensory design and the role objects, systems and services [things that have been designed – material or immaterial], play in shaping – on a micro level – our daily experiences and – on a macro level – our relationship to the world, and in turn how we [as designers and society] come to shape such objects as a result of our understanding of the world; the intricate and intertwined correlation between design, culture, society, human endeavour and desire. Examples of student work include projects that explored re-shaping, enhancing or playing with peoples understanding or experience of the world through a design that generates a certain experience, atmosphere, encourages behaviour change or alters habits. Final outcomes range from installations and experimental objects or experiences to entirely ‘practical’ products, systems and services that are ‘market ready’.

Selected Publications:

  • ‘The Dynamics of Sensual Atmospheres.’ Book Chapter in Designing the Dynamic: High-Performance Sailing and Real-Time Feedback in Design. Ed Jane Bury, Melbourne Books, Melbourne 2013.
  • ‘The Porous-City; Atmospheric Conversations of the Urban | Interior’. Book chapter in Urban Interior: Informal explorations, interventions and occupations. Ed. R. Hinkel, Spurbuchverlag, Germany, 2011.
  • ‘Atmosphere and Attrition; designing for material attrition and social transformation’, Wagenfeld Malte, Barnaby Bennett, Bury Mark, ConnectED 2010. UNSW, Sydney 2010.
  • ‘The Aesthetics of Air: Experiments in Visualising the Invisible’. Book chapter in ‘Architectural Design: Interior Atmospheres’, Ed. H. Castle and J. Preston. London, John Wiley & Sons 2009.
  • ‘The Phenomenology of Air’, Architecture and Phenomenology: Second International Conference. Kyoto Japan 2009.
  • 3G+ Conceptual Mobile Communication’ (Book Chapter), in Invention Intervention, Ed Mick Douglas, RMIT Press 2004.

Selected Exhibitions:

  • ‘Atmospheric Structure’, in White Soup & Weighty Air, JAUS, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2013.
  • ‘Night Window’ in Cloudy Sensoria, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Bundoora, Victoria Australia, 2012.
  • ‘Aesthetics of Air’, solo exhibition, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, 2011.
  • ‘Making Scents of High Tea’. In High Tea, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Bundoora, Victoria Australia, 2010 -2011.
  •  ‘Urban Interior Occupation; Berlin, Brighton, Melbourne’. Melbourne, Guildford Lane Gallery 2009.
  • ‘Visualising Air Phase 1; body, air, place and space’, in Urban Interior Occupation, Craft Victoria Gallery Melbourne 2008.
  • ‘Visualising Air Phase 2; air, habitation and space’, in Urban Interior Occupation, Craft Victoria Gallery Melbourne 2008.
  • ‘Crafty Smells: Outside-in Smells’. In Urban Interior Occupation. Craft Victoria Gallery Melbourne 2008.
  • Crafty Smells: The smell of Craft and Crafting Practice. Urban Interior Occupation. Craft Victoria Gallery Melbourne 2008.
  • ‘Tyranny of Distance’, in Tokyo Designers Block Japan and Seoul Design Festival, Korea, 2004.
  • ‘Cubus’, in 40°, Designmai, Berlin, 2004.
  • ‘Skip’, in 100% Design London, 2004.