Silvia Knüppel, born in Hamburg, studied product design at University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe (Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe) and at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Her many visits abroad, including San Francisco, Paris and Dakar where she worked for fashion and costume designer Oumou Sy, provided a source of vital experience and impetus for her present work. She has won and was nominated for numerous design awards and grants. Silvia Knüppel founded her own studio in 2008. She regularly lectures at a number of universities and colleges such as University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover or University of Fine Arts Hamburg (HFBK), Kunsthochschule Kassel. Since May 2021 she is a professor for product and perspective in the department of product design at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Silvia Knüppel’s work often reveals a tendency towards defamiliarisation; she questions the classic functions ascribed to objects and reinterprets them in unusual ways. Form and material frequently blend into new, meaningful entities presenting the observer with wholly unexpected possibilities for their use and their contemplation.


“Die Produktgestalterin Silvia Knüppel hinterfragt in ihren Arbeiten auf pointierte Weise unseren Alltag und unsere alltäglichen Handlungen. Indem sie in ihre Objekte bewusst dysfunktionale Aspekte integriert, regt sie dazu an, bestehende Ordnungen und deren Hierarchien zu hinterfragen. Besonders die „richtige“ Ordnung der Dinge, wie sie sich in den klassischen Aufbewahrungsmöbeln wie Schrank oder Kommode zeigt, konterkariert sie durch alternative Ordnungssysteme. Darin äußert sich nicht nur eine versteckte Konsumkritik, sondern Gebrauchsgegenstände, die wir oft nicht weiter hinterfragen, werden als Zitat und klassische Form erfahrbar. Zentral ist für ihr eigenes Selbstverständnis, dass sie sich trotz ihrer zwar oft surreal anmutenden Gegenständen, klar im Design, und nicht etwa in der Kunst, verortet. So hat Dysfunktionalität in der Kunst, die ja per definitionem funktionslos ist, kaum die Wirkung, wie sie in Knüppels Möbeln anschaulich wird. Sie vertritt damit ein hochgradig ästhetisiertes Design, das über die zweite Ebene der Verfremdung und des Absurden das Funktionale und damit auch bestimmte gesellschaftliche Konventionen in Frage stellt.”
Dr. Daniela Stöppel

Awards / Grants

2016  DI- Award China / nomination
2012  Justus Brinckmann Förderpreis (MKG Hamburg) / nomination
2011  Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany (newcomer) / nomination
2010  Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany (newcomer) / nomination
2009  Scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service / DAAD
2009  Young Designers meet the Industry, German Design Council / nomination
2008  Lucky Strike Junior Designer Award / special mention
2008  Skuuma Design Award / nomination
2008  D3 contest, IMM Cologne / nomination
2006  Commerzbank Cologne Design Award / winner
2005  Volvo Sport Design Award / winner
2004  Nike Sport Design Award / nomination
2003  Scholarship of the german academic foundation, Stipendium der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
2003  Commerzbank Cologne Design Award / special mention


Urbane Designanthropologie – Hamburger Journal für Kulturanthropologie der Universität Hamburg

Edited by Sebastian Topp, Institut für Volkskunde/Kulturanthropologie der Universität Hamburg
Heft 9, 2019

With contributions by Sebastian Topp, Mark Vacher, Jesko Fezer, Eric Pfromm, Moritz Ahlert, Karl Stocker, Silvia Knüppel

The introduction provides an overview over various relations between design and anthropology. The possible value added by their combination with each other is currently the object of much discussion for the urban context. This is what this edition of the journal concerns itself with. The contributions are presented briefly and are interrelated to the overall topic.

Preview image Urbane Designanthropologie – Hamburger Journal für Kulturanthropologie der Universität Hamburg
Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded!

By ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)
Text: Volker Albus, Adélia Borges, Axel Kufus, Tapiwa Matsinde, Divia Patel, Bahia Shehab, Eggarat Wongcharit, Zhang Jie

The processes of global industrialization and mounting consumerism produce so much refuse on a daily basis that upcycling has become a hot topic of vital importance. Designers take a different view of the things that some people discard as useless: bulky waste, rubbish, cheap materials—pure gold! The book Pure Gold: Upcycled! Upgraded! explores the subject of rubbish and presents ideas for processing refuse to create valuable products. Working with seven curators from Europe, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East, East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia, ifa brought together a total of fifty-three designers for the exhibition and had them explore value creation as a form of appreciation in a range of different contexts. The first phase of the exhibition “Pure Gold: Upcycled! Upgraded!” begins at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (15 September 2017 – 21 January 2018).

Pure Gold features the projects Frankfurter Mélange #2 and #3.

Spector Books
ISBN: 9783959051729

Preview image Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded!
Creatures Made to Measure – Animals and Contemporary Design

By Marta Herford GmbH and Tanja Seiner

Animals have always been accompanied people—whether as food, labor, or social companions. While the number of house pets and services for four-legged animals are growing every year, “real” animals are increasingly disappearing from view. Today, animals can be optimized almost entirely based on the ideas of people: they are created in the laboratory, bred as organ donors, and their flesh grown in petri dishes. How are common perceptions of animals changing as a result? The designers and artists in the publication go on a search for the “right degree” in designing such creatures. They therefore run through the possibilities of the human-animal relationship and simultaneously through design scenarios for a different future.

Artists: Martin Avila, BLESS, Melanie Bonajo, The Center for Genomic Gastronomy, Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell, Center for PostNatural History, Marcus Coates, Thalia de Jong, Aleksandra Domanović, Konstantin Grcic, Christine Herdin/Katharina Wahl, Max Kosoric/Sanne Pawelzyk, Silvia Knüppel, Dietrich Luft, Christien Meindertsma, Next Nature Network, Ana Rajcevic, Veronica Ranner, Peter Schäfer, Johanna Schmeer, Susana Soares, Sputniko, ThreeASFOUR, Thomas Thwaites, Marije Vogelzang, Pinar Yoldas

Creatures Made to Measure features the project Bird-Kite-Kit.

Kerber Verlag
ISBN 978-3-7356-0528-3


Preview image Creatures Made to Measure – Animals and Contemporary Design

By Sylvie Estrada
Index Book
ISBN: 978-84-15308-44-7

“Animals have long been a source of inspiration in the worlds of design and decorative arts. Whether a classic leopard print, or a stylised sculpture, animals provide a rich and vibrant focus for design projects. In the modern era, the contrast between the raw, natural animal world and contemporary design has provided particularly interesting juxtapositions. It may be our way of showing respect to these creatures, or even a way of exerting our control. Whatever the reason, animals have an important place in design, and this book seeks to explore that relationship.”

Bestiary features the project Home Zoo Covers.

Preview image Bestiary
Moderne Möbel: 150 Jahre Design

By Andrea Mehlhose and Martin Wellner

h.f.ullmann publishing
ISBN-13: 978-3833156281

The project ›Drückeberger‹ is featured at the year 2007.

Preview image Moderne Möbel: 150 Jahre Design
SaloneSatellite 20 years of new creativity

By Beppe Finessi

A book that narrates 20 years of history of the SaloneSatellite, the annual event inside the Salone del Mobile in Milan, that since 1998 has permanently changed the world of design, renewing it with the energy of the many young talents whose careers have been launched in the process. The volume, by Beppe Finessi with book design by Leonardo Sonnoli, is organized as a credible dictionary of contemporary creativity, with 500 designers and 1500 images that chronicle the evolution of taste in this early phase of the Third Millennium.

«Among the international designers at the height of their success today, many began their careers about twenty years ago. And many made their debut at the SaloneSatellite. Over the years, from Matali Crasset to Satyendra Pakhalé, llkka Suppanen to Nendo, Matteo Bazzicalupo and Raffaella Mangiarotti of Deepdesign, all of them have been selected and discovered by the great design godmother, Marva Griffin. The idea was as simple as it was revolutionary: to take advantage of the audience of journalists, dealers, curators and entrepreneurs that flock to the Salone del Mobile, to give young designers of outstanding talent a showcase that could make a career happen – and to give the world the opportunity to enjoy their passion and imagination. After twenty years the Satellite is still on its voyage of discovery, finding new planets and new moons every year. AII intensely habitable!»

Paola Antonelli - Senior Curator, Architecture & Design Director, Research & Development The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The projects ›Pl(a)ywood table‹ and ›NoTrashBags‹ are featured in this book.

Corraini Edizioni
ISBN: 978-88-7570-642-5

Preview image SaloneSatellite 20 years of new creativity
The Independent Design Guide by Laura Houseley

The project ›Drückeberger‹ is featured in ›The Independent Design Guide‹ by Laura Houseley

Thames & Hudson
ISBN-13: 978-0500514573

Preview image The Independent Design Guide by Laura Houseley
Almost Secret

By Beppe Finessi

“To mark the exhibition ›Almost Secret‹, Inventario and the Museo Poldi Pezzoli present a new reflection on an issue that, over time, has raised the interest of the creative worlds of art, design and architecture: the drawer. The book published to accompany the exhibition is therefore a collection of projects on the theme of drawers and chests of drawers, important elements in the history of furniture, functional containers, capable of collecting, containing, sorting and hiding, but also able to rekindle memories and nourish thinking.
Among the pages of Almost Secret, there are works of art and design objects around the theme of the drawer, the subject of ongoing experimentation on the part of grand masters as well as new protagonists of design and visual arts. Essays by Beppe Finessi, Annalisa Zanni, Stefano Salis and Francesco M. Cataluccio tackle the research object, which are illustrated in the book with over 140 images of significant works, from Shiro Kuramata to Ettore Sottsass, from Alessandro Mendini to Raw Edges, and from Los Carpinteros to Salvador Dalí.”

The ›Winterpelz‹ chest of drawers is featured in ›Almost Secret‹.

ISBN: 978-88-7570-584-8

Preview image Almost Secret
Ultrabody. Works Between Art and Design

By Beppe Finessi

“Ultrabody offers a new and intriguing take on the body through a cross-disciplinary series of products traversing art, architecture, design and fashion. Investigating the relationship between body and space and the infinite ways of relating among people and the things and environment that surround them, the book explores 208 different types of body-related objects, from the most obvious to the more enigmatic and experimental. Published to coincide with an exhibition at Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Ultrabody includes works pitched elusively between art and design, such as a ‘Pre-Handshake Handshake Device’ and a ‘hospitable raincoat’ (for one, plus a guest), from artists and designers as varied as Vito Acconci, Atelier Van Lieshout, Marc Behrens, Camille Cortet, Salvador Dali, Jackson Hong, Carlo Mollino, Bruno Munari, Ernesto Neto, Meret Oppenheim, Marc Sadler, Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, Stelarc and many others.”

Edizioni Corraini
ISBN-13: 978-8875703523

Preview image Ultrabody. Works Between Art and Design

By Hansjer Maier-Aichen

“The publication presents a selection of outstanding design projects of the past eleven years, allowing the reader and observer to trace the development lines of young designers in a set timeframe. Not only completed projects are shown, work processes are also revealed and careers highlighted.
10+1 puts the focus on unusual products and initiatives which chafe against the background of frequently repeated productions, which challenge, add to, counteract, unmask and reject existing models of the markets. Differentiated reflections, approaches and differences in quality are revealed in the process. The spectrum ranges from trained classical industrial design through to the quality of the nonconventionalist designer.”

AV Edition
ISBN: 978-3-89986-178-5

Preview image 10+1
New Talents. Stand der Dinge. State of the Art

By Hansjerg- Maier-Aichen

Talents from Europe, USA and Asia show new values in design culture: radical, provoking, trendsetting
Contributions by Volker Albus and Max Borka

“Against the background of the growing mediocrity of worldwide industrial production young designers with impressive potential are coming of age who stand outside the commercial trend of endless product variations and adaptations. They are fathoming new limits of the feasible and developing border-crossing ideas whose focal points are less in their formal quality but rather in the fundamental question about added cultural value, innovation, otherness and authenticity.
The book presents these seekers of design with many pictures and explanatory articles: their cooperation with scientists, their anthropological and ecological reflections, their concern with art and with their own radical positions.”

AV Edition
ISBN-13: 978-3899861105

Preview image New Talents. Stand der Dinge. State of the Art
Öffentliche Gestaltungsberatung / HFBK Hamburg

Jesko Fezer & Studio Experimentelles Design (Eds.)
Öffentliche Gestaltungsberatung — Public Design Support 2011 – 2016

“Public Design Support is a working hypothesis for design. It’s based on the assumptions that designers can make a significant contribution to questions of everyday life, that design education should include engagement with real problems, and that design is best done in cooperation with those directly affected. Public Design Support offers free practical help for autonomous action. It encourages the development of alternative concepts of the urban by design processes. It is an engaged and political form of design, since it turns other people, problems, and spaces into actors and objects in the design process. This publication – which includes key projects, scholarly essays, and significant historical texts – chronicles the aspirations, methods, projects, and problems of the first five years of Public Design Support.”

With contributions by Julia Albani, Sherry R. Arnstein, Baltic Raw, Max Borka, Friedrich von Borries, Lucius Burckhardt, Amelie Deuflhard, Boğachan Dundaralp, Jesko Fezer, Martina Fineder, Jens-Uwe Fischer, Tina Fritsche, Thomas Geisler, Sophie Goltz, Naomi Henning, Ulrike Jordan, Steffen Jörg, Janne Kempe, Silvia Knüppel, Van Bo Le-Mentzel, Werner Möller, Victor Papanek, Jörg Petruschat, Planbude, Katja Reichard, Tim Rieniets, Tina Röthig, Martin Schmitz, Dirk Schneider, Jan Steyaert, Sabine Stövesand, Pelin Tan, Sebastian Topp, Tim Voss

Designed by Nils Reinke-Dieker, Larissa Starke, Friederike Wolf
Sternberg Press
ISBN 978-3-95679-183-3

Preview image Öffentliche Gestaltungsberatung / HFBK Hamburg
Time Space Existence / Design Venice 2016

Global Art Affairs Foundation i.c.w. European Cultural Centre (ed.): TIME SPACE EXISTENCE. La Biennale di Venezia 2016. Palazzo Mora Palazzo Bembo Palazzo Rossini, Venezia 2016

Participating designers are a.o.: Abdulla Al Awadi
Samovar Carpets (KWT); Alessandro Mendini and Kang Keum-seong, Chung Mi-sun, Chung Yong-hyun and OCDC (ITA - KOR); Arend Groosman (NLD); Ariel Zuckerman (ISR); Atocha Design (USA); Brigi Konda (HUN); Chapel Petrassi (ITA); Creative Chef (NLD); Ditte Trudslev Jensen (DNK); Eckhard Beger (CHE); EDGE Collections (USA); Frédéric Hernandez (FRA); Gunjan Gupta (IND); Karen Michelle Evans (GBR); Karim Rashid (USA); Kati Meyer-Brühl (DEU); Kino Guérin (CAN); Maria Volokhova (DEU); Nynke Koster (NLD); Pascale De Backer (BEL); Paul Kelley (GBR); Robert A. Wettstein (CHE); Sang Yoon Kim - Listen Communication (KOR); Satyendra Pakhalé (NLD); SoFarSoNear, Sans Souci, Katherine Richards Design (ITA - CZE - GBR); Studio Silvia Knüppel (DEU); TuominenPatel (FIN); Ueberholz GmbH (DEU).

GAA Foundation
Maria Nekrassova

Preview image Time Space Existence / Design Venice 2016
Nullpunkt – Nieuwe German Gestaltung / Museum Marta Herford

Nullpunkt - Nieuwe German Gestaltung by Museum Marta Herford, Max Borka. Boris Groys, Michael Kröger

„Die drei großen deutschen Design-Bewegungen Werkbund, Bauhaus und Ulmer Schule prägten zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts internationale Standards, wobei sie jeweils von einem sozialpolitischen Nullpunkt ausgegangen sind. Spätestens in den 80er Jahren verlagerte sich Schwerpunkt des Designs nach Italien, und bis heute blickt die Welt in Fragen des europäischen Designs vor allem nach Italien, Holland, Frankreich oder Skandinavien. So steht hier nicht das industriell gefertigte, funktionale Objekt im Mittelpunkt, sondern eine Auswahl an Exponaten, die von einfachen, limitierten Produkten bis hin zu radikalen, mutigen Projekten reichen, die für eine Vision stehen ... ohne dabei eine Definition vorzugeben, vielmehr danach zu fragen, was deutsches Design sein könnte...“

ISBN-13: 978-3866782488

Preview image Nullpunkt – Nieuwe German Gestaltung / Museum Marta Herford
Karlsruher Ikonotope

1992-2002. Zehn Jahre Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe
By Siegfried Gohr

„Die Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe feierte im Jahr 2002 ihr zehnjähriges Jubiläum – eine Gelegenheit, durch eine groß angelegte Werkausstellung die Geschichte der Institution zu reflektieren. Der Katalog zeigt Installationsansichten der Ausstellung sowie einzelne Arbeiten aus den verschiedenen Studienbereichen.“

König Verlag
ISBN-13: 978-3883757476

Preview image Karlsruher Ikonotope
Vertrautes Terrain. Contemporary Art in / about Germany

Vertrautes Terrain. Contemporary Art in / about Germany
By Gregor Jansen, Thomas Thiel

„‚Deutsche Kunst‘ oder ‚Kunst aus Deutschland‘ ist ein Etikett mit Ausstellungstradition, das Fiktion ist. Denn mit der Realität künstlerischer Praxis hat nationale Festschreibung meist wenig zu tun. Vertrautes Terrain war als aktuelle Momentaufnahme mit rund fünfzig deutschen und internationalen Künstlerinnen und Künstlern konzipiert, die geprägt ist von gemeinsamen, sich durchaus wandelnden Vorstellungen davon, was der Begriff ‚Deutschland‘ bedeutet. Dieser Fragestellungen wurde nicht nur im Bereich der bildenden Kunst nachgegangen, sondern es wurden auch mögliche Parallelentwicklungen in anderen kulturellen Feldern wie Literatur, Musik, Theater, Tanz, Design, Mode oder Film untersucht und in Vorträgen, Diskussionen, Aktionen, Performances, Führungen und Aufführungen erörtert.“

Kehrer Verlag
ISBN-13: 978-3868280647

Preview image Vertrautes Terrain. Contemporary Art in / about Germany
Ästhetische Werkstätten im Textil- und Kunstunterricht: Textile Techniken

The book is showing the project Homesick.


Schöningh Verlag im Westermann Schulbuch
ISBN-13: 978-3140180344

Preview image Ästhetische Werkstätten im Textil- und Kunstunterricht: Textile Techniken
Patterns in Design, Art and Architecture

By Annette Tietenberg, Petra Schmidt and Ralf Wollheim

Is less really more? In reaction to the reign of Minimalism, designers, artists, and architects are rediscovering the power of patterns and embracing décors once rejected as superfluous, by covering lamps, chairs, rooms or entire façades with stripes, polka dots and ornamental designs.
This definitive overview is the book that launched the new trend in publications about patterns. Using examples of contemporary work by internationally renowned designers such as Fabio Novembre, Claesson Koivisto Rune and Karim Rashid, by architects such as Herzog & de Meuron, Steven Holl and Sauerbruch Hutton, and artists such as Bridget Riley and Gerhard Richter, it lays out a kaleidoscope of colours and forms before the reader. Multidisciplinary approaches and applications, and new interpretations of traditional motifs are illustrated, as well as the impact and influence of technical innovations such as laser engraving and digital milling on the creation and realization of patterns today.

The project ›Homesick‹ is featured in this book.

Birkhäuser Verlag
ISBN-13: 978-3764371845


Preview image Patterns in Design, Art and Architecture
Ball im Kopf

By Nils Jockel and Jens Oestreicher, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

‘Ball im Kopf – Kult ums Kicken’, or ‘Ball in our Head – The Cult of Football’ at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg expresses the significant role the sport has had on the work of creative people. The exhibition showcases an international selection of over 200 projects in the fields of graphic art, photography, film, animation, installation and objects and how the current obsession with football has permeated into entertainment, politics, fashion and product design.

The project ›Homesick - soccer net‹ is featured in this book.

Gestalten Verlag
ISBN: 978-3-89955-089-4

Preview image Ball im Kopf

Cooperations / Clients

Akademie für Mode und Design Hamburg (AMD)
Atelier Oumou Sy Dakar
Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem
Designxport Hamburg
Design Days Dubai
Design Museum Holon
European Cultural Foundation
Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe
Febrik Textiles
Goethe Institut Tel Aviv
Goethe Institut Abu Dhabi Golf Region
Global Art Affairs (GAA)
Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK)
Hochschule Hannover
Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa)
Kvadrat Textiles
Kulturreferat Landeshauptstadt München
Kunsthochschule Kassel
MARKK Museum am Rothenbaum. Künste und Kulturen der Welt
Mint Gallery
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Öffentliche Gestaltungsberatung St. Pauli (ÖGB)
Priveekollektie Gallery for Contemporary Art and Design
Stadtmarketing Karlsruhe
Stilwerk GmbH
Stilwerk Limited Edition Design Gallery