Projects by the students of the
Bachelor Major in Art, Major in Design,
and the Master in Eco-Social Design

Planting. Tending. Picking.

Study Programme

BA Major Design


BA Product Design Project



Summer semester

Tools for Gardeners

The word culture is derived from early farming, from agriculture and horticulture. It is based on those prehistoric activities that humans had to carry out to survive and to make the Earth their property. Agriculture is still very much practised in the same spirit, but today it is rational, mechanised and automated by using the latest digital technology.

The culture of gardening, on the other hand, is the result of a human passion to create spaces with plants that are both aesthetically real and illusionary. Therefore, every true gardener is also the creator of a little paradise and this creative spirit is known to be inexhaustible. Caring and versatility are the Gardeners’ work, and the variety of tools bears witness to this.

Historical garden tools represent design in the original sense of the word: “draft” to solve specific problems. They have played a major role in shaping garden culture and thus our environment, but were not, as today, created in design studios according to the specifications of market researchers, but were rather tailored to individual needs by local workshops and tinkerers. To quote garden historian C. A. Wimmer: “Innovation was easy and the diversity was enormous.”

This summer semester, we have been investigating the question of why some basic types of garden tools have hardly changed over time, while others have almost completely disappeared or have been replaced by ever newer versions. With the help of garden experts, collectors and practitioners, we have carefully studied the historical origins, their typological evolution and the socio-cultural context of their production, use and handling, and set ourselves the difficult task of designing some new tools for today’s gardeners.

Klaus Hackl, June 2020