The brainchild of Sabine Voggenreiter, DQE focuses on turning the neighborhood into a dynamic hub for the creative industries. Among other things, it is currently working on a strategy to make the most of existing spaces, offer temporary use of the district’s facilities, and establish new living and working environments for creatives.

Photo: Ioanna Gogolin
Photo: Ioanna Gogolin

Ehrenfeld’s location, profile, and small-scale, post-industrial, and intercultural infrastructure make it the perfect proving ground for innovative, experimental, and creative urban development based on SMEs (small and medium enterprises), design, innovative technologies, alternative marketing, communication, and tourism. The project’s goals and modules include attracting established international designers for partnerships and subsidiaries, start-up consulting, collaborations with universities, a design trade fair to coincide with the district’s Passagen festival in January, and cooperations with international design centers.

Photo: Ioanna Gogolin
Photo: Ioanna Gogolin

The plan is to turn Ehrenfeld into an exemplary, dynamic hub for young, international, and experimental design that has its own distinct identity based on principles like ecology, gender, integration, and intercultural orientation. Designers from various nations who embrace these objectives are welcome – and promoted – while the scheme also aims to attract graduates of local, regional, and national design universities with advice, assistance, and promotional measures. DQE offers post-graduate training, start-up consulting, and workshops on relevant new fields of design, launches joint ventures, and allows interested parties to share new technologies.

Photo: Ioanna Gogolin
Photo: Ioanna Gogolin

Based on this strong concept, DQE won the 2008 Create.NRW competition by the North Rhine-Westphalia Department of Trade and Industry on behalf of the European Union. Now, over the course of three years, the team will develop strategic concepts for a spatial and conceptual restructuring of Ehrenfeld to transform the former working-class neighborhood into a magnet for young international design.

Photo: Ioanna Gogolin
Photo: Ioanna Gogolin

Sabine Voggenreiter, MA, studied literature, philosophy, and art history in Marburg. She designs and curates exhibitions, awards grants, organizes competitions, workshops, and symposia in the fields of design, architecture, and art, and regularly publishes on all three topics. In 2012, she was awarded the Culture Prize Cologne as “Cultural Manager of the Year.”

Photo: Ioanna Gogolin
Photo: Ioanna Gogolin

The upcoming DQE event TABUROPA presents twenty directors, choreographers, actors, and dancers from Belgium, Poland, Portugal, and Germany who aim to reveal today’s significance of taboos across four performances and different stylistic means. The guided theater course explores the many facets of the power of taboos and taboo-breaking in different societies and contexts. Join their journey on 9-11 May at DQE.

Header image: Ioanna Gogolin