Cologne Design Conference

Zur Vorbereitung der Cologne Design Conference (CDC) haben wir Studierende der Macromedia eine Ausstellung zu dem Thema Design.Wert.Zukunft erarbeitet und anhand eines interaktiven Parcours vor Ort vorgestellt.
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In preparation for the Cologne Design Conference (CDC), we students of Macromedia University developed an exhibition on the theme of Design.Value.Future and presented it on site using an interactive course.


Conceptual work

Design and conception of an exhibition



My goal was to talk about a topic that affects us all and is something that is relevant to all of us, no matter the age, ethnic background, gender, or religion: the search for happiness.

It seems even more relevant today in a “golden era” where everything seems available and only one click away but still we’re living in a society that has such a high number of people dealing with depression and anxiety.

I conducted a lot of research about what happiness really is. If it’s something ephemeral or something you can achieve and then “have” forever, if it can be gained by buying things or if the key is to live a minimal life and not own much at all. I asked people what happiness meant to them, and I found out that almost everyone has the ultimate goal to “be happy” in the end. But what does that actually mean?

I also searched for popular iconography regarding happiness/luck/faith and ran into something everybody knows: the fortune cookie. It is THE symbol of luck and people rely on it everywhere in the world. I found it fascinating that we are in fact taking advice from a little statement inside a cookie instead of trying to find answers to our questions about life ourselves. And that’s when my idea started to take shape.

After I had a basic idea about my topic I started to think about how I could transmit my idea to visitors of the exhibition in a short period of time.

The final idea

My goal was to draw attention to the fact that happiness is not something you can “get”, it’s not something someone else hands out to you and then you’re set. It is in fact something that comes from within, something that we have to work on constantly, and something that is not going to be there 24/7. 

My final idea was to combine this realization with the most iconic symbol for luck and happiness, the fortune cookie, and play with people’s expectations. 

So I ordered a LOT of fortune cookies without the little statement inside of them and built a box with a hole in the front. I colored it yellow since yellow is the color people associate happiness with the most and designed cards for the visitors to write on.

The Process

Step 1

People read “Greif nach deinem Glück” (= Reach for your happiness) and reach inside the box. They pull out a fortune cookie, with the expectation to find something inside.

Step 2

They break it open and realize that it’s empty! They might have the feeling that they are unlucky or they might be confused. I use that to my advantage.

Step 3

Now I explain to them my concept that happiness comes from within and ask them to write down something that makes them happy and pin it behind me on the wall.


In the end, I have to say that I really liked working on this topic. The feedback of the visitors was super positive and some of them said that they were really going to think about that in the future, which was my ultimate goal and made me so happy. I do have to say that since the topic is so big and philosophical and there is so much to read and get to know, I struggled a bit at the beginning to get my concept straight and understandable for other people. I had so many thoughts about it in my head and sometimes during class I had difficulties articulating them. Every day I would find something new that I wanted to incorporate into the exhibition but I had to learn to minimize and really focus on what was important and what would serve me, in the end, to get the message across.