Covestro steps up dialogue with designers

Creative design with plastics

Focal point of K 2016
Creative design with plastics

Covestro is looking to make the world a brighter place with its innovative and sustainable developments. To do so, it must first know the exact needs of consumers and other partners along the various value chains. It is then up to designers to breathe life into the initial ideas and add aesthetic and functional qualities so as to create marketable products. In many sectors, it is the designers who ultimately select the material.

Creative minds can be inspired to come up with completely new ideas if they are familiar with the properties of plastics. Covestro has therefore set itself the goal of imparting its product knowledge to designers while at the same time gaining a better understanding of their needs. “We would like to significantly step up our dialog with designers,” said Rebecca Heil, who is in charge of Covestro’s designer network and Idea.Lab. “In addition to existing contacts with industrial designers, we’re also increasingly approaching talented university students.”

First Covestro Makeathon

One particular project aimed at encouraging this dialog is the first Covestro Makeathon, which the company recently organized to coincide with the K 2016 plastics trade fair. The word is a combination of the words “make” and “marathon.” Both accurately describe the atmosphere at this mammoth creative event at Münster School of Architecture.

No fewer than 24 architecture and product/industrial/accessory/graphic design students spent five days working with Covestro plastics and discovering completely unexpected applications for the established products. Peter Zehetbauer, initiator and head of the project, summarizes,“This week with the students was a great success. For the future, we are looking forward to further activities of this kind.”

The most exciting and inspiring ideas can be admired at the Covestro stand at K 2016, with exhibits focusing on construction, health, sports and fashion.

Hands-on materials

Another way of discovering the fascinating properties of Covestro’s materials is to head for the new Sample Bar at the company’s stand. Visitors will be able to play around with the materials and go on a journey of discovery that involves looking, listening and touching. They will encounter a kaleidoscope of colors and color effects, surfaces with different structures, hard and soft materials, and plastics that feel warm or cold depending on their thermal conductivity.

“Please do join us to find out how your visions can become a reality,” says Heil, who is also responsible for the Sample Bar. In collaboration with an external agency, she is currently also developing a Sample app. Visitors and customers who install this on their cell phones will have access anytime and anywhere to further details about selected products.

Innovative design concept for electric cars

At K 2016, Covestro will also be presenting a seminal concept for designing electric vehicles. It was developed in close collaboration with design students and partners in the automotive industry. Students from the distinguished Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden and the Northern Works design agency in Finland were invited to Leverkusen.

With technical support from Covestro experts, they developed completely new ideas for design and functionality that transcend the borders between design and material and play a key role in the design of the concept vehicle.

Design Day at the Covestro stand

Given the importance of design aspects, Covestro is devoting an entire day of K 2016 to the key topic of design. On Monday, October 24, Makeathon participants along with students from the Umeå Institute of Design and Northern Works will be visiting.

Dr. Ulrich Liman, who is in charge of the Covestro stand, will also be welcoming Annabel Burton, the winner of this year’s Design Innovation in Plastics award. The British product design student has helped improve the safety of horses and their riders by creating a new quick-release surcingle buckle using a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) from Covestro. The company is the main sponsor of the competition.

A further highlight of Design Day will be a presentation by designer Chris Lefteri. He will be reporting on how plastics influence design solutions but also, conversely, on how design concepts can initiate the development of new materials.

Design conference at K 2016

To accompany K 2016, Messe Düsseldorf is organizing the Design Chain @ K conference, which is devoted to practical and technical aspects of design using plastics. Covestro is one of the main sponsors supporting the event, and Heil will be giving a presentation about innovative material solutions, providing an insight into innovation and co-creation at Covestro. “As well as intensifying our contacts with designers, we’re also looking to speed up development processes in materials research,” she explains.

Be sure to visit us at the K 2016 plastics trade fair from October 19 to 26 in Düsseldorf, Germany, Hall 6, Stand A 75. Find more information at

About Covestro
With 2015 sales of EUR 12.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites around the globe and employs approximately 15,700 people (full-time equivalents) as of the end of 2016.

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Forward-looking statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at Covestro assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.