SCHOTT Group Home

SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2016 > Focus / Interview

Prof. Christine Lüdeke
Christine Lüdeke studied product design in the US and Italy and went into business for ­herself by opening a design firm in Switzerland. She mainly works for the aviation industry and has been a Professor at Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany, for 15 years. Photo: SCHOTT/A. Sell

Just one word

We met with the Swiss industrial designer, Professor Christine Lüdeke, for an unusual interview – no questions, just keywords. What associations came to her mind?


Design is what nature dictates, in other words ­everything that has a rhythm, a composition that we can touch and look at and that touches us. On the other hand, we design when we transform an object artificially or rethink an object or a topic. Design arises through conscious thinking and people’s actions that we touch – a world that has no natural origin.


Design can be considered a permanent component of the aircraft of the future. Perceptions will play a bigger role, become the subject of research and be considered with new ideas. Flying is increasingly becoming an overall experience. Here, it will be important how we feel when we fly and what pleasant spatial, temporal, physical and mental impressions we take away from the flight.


Our working relationship began in a traditional manner some 20 years ago. We developed one of the first seats with a resting function for an Asian airline. The aim was to integrate the personal light from the ceiling into the seat and thus meet the passenger’s need to be able to move. Today we are working to find out how new fabrics and materials can lead to an innovative aircraft seat in combination with new lighting solutions.


Design would not function visually without light. After all, only with light can our eyes see things. And with light: create surfaces, work in combination with certain light-reactive materials and thereby consciously use lighting to create another reference to an object or interior. With light as a creative medium you can work at the mood level. You can use it to identify specific and even unexpected aspects of objects that represent, for example, the depth of a material which in turn triggers and influences human emotions.


Light counteracts the narrowness of the space. It softens the physical boundaries of the ceiling inside the aircraft, increasing the perceived space via a starry ceiling, for example. It is as if we were to look through a window into the distance. Light is important for our physiology and our well-being. We continue to learn more about the importance of changing light in terms of our natural rhythms of life. Constantly improved technology allows us to design the artificial aircraft tube to be ever more natural. Dealing with lighting also play an important role in an airline’s ability to differentiate itself.
SCHOTT website
Interior Lighting
Download this article as a PDF file