Design at Fraunhofer IVI

When acquiring, developing and marketing new technologies, the aspect of design is gaining importance – also in the field of research. For several years, the Fraunhofer IVI has been integrating industrial designers and communication designers in their research activities in order to put more emphasis on aesthetic aspects. Owing to the positive experience from this development, the institute strongly supports the activities of the Fraunhofer Network »Science, Art and Design« which was founded in 2018. Through their close cooperation, the network benefits from the long-standing experience of two renowned design institutions: the Chair of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Dresden and Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Examples from the areas product design, vehicle design, interior & exterior design as well as interface & interaction design are presented in the book »Designed by Fraunhofer«. It was edited under the management of the Fraunhofer IVI and published in 2020. The book »Architecture by Fraunhofer« (in German), published in 2021, provides insights into the architecture of Fraunhofer's institute and administration buildings, technical centers and research factories.

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Book »Designed by Fraunhofer«



Fraunhofer Network »Science, Art and Design«

Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI

Concept and Editing: Elke Sähn, Bettina Kölzig

Layout: Konrad Löschner, Sophia Elsner


Book »Architecture by Fraunhofer«



Fraunhofer Network »Science, Art and Design«

Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI

Concept and Editing: Elke Sähn, Bettina Kölzig

Layout: Konrad Löschner


First Design Conference of the Fraunhofer Network »Science, Art and Design«

Looking back at the Design Conference

With »Design in Focus Fraunhofer Research«, the Fraunhofer Network »Science, Art and Design« offered employees of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, partners from the national university landscape, artists and interested parties for the first time a conference and exhibition format for the exchange of internal design projects with external design practice and design research.

In three exciting sessions focusing on »Product Design & Interaction«, »Architecture & Workspace Design« and »Innovation Research & Design Integration« as well as an accompanying exhibition, best practice examples from the Fraunhofer Institutes were presented alongside successful networking projects.

The conference, which took place at the Fraunhofer Forum Berlin, also informed about the successful launch of the DesignLab, an initiative of the Fraunhofer Institutes IWU, IWS and IVI as well as Technical University of Dresden, which will be located at the Fraunhofer IVI in the future. We are looking forward to the cooperation and many interesting projects.

Activities at Fraunhofer IVI

Ultralightweight Vehicle Interior for Segmented Trams

»Lightweight Seating System«

© Bombardier Transportation

The Fraunhofer IVI developed a concept for the optimization of tram seat structures under the aspects of lightweight construction, construction effort and costs. The design process produced five seating concepts with different manufacturing variants. Taking into consideration the requirements product and function, safety and stability, ergonomics, comfort and aesthetics as well as economic efficiency, a design was chosen that features a seat plate with aluminum profiles on the side.

The seating concept gained acceptance with its flat appearance and the considerable savings potential of mass per individual seat.

Design: Ernst-Eckart Schulze; büro+staubach GmbH

Project partners: Bombardier Transportation; Fraunhofer IWU 

Libraries in Transition

© Fraunhofer IVI
Fraunhofer IVI and IIS/EAS institute library in Dresden

Libraries are no longer just places for storing books and journals. They have become knowledge meeting points and places facilitating exchange. These developments helped create the idea to rejuvenate the Fraunhofer IVI and IIS/EAS institute library, which had gradually grown over time. 

Today, the institute library is no longer a silent room full of bookshelves. It has, in fact, become a place with a liberal and open design that invites to do research, linger, collaborate and inspire one another. Offering guests and employees a comfortable space for studying and communicating, the library is now a creative area for new ideas and inspiring conversations.

Design: Elke Sähn; Architect Michaela Hoppe, Dresden


autartec® – Self-Sufficient Living on Water

© Fraunhofer IVI
autartec® house on the lake Bergheide

In the autartec® research project, partners from southern Brandenburg and Eastern Saxony have been jointly designing, developing and implementing technologies for autarkic buildings and floating architecture. Conventional methods for solar energy and heat production, decentralized storing, microfiltration and water decontamination have been developed throughout the project to make them fit for integration into the building envelope.  

With its futuristic look, renewable energy supply and integrated environmental technologies, the building marks the emergence of a new era. Located at the lake Bergheide in the Lusatia region, the concept contributes to the future-oriented redesign of this former mining region.

Design: Fraunhofer IVI; AIB GmbH; Wilde Metallbau GmbH

Project partners: AIB GmbH; AWAS GmbH Dresden; bendl HTS GmbH & Co. KG Sebnitz; Beratungsgesellschaft für Wirtschaftliches Bauen (BWB); TU Cottbus-Senftenberg; Fraunhofer IKTS; GEDES e. V.; Heliatek GmbH; ifn Anwenderzentrum GmbH; INNIUS DÖ GmbH; Rupp Betonerzeugnisse GmbH; TU Dresden; TUDAG – Deutsches Zentrum Textilbeton; Wilde Metallbau GmbH

AutoTram® – Testing Platform for the Development of Intermediary Vehicle Technologies

© Fraunhofer IVI
AutoTram® hightech demonstrator

The intermediary transport system combines the benefits of buses with the advantages of trams like high transport capacity, driving comfort and environmental-friendly propulsion systems. In its first version, the vehicle was developed as a universal testing platform in 2005. Since then, it has been used as a basis for numerous developments at the Fraunhofer IVI. The complexity of the integrated components and the modular design open up numerous fields of application in public transport. 

The central aspect of the AutoTram® design was its modular structure. The vehicle can be operated in bidirectional mode and can be decoupled as required to form individual vehicles of identical design. In its basic design, the AutoTram® corresponds to a serial hybrid vehicle – an important intermediate step on the way to fully-electric driving. A high-precision multi-axle steering system has been developed to ensure lane stability of the BusTram. This system is used in numerous commercial vehicle technology projects. 

Design: Sergio Stanisci (CWA Constructions SA/Corp); Fraunhofer IVI 

Project partners: CWA Constructions SA/Corp.; Derap AG; Frey AG Stans