Feral Phytocracy der Künstlerin Špela Petrič
© SKD, Foto: Felix Meutzner

Plant Fever

Towards a Phyto-centred design

Current debates - for example on climate justice, the ecological footprint or human consumer behavior - show: The relationship between humans and nature urgently needs to be rethought! The multi-year research and exhibition project PLANT FEVER, initiated by the curatorial duo Laura Drouets and Olivier Lacrouts, takes up this challenge and asks: Can design help us to reshape our relationship with the plant world and show us the potential of plants as true allies?

  • DATES 29/04/2023—31/10/2023


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Pflanzenfieber. Botanik, Mensch, Design | Kunstgewerbemuseum Schloss Pillnitz (29.4.—31.10.2023)


The exhibition, which has already been shown in Belgium and Switzerland, has continued to develop over the years and is now being supplemented by the cooperation with State Palaces, Castles and Gardens of Saxony in Pillnitz Palace and Park to include the horticultural tradition that has historically grown in Pillnitz.

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Pflanzenfieber – Design aus der Pflanzenperspektive

Design from the plant perspective

In recent years, new scientific discoveries and philosophical approaches have challenged the objectification of plants and the dichotomy between humans and nature that is deeply embedded in Western thinking. For many designers, scientists and engineers, plants are of central importance. This approach was already a major source of inspiration in the 19th century and is reflected both in the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts and in the unique Pillnitz Palace and Park, where there is evidence that a botanical research urge has prevailed since the Baroque period.


The artists selected for PLANT FEVER understand vegetation not only as a resource for food, material, or recreation, but also as a source of inspiration in the design process and deal with the structures and behaviors in the plant world in order to develop novel solutions for present and future environmental and social issues on an equal footing with nature. The dialogue of current (system)critical approaches with historical exhibits of the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Palace Museum represents an important reference to the museum, its history and the location Pillnitz. PLANT FEVER proposes to look at the future of design from a new "plant-centered" perspective, shifting from a human-centered to a phyto-centered design.

© SKD, Foto: Felix Meutzner
Ausstellungsansicht "Pflanzenfieber" Botanical Manufacture von Carole Collet

in Pillnitz

Plant Fever in Pillnitz Palace and Park

In the Water Palace of the Baroque pleasure palace, around 50 international projects from applied art, science and research are presented in the context of the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts.

Pflanzenfieber in Schloss und Park Pillnitz

On display will be a wide variety of design products: Fashion, furniture, graphics, material research, open-source devices, computer technology, arts and crafts, food, biorobots, and plants.  The basis of the exhibition is a manifesto, which in seven points commits itself to a respectful and responsible treatment of plants in all our daily lives. Topics such as plant blindness, ecofeminism, forestry, biomimicry, upcycling, postcolonialism, and cultural landscapes are addressed and illustrated with the objects. In addition, contemporary installations ask, for example, how it actually is about the rights of nature, as the design studio mischer'traxler.

© SKD, Foto: Felix Meutzner
Ausstellungsansicht "Pflanzenfieber" Edwardes Chair von Full Grown (Weidenstuhl)

Neues Palais

In the New Palace (Palace Museum), on the other hand, the focus is on the historical tradition of botanical research at Pillnitz Palace. The new and exotic had long been considered a status symbol around 1800, but knowledge of the cultural requirements, properties and potential uses of new plant species from all parts of the world was still extremely incomplete at the time. Two Saxon kings were seized by plant fever: Friedrich August I and his nephew Friedrich August II, who spent their summers in Pillnitz and elevated the garden there to a botanical collection. The "plant fever" in the 19th century gave rise to entire gardening dynasties, a rich Dresden horticultural tradition and world-class horticultural exhibitions. Even today, recognized research and teaching institutions of the Free State and the Federal Government work together in partnership at this location under the name Green Forum Pillnitz.

In the extensive park, the visitor can feel the "plant fever" at the authentic place and discover countless exotic plants. In particular, the English Pavilion as a princely study cabinet and the 250-year-old camellia with its technically unique greenhouse can be explored.

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The presentation was conceived by d-o-t-s, a curatorial practice of Laura Drouet and Olivier Lacrouts. The discourse project PLANT FEVER was commissioned by the Belgian Centre d'innovation et de design (CID, Grand-Hornu) and opened as an exhibition there in 2020/2021. In 2021/22, the show made a stop at the Museum für Gestaltung in the Toni-Areal in Zurich. For 2023 and 2024, it was finally expanded for the Museum of Decorative Arts in collaboration with State Palaces, Castles and Gardens of Saxony and curator Stefanie Krihning, and made tangible by incorporating the Pillnitz Palace and park complex. Under "The School of Phyto-centred Design" the two curators additionally developed a program of several weeks for the Design Campus Summer School 2023.


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Plant Fever

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Further Exhibitions

Further Exhibitions

Design around 1800

in Schloss Pillnitz

Klassizistischer Leuchter der Chursächsischen Spiegelfabrik


in Schloss Pillnitz

gelber Kasten mit vier Füßen
19/10/2024 —02/02/2025

Jean-Pierre Latz. Fait à Paris

in Residenzschloss

Dekoration in Form einer goldenen Sonne
01/06/2024 —30/03/2025

Children's Biennale "Planet Utopia"

in Japanisches Palais

regenbogenfarbener Schaum mit Kindern am Rande
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