Stefan Sagmeister’s special connection to Forward is based on the shared mission to inspire creatives beyond the borders of any genres. With the same goal in mind Sagmeister and Forward will guide you through this year’s 2-day Festival full of creativity.


For our last Issue of the Forward Magazine No. 5 we had the privilege of sitting down with design icon Stefan Sagmeister to talk about Wiener Werkstätte and their spirit that lives on in modern design. As one of the most influential creatives of our time, Sagmeister has long been associated with creativity and an unbridled passion for design and art. Read on for an exclusive teaser of our conversation with Sagmeister and a glimpse into what’s in store for attendees of the Forward Festival Vienna 2023.


In our Interview with Stefan we talked to him about Wiener Werkstätte and their spirit that lives on in modern design. Stefan mentions that contemporary designers recognize the importance of beauty as a function and that it is necessary to create things people like. He points out that, historically, there has been a close link between the professions of an artist and a designer. Sagmeister also explains that design has to work, while art does not, and gives examples of famous artists who created work that could be considered design today. The Wiener Werkstätte was unique due to the large group of talented people working together and creating a scene that became a worldwide influence, and Sagmeister believes that all the key ingredients of the Wiener Werkstätte are relevant today.



My favorite distinction, which might be the difference between the two, comes from one of my favorite artists, Donald Judd: Design has to work, Art does not.He separates the two neatly by function. At the very core, all design, in order for it to qualify as design, has to function. If it does not function, it is not design. If I design a chair, one of my goals will be that it is comfortable to sit on. I can design a chair and push the design so hard, until I can’t sit on it anymore. But then the chair ceases to be a chair and becomes a sculpture. Art on the other hand, can just be. It does not need to do anything. – Stefan Sagmeister



Don’t miss Stefan Sagmeister asking your questions, guiding you through the program and the in depth conversations on stage with creatives like Yuko Shimizu, Gavin Strange, Alice Issac, and many more at Forward Festival Vienna on October 5th-6th!


Photo 1 Credit: © Niklas Schnaubelt
Photo 2 Credit: ©  Josef Hoffmann
Photo 3 Credit: © Stefan Sagmeister
Photo 4 Credit: © Stefan Sagmeister