Julia Stern

Julia Stern  is a graphic designer, illustrator and artist from Vienna. She was educated as an Applied Fashion Designer at Wiener Kunstschule, studied Theatre Science and Journalism & Communication Studies at University of Vienna focussing on Stage and Costume Design as well as on Media Design.  In 2015 she started another education University of Applied Arts in Vienna at the Institute of Art Science & Art Education, for Design, Architecture and Environment (DAE) and Textile –Free, Applied & Experimental Artistic Design (TEX). Her permanent occupation with matters of social and educational significance and economic correlations as well as her interest in material culture and modes of production find their expression in mostly textile and material combined artworks. There is also an intensive connection to language within her works always trying to take a light-hearted look at what she is doing. Moreover she has extensive knowledge working as a graphic designer and illustrator in magazine design. Her work “Notes of an Imbalance” was shown at Angewandte Festival 2019 for the exhibition “In&Out”. As one of the winning participants at the Octopus Programme 2020 she is currently working on a project about communication.

projects in process

A table in abundance

The desire to and the need of living together are the base for our communication. What all productive meetings, working sessions, conferences and workshops have in common is that they never dispense with having a meal together. Eating together after having listened to a topic can bring theory to life as people seem to talk more freely while dining together, exchanging their opinion of the before heard. 

What atmosphere has to be created to achieve a good culture of free and intuitive communication

As my artistic work I am developing a playful dinner situation, designed in all items needed – to create an atmosphere that is connecting participants in a ceremonial way talking and eating together with the aim to release them full with new ideas and considerations.”

Eating as a social event/a moment of sharing and exchanging

The project is based on the idea that –for example at a coffee break, at a conference (or an other occasion) –communication flows and topics are more easily shared. This project ist planned as a designed situation it should have a defined frame in  time, space, number of participants and in the design of the surrounding and tools.

I want it to be a playful situation in which the mind can float free and people feel comfortable to share their thoughts, so that every participant gets to know new perspectives –if possible.

I started my research on three words that in German all have a double meaning and lead one to another they are all about communication and conditions & behaviour both – at table. I occupied with and researched on topics like: communication, atmosphere, community society –all in context of sharing a meal.

Here you can see in which way I decided for the design of the tableware.

I finally developed that idea out of working and trying with the material: I was looking for something that was simple and worked well and was something universal like a ball, a bowl, –as a bowl is a tool that has an origin in every culture and is universal in use.

The development of that shape influenced the whole design:

The shape of that table (here in this sketch) is influenced by the shape of the tableware: It is a a circle that expands –stretches to accommodate more and more participants.

Many questions are still open:

Who will sit at this table?
What will be the topic /occasion for coming together?
What shall be the rules for the dinner situation?
Will it be staged or will it be an intimate frame?


When stirring in a pot, when cutting with a knife, when clinking with glasses: beside conversation at a table there are always noises accompagning a meal.

This work is related to the double interpretation of the German word Ton – which means clay as well as the single sound.
I decided – coming from the shape of the bowls designed –to also create non-functional bowls, that shall invite to elicit sounds from them.

You can see bowls and vessels that I used to make for the table in abundance. From them, I decided what shape the bowls should take. The first inspirations for the music sound bowls arose from these samples. There were also fragments or broken pieces that I found charming –I gained out inspiration from them, adapted them and brought some sketches to paper.

Here are the first –let’s say translations –of the sketches. These vessels to me do have an organic look.

As percussion instruments have to be hit and tapped to generate noises, music, rhythms:

In addition to using the fingers, tools may also be required to elicit sounds – therefore:  In connection with the original intention –these devices / tools will come from the environment of the food and the kitchen.

Therefore I’m working on a repertoire of kitchen objects that are suitable for producing as many variations of tones as possible from the instruments -hopefully also some that may surprise.

The Installation planned

Impressions of the work progress


You can see here on how I started my research:
In the context of the dinner situation I wanted to create, I picked out first these five themes …

I mapped my connections and formed out the aspects, that I considered important for my design for the project.
Within this mapping-process I also found out, that it was very important to me, that there was a playful aspect in all that –so I added playfulness

developing the tableware

Apart from the content and the sociological aspects of the project, for me it was important from the beginning on, that this should be something special, that there would be a designed atmosphere –as well as I wanted to design the tools for eating together.

So I also did my research on developing a tableware in reflection to the 5/6 topics I had chosen before.

links and references

Munari, Bruno: Design as Art, Penguin Modern Classics, 2008

Cage, John: Water walk, composed 1959. see: https://johncage.org/pp/John-Cage-Work-Detail.cfm?work_ID=242


collaborative activities and works