Chris Luebkeman

ARUP London

Event from
07 July
Foto von Chris Luebkeman



The future is fiction. It is an unknown history to whose creation everybody of us contributes every day. Still, we know that change is constant and that the context of our perception is the variable of the history. On a shrinking planet the varia­bility of the context poses a simple yet important question: “What is the normal?”

Each individual has its own perception and conception of normality. There might be local standards obeyed by a group, which cannot be transferred to the whole world. However, we are noticeably a globalised society, implying that “normality” is required everywhere. It is not only required but re-defined every day. So when ­we look into the future, we have to ask ourselves: “What will normality look like?” Which context do we have to look at when we act as designers? Which context ­do we hope for? Which context will we inherit? Can we even begin to comprehend a context defining a world inhabited by 9,000,000,000 people? How can we use design thoughts in order to take care of the majority of people who will be over 65 years of age? What will be the structural challenges once the sea level has risen continuously metre by metre? In which way a new design paradigm can be determined for the global economy – post-capitalism and post-consumption?

There are so many complex challenges the world faces that the only way forward is to combine design thoughts and design methods. Those will use ambiguity and creative problem approach as a part of the design vocabulary.
This presentation emphasises the question of the normal and the question how we have to think of it on our way into the future. Each day we influence the normal of the lives of every future generation.

We are very happy to welcome Dr. Chris Luebkeman, leader of the Arup team Global Foresight & Innovation, at Oskar von Miller Forum. With more than 10,000 collaborators in 92 offices in 37 countries, Arup is one of the leading civil engineering offices throughout the world. With his portfolio Dr. Luebkeman holds a key position within Arup’s structure. A particular challenge for him is to create better awareness of trigger forces of global changes and how they can be included into the development of effective global business strategies.

Before he joined Arup in 1999, he taught as geologist, civil engineer and architect at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, the University of Oregon, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At Arup he first became co-director of Research and Development of a team of more than fifty highly qualified technicians, which he led in the framework of Arup’s R&D activities in view of particularly innovative subjects and projects. Today, Dr. Luebkeman is head of the working group Global Foresight & Innovation at Arup. 

Chris Luebkeman

Dr. Luebkeman calls himself a generalist. Because of his foresighted and interdisciplinary views, he has been appointed Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. In 2002, Wallpaper Magazine counted him amongst the ten future shapers who will change the way we live. He holds lectures on a regular basis at internationally renowned conferences. In his most recent publication “Drivers of Change 2009” ­he takes a look on the 50 most important factors that will influence our world.