Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in deep sorrow for chairman Markus Ferstera

The employees, members and executive board members of the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen are in deep mourning for Markus Ferstera, who died on 8 October 2015 after severe illness at the age of only 61 years. The chairman of the Design Zentrum had controlled the fate of the association for almost 20 years and was decisively involved in the success of today's globally influential design organisation.

Markus Ferstera has been the longest-standing chairman the associations Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen and its predecessor “Industrieform” ever had. As a warm-hearted, straightforward man, he made balanced decisions for the benefit of the association, as emphasised by Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, who is President of the Design Zentrum since 1991: "Markus Ferstera was a silent leader. He has always foregrounded the welfare of the association and taken a backseat in the public. With prudence and foresight, he succeeded guiding the Design Zentrum through good and bad times. He was always there when he was needed. With Markus Ferstera, the Design Zentrum and I personally are losing a strong support. We will always be bound to him with great thanks, as we will remember his commitment."

As a passionate sailor, Markus Ferstera had also led the design institution through stormy times. Due to Markus Ferstera’s courage the association remained successful, as Peter Zec reconstructs in the anniversary publication that was published in October 2015 to commemorate the Design Zentrum’s history. After moving to Zollverein World Heritage Site, the Design Zentrum was confronted with unforeseeable challenges. Markus Ferstera realised that the association could be developed into a major global design promoter through a sustainable expansion policy. Peter Zec explains in the anniversary publication on 60 years of the Design Zentrum: "The members of the management board, chaired by Markus Ferstera, had the courage to opt for a then unpopular solution to avert the end of the institution and to form a basis for the future."

During the Red Dot Gala 2015, Markus Ferstera was honoured on stage of the Aalto-Theater in Essen, Germany, on the occasion of his first board meeting 20 years ago. In recognition of his invaluable merits, Peter Zec presented him a golden pin in the shape of the "Red Dot". Due to his serious illness, Markus Ferstera could not participate in the ceremonial act on the occasion of the anniversary of the first exhibition of award-winning products in Essen on 5 October 2015.

Markus Ferstera is survived by his wife and two children. The members of the executive board of the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen are in deep sorrow and shocked about the untimely death of their chairman; they are in thoughts with the family and relatives of the deceased, and bow to his great life work.

Markus Ferstera leaves deep marks.