What is Ornamenta?


Taking place from July to September 2024, Ornamenta is a regional quinquennial for arts and design in Germany’s Northern Black Forest region. Held first in 1989, Ornamenta returns in 2024 as a platform for contemporary cultural development, which takes place through site-specific exhibitions, public installations, and events. Local citizens, curious neighbours, and adventurous national and international visitors are invited to discover the Northern Black Forest area through different exhibition routes set out by Ornamenta. The Northern Black Forest region includes the cities of Pforzheim, Calw, Bad-Wildbad, Nagold, and Maulbronn, and is a popular destination for nature tourism. Besides its perpetual natural beauty, the region is also home to fine metal industries, small spa towns, and a rich variety of people, communities and cultures.


Ornamenta literally blurs the borders of the region. Between July and September 2024, existing municipal districts will be replaced by five thematic neighbourhoods – "Gemeinden" in German –  each investigating specific topics that are of local and European significance. These new Gemeinden, named Schmutzige Ecke, Zum Eros, lnhalatorium, Bad Databrunn, and Solartal, address and articulate issues that affect people across all layers of society. From sunshine and access to clean air to social taboos and technology, every Gemeinde is a site for interaction. Ornamenta is a platform for local communities and clubs to engage in partnerships with international creatives, for heritage institutions to meet progressive artists, and for designers to propose new ideas to industries in the region.

The Ornamenta programme is composed of five thematic exhibitions, one for each Gemeinde, along with newly commissioned public artworks, and various events such as listening sessions,tasting events, talks and collaborative performances. The curatorial team selected artists and designers with a focus on emerging talent, fostering opportunities for new generations of creatives, artists, and social organisations. Artworks and design objects are shown in unconventional locations, transforming the Northern Black Forest into a meeting place for the culturally curious – tightening relationships between local, national, and international audiences.

Ornamenta Lust

The Ornamenta Lust is a parallel program that embodies the diversity of the Northern Black Forest region and its evolving cultural landscape. Organised by the Ornamenta curatorial team, this initiative extends an open invitation to the region's local communities to contribute to the event with independent projects. This inclusive call to action is directed at a wide array of regional participants – from traditional spas, to artisanal bakeries, established cultural venues and emerging initiatives. By encouraging diverse makers to become part of the Lust Programme and joining one of the five thematic “Gemeinden”, Ornamenta fosters a collaborative environment for exploring innovative ways of producing culture.


First launched in 1989, the first edition of Ornamenta focused on jewellery (Schmuck) and video art. Conceptualised as a world-expo of "Schmuck", ORNAMENTA 1989 presented designers and artists from more than twenty-three countries around the Reuchlinhaus in Pforzheim, which houses the Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Europe’s largest collection of jewellery art, and the Kunstverein Pforzheim. The exhibitions of ORNAMENTA 1989 were complemented by a public programme that brought together diverse perspectives on jewellery, design, culture, and commerce through a series of symposia, lectures, and workshops. Despite its local success, the program was not continued. Thirty-five years later, ORNAMENTA 2024 is set to welcome both residents and visitors with a quinquennial programme that builds on these multidisciplinary roots.