The art of engineering in a literal sense

At school, there were always those children who were good at social sciences and art. And then there were those who excelled at physics. During our trip, we meet Ulrich Schreier in Bremen. You could say he is a little bit of both. An engineer by day, Schreier is also a keen sculptor.


Making a career out of a hobby

As Head of Mechanical Design at thyssenkrupp System Engineering, Ulrich Schreier manages a team of engineers. Together they develop machinery that customers then use to build other machinery, for example, production lines for automotive manufacturing. Back in the 1970s, Schreier spent his time producing drawings and working on designs. Now though, team management dominates his daily routine. “Being a team leader, I quickly realized how much I miss working with my hands,” he says. Schreier knows that when the word ‘head’ is in your job title, hands-on work is a thing of the past. That’s how he came to discover sculpting. It’s a hobby that stemmed from his passion for construction and design.

Schreier’s sculptures have found a rather unusual home at the Systems Engineering offices in Bremen. I think the abstract designs are particularly effective in the industrial setting of production facilities and designers in blue overalls. “Yes, I think I’ve unintentionally converted one or two technicians with my art,” says Schreier with a laugh. “They usually aren’t really interested in abstract art.”

Nature and technology: A perfect match

Nature and technology are not exactly worlds apart. Schreier has already showcased machine components he designed as works of art in exhibitions. Similarly, he has made use of natural shapes in the process of developing different machine components. “It’s always been my dream to see natural processes have a greater influence on technology.” Schreier explains that he is not the only one interested in natural shapes. “The women in the company once complained about the fact that I only ever depict female bodies. After that, I made a special male bust for them to put on display in one of the female-dominated departments.”

While we are standing there in Schreier’s backyard studio in a leafy suburb of Bremen, I set myself a goal: From now on, I’m going to make better use of my free time by getting off the couch and being more like Leonardo Da Vinci.

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