Absolutely Your Thing!

January 25th, 2015

The Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge again invites everybody to become a Dingpfleger (thing-conservators) in 2015. The museum offers a special initiative to become the individual sponsor of your personally selected favorite “Ding” (thing) among all exhibited objects.

© Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge 2015

Have a look at many adorable things and negotiate your sponsor contribution. The symbolical sponsorships regard objects of daily use and such as advertisement figurines, domestic appliances, chairs, vases, and even hairbrushes of celebrities. Each sponsorship and contribution is limited to one year. The sponsoring thing-conservators receive a “Dingpfleger-Pass” in return, which entitles them to free entry to the museum. You will find more info on the project here.

All about Numbers: 1953

January 25th, 2015

The legendary coat rack Hang it all was designed in 1953 by Charles Eames in an attempt to motivate children to actually hanging their clothes rather than distributing them all across the room, flat, house and neighbourhood. The rack’s colored wooden balls have reputedly met with considerable success, in both infants and, notably, adults. Consequently, the object today is also rampant in the realm of grown-ups. Admittedly, this was not originally intended, o, but…!

Selfmade City Berlin

December 18th, 2014

Berlin enjoys the reputation of a city of “space pioneers”, a vast area of individual appropriation. Corners and gaps in the cityscape are being occupied, forgotten places and protected edifices brought to new purpose. The self-determined spatial design of construction initiatives, co-ops, co-working spaces and so forth has created an architectural variety and quality unmatched by most other European cities.

“Selfmade City Berlin” documents this recent development by means of a survey of more than 120 projects, a qualitative summary, and a presentation of 50 best-practice examples. How much are private initiatives already contributing to the city’s development, which are their future potentials? How do independent projects generate added value for Berlin? And to which extent? What is their impact on urban life quality in Berlin? Voila, our first reading recommendation for these dark months…

Selfmade City Berlin: Stadtgestaltung und Wohnprojekte in Eigeninitiative

by Kristien Ring, AA PROJECTS und Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt Berlin (Editor)

Measurements: 21 x 27 cm, 224 pages, German/English

ISBN-10: 3868591672   ISBN-13: 978-3868591675

All about Numbers: 9

December 16th, 2014

From heart to egg: The much sought-after “KPM for minimum”-vases come in nine different forms. The collection reflects the 250 years old tradition of the Koenigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin. The vases are of contained design, a single either vertical or horizontal line accentuating the otherwise plain and smooth surface of each vase. At a closer look, you will discover the subtle variations of colour intensity in these hand-painted black lines. Each of the nine different vase types creates a calm atmosphere, while a combination of several ones widens the proportional spectrum without disturbing this basic mood.

On September 19, 1763 art-loving Prussian king Frederic II bought the factory and determined its name and emblem, the china blue sceptre, which has remained the quality seal of every masterpiece of Berlin porcelain culture. Almost uninterrupted since 1867, KPM keeps up the traditions of the craft on its historical site in Berlin’s Tiergarten district. The “KPM for minimum”-vases, a result of minimum einrichten GmbH’s cooperation with KPM, are available in the minimum store at stilwerk on Kantstrasse.

Latte & Cover Boy

December 14th, 2014

Alex Valder is a designer of furniture, home accessories, crockery and other objects which are often marketed in limited units or even as unique copies. Many of his products have a plain and slightly headstrong character and do not target the mass market. Maybe that is just why they have found a significant circle of friends. Each of Alex’ objects tells a little story and had developed its individual form from a practical purpose. Here are two of his highlights:

Cover Boy: Here is an unobtrusive shelf that lends itself to individual arrangements–a light wire construction to support your own splendid collages. Cover Boy restages your favourite books, plates, vinyl covers (sic), pictures and other treasures that do not deserve to be crammed in drawers and behind cabinet doors.

Latte: Germans are the champions of hard ware stores. An irrepressible and vibrant DIY culture has evolved, the fruits of which remain largely invisible in public. The DIY store bookshelf Latte caters to the obsessions of the cult’s followers. It is extensible in all dimensions, and in such more a design principle than a mere shelf. Courtesy of Alex Valder, you find the manual for this special piece of DIY furniture right here. Let’s get busy, handymen!

More about Alex Valder: www.alexvalder.de

Design from Berlin: A series presenting Berlin-based designers, their objects and projects. Keep looking out for each single designer and creation visible in the exhibition “Design aus Berlin” at stilwerk Berlin that was opened as part of the Designmeile.Berlin 2014. The show will go on…

Grand Prix™: Tribute to An Award-winning Chair

December 6th, 2014

In November, the long-expected exhibition illustrating the exclusive cooperation between Danish fashion brand Han Kjøbenhavn and Republic of Fritz Hansen opened to the public at Fritz Hansen Brandstore on Torstraße. Arne Jacobsen’s chair Grand Prix, a timeless and beautiful classic, featured as the centrepiece. It was designed in 1957, originally under the name Model 3130. When it was awarded the Grand Prix of the Triennial in Milan the same year, however, it was promptly relabelled.

In the context of Han Kjøbenhavn’s and Republic of Fritz Hansen’s cooperation, Han Kjøbenhavn have created a modern interpretation of the Grand Prix, with the chair’s back made from bent steel tube, and its legs from black bated oak wood. Oiled oak or, alternatively, walnut are available as seat materials.

“Danish design has always been a source of inspiration for our work. The possibility to cooperate with Fritz Hansen and to re-interpret one of Arne Jacobsen’s award-winning designs was a fascinating challenge we enjoyed a lot. Jacobsen, of course, was a classic master of his craft. So, naturally, we approached the task with great respect. It was of similar importance for us to show our own phrasing and breathe new life into the chair as well as to preserve the timeless expression of the design–a tightrope experience that was not easy at all times.” explained Jannik Wikkelsø Davidsen and Tim Faith Hancock, founders and owners of Han Kjøbenhavn.

To top if off, the labels iGNANT, This is Jane Wayne and Stil in Berlin had also been asked for new interpretations of the Grand Prix, and came up with charming little feats: iGNANT produced a video which wonderfully depicts the chair’s pliability. Stil in Berlin equipped the Grand Prix a cuddly white woollen dress in view of impending Berlin winter.

While This is Jane Wayne initiated a lively happening: Visitors scratched their names into a Grand Prix`s wooden parts and their polaroid portraits were posted on a Grand Prix-pin board. The installations are currently on show at Fritz Hansen Brandstore by minimum. Drop by! It is worth the while.

Fritz Hansen Brandstore

Torstraße 140 in 10119 Berlin

Phone: +49 (0)30 240 477 370


Twitter: #danishdynamite

All photographs: © Nils Krüger 2014

Bröhan Museum Berlin: Schrill Bizarr Brachial. Das Neue Deutsche Design der 80er Jahre

October 27th, 2014

In our post on the 1984 Hochschule der Künste project/exhibition “Kaufhaus des Ostens” we opined that it represented the moment when Berlin design began to rebel.

The exhibition Schrill Bizarr Brachial. Das Neue Deutsche Design der 80er Jahre currently showing at the Bröhan Museum Berlin places “Kaufhaus des Ostens” is context of the wider German design scene of the period and ably demonstrates that it wasn’t just the Berlin Design scene that was rebelling; from Munich to Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt to Hamburg a generation of young German designers had lost faith in the established design conventions, in the clean, functional world of Bauhaus, Dieter Rams, Hans Gugelot et al and were looking for future beyond industrialised mass production.

In effect opening with Kaufhaus des Ostens and a look at the West Berlin subculture scene of the 1980s Schrill Bizarr Brachial then moves on to to look at the work, and influence, of other important protagonists of the period including Hamburg based collective Möbel perdu, Kunstflug from Düsseldorf and Bellefast from Berlin, in addition to “non-affiliated” designers such as Axel Kufus and Volker Albus.

With obvious parallels to the Milanese Memphis Group and their Italian post-modern compatrioti, the Neue Deutsche Design movement sought to destroy the status quo by making design something that was culturally relevant, something which responded to, reflected, commented on and challenged contemporary society. Which yes sounds like art and as Schrill Bizarr Brachial makes clear Neue Deutsche Design did have an artistic element. While remaining unquestionably a design movement.

A highly accessible and very entertaining exhibition Schrill Bizarr Brachial presents a very nice overview of the Neue Deutsche Design movement and its motives without ever succumbing to the need to appraise or otherwise cast an opinion on the value, quality and indeed sense in the works shown. Such decisions are left freely to be made by the visitor. Which of course is exactly as it should be.

We ended our original Kaufhaus des Ostens post with the conclusion that “Despite its radical nature it’s fair to say Kaufhaus des Ostens didn’t change the world, and German design is still largely marketed as a Dieter Rams’ dream world of crisp, linear forms.”

Schrill Bizarr Brachial beautifully underscores this position, while at the same time making you aware of just how many of the key players from then are still active now: a situation which raises the question as to why the status quo has remained so beautifully intact.

We suspect the answer may lie in the more artistic inclined practitioners of 1980s German progressive culture who can now be found in advertising agencies from Munich to Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt to Hamburg busily convincing us that the established norms are what makes German design the force it is.

We suspect. But obviously can’t prove.

Schrill Bizarr Brachial. Das Neue Deutsche Design der 80er Jahre at the Bröhan Museum Berlin is however worthy testament to a long lost alternative reality.

Full details can be found at www.broehan-museum.de


Book Presentation: Architekturführer Kasachstan @ Werkbund Galerie Berlin

August 21st, 2014

With autumn’s herald currently presenting its masters credentials and so confirming its imminent arrival, thoughts turn to books. To long evenings hidden from the gloom of Jupiter’s mood swings with good literature and an even better red wine.

In this spirit the Werkbund Galerie Berlin are hosting on Thursday August 28th an evening devoted to Philipp Meuser’s new guide to the architecture of Kazakhstan.

Yes Kazakhstan.

In 2017 Kazakhstan will host the Expo 2017, an event that will stand not only in the spotlight of the official “future energy” focus but also of the country’s varied, expanding and expansive architecture.

Following its independence in 1991 the once poor Steppe region has evolved, thanks largely to oil revenues, into one of the boom lands of central Asia. And the authorities in Kazakhstan have wasted no time in inviting international architects such as Norman Foster, Massimiliano Fuksas or Kisho Kurokawa to develop new buildings; new buildings which mix with the traditional vernacular, Islamic monumental, 18th and 19th century European inspired and Soviet era architecture to create a not altogether instantly accessible nor decipherable mix of genres and statements.

Presenting some 100 contemporary projects over 14 chapters and 540 pages the guide also includes background texts from authors such as Klaus Pander, Yuliya Sorokina, Götz Burggraf or Dmitrij Chmelnizki, in addition to an interview with Timur Turekulow, editor in chief of Kazakhstan’s only architecture magazine. And thus promises to be the most complete and inclusive guide to the state of architecture in Kazakhstan ever published.

On August 28th the Werkbund Galerie Berlin welcome the book’s editor Philipp Meuser and the German Ambassador to Kazakhstan Guido Herz for a discussion on the book and the issues involved.

The evening begins at 7pm at the Werkbund Galerie Berlin, Goethestraße 13, 10623 Berlin. Entry is free and all are welcome. The evening will, somewhat obviously, be held in German.

Architekturführer Kasachstan by Philipp Meuser is published by DOM Publishers Berlin

Architekturführer Kasachstan Philipp Meuser DOM Publishers Berlin

Architekturführer Kasachstan by Philipp Meuser. DOM Publishers Berlin

Bundespreis Ecodesign 2013 Exhibition at Umweltbundesamt, Dessau

August 7th, 2014

Until August 24th the Umweltbundesamt in Dessau is hosting the exhibition of the 2013 Bundespreis Ecodesign nominations and award winners.

Initiated in 2012 by the German Environment Ministry and the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) the Bundespreis Ecodesign seeks to award and recognise projects that incorporate ecological thinking, social responsibility and sustainability into all stages of their development and realisation.

For the 2013 Bundespreis Ecodesign 31 of the 132 submitted projects were nominated from which 12 were honoured.

The exhibition in Dessau is not extensive, does however provide a clear, accessible, informative and though provoking introduction to the projects involved, and so by extension to the themes involved. and of course the issue needing to be tackled to ensure that all design is ecological , socially responsibility and sustainable.

Thus making the award unnecessary.

The Bundespreis Ecodesign 2013 Exhibition can be viewed Monday to Sunday in the foyer of the Umweltbundesamt in Dessau. Entry is free.

And so why not combine a visit with a trip to the near-by exhibition Unter Zwischen im Ampelhaus at Ampelhaus Oranienbaum…..

Bundespreis Ecodesign 2013 Exhibition at Umweltbundesamt, Dessau

Bundespreis Ecodesign 2013 Exhibition at Umweltbundesamt, Dessau

Unter Zwischen im Ampelhaus at Ampelhaus Oranienbaum

August 4th, 2014

Following on from the success of last years King Size: Art & Design “Fit for a King” the Ampelhaus Gallery in Oranienbaum are currently presenting a new exploration of the virtues of salvaging, re-using and recycling. An exploration that also includes new, unexpected insights into, around and through the Ampelhaus.

Established in 2011 the Ampelhaus is a summer seasonal centre for contemporary art and design – largely Dutch, but not exclusively. The 2014 exhibition Unter Zwischen im Ampelhaus features contributions from over 20 artists and designers including, for example, Dirk Vander Kooij, Studio Makkink & Bey, Ron van der Ende or Claudy Jongstra. Berlin design is represented by Bora Hong, Birgit Severin and Bram Braam.

In addition to the works on show the other highlight of the exhibition is the house itself, a house that is ever so slowly metamorphosing into an autonomous art work in its own right.

Last year Oscar Prinsen famously cut two holes in the ceiling of the Ampelhaus, placed a high stool under each and so made the otherwise non-accessible first floor accessible. This year Oscar is presenting a variation on the theme that allows visitors an exclusive, and original, view of the cellar. In addition Dessau based Face II Face (Anja Wolf & Alma Bekk) have taken over the Ampelhaus attic with a sort of architectural meridian. On account of building regulations the meridian itself sadly cannot be viewed, its genesis can however be enjoyed on video.

All other projects can, thankfully, be enjoyed up close and personal. And should be.

Unter Zwischen im Ampelhaus can be viewed at Ampelhaus Brauerstrasse 33, 06785 Oranienbaum until September 20th.

A few impressions…..