Project, 18.10.2016

Crossing Geographical and Cultural Borders
The Veddel Embassy in Venice
18. – 22.10.2016

On the occasion of the 15th International Architecture exhibition in Venice, the Goethe-Institut organised the program Performing Architecture comprising five projects that are closely connected to this year’s exhibition in the German Pavilion. Merging architecture, choreography and the performing arts, the series of events seeks to address a set of pressing questions. How does a multicultural society change a city? How do people with diverse cultural, religious, social and political backgrounds encounter one another, and how can they all make an adopted city their shared home? The focal point of this year’s programme is the project “The Veddel Embassy: Representing Germany”. The temporary embassy will bring the migratory, multicultural reality of the Hamburg district of Veddel to Venice to offer a space for discourse and cultural exchange. What used to be the departure point for German emigrants in the past, is now an arrival quarter. All migration movements of the last 70 years have passed through the area of Veddel; immigrants from over sixty different countries have been living here for generations in peaceful coexistence, forming a new society. Around 60 inhabitants of the small island in the river Elbe will come to Venice for a week and invite everyone to become part of an enriching process. The Veddel Embassy will turn into a place of enlightening encounters. Delving into the reality of life on Veddel conveys an idea of what the future holds for Germany as an immigration country. In Venice, the residents present their projects, ideas, ideals, and their home in order to form a substantial discussion with both the international guests of the Biennale as well as with the multicultural citizens of Venice.

Project, 12.10.2016

Weltentwerfen – Friedrich von Borries


Entwerfen ist das Gegenteil von Unterwerfen. Entwerfen. Unterwerfen. Alles, was gestaltet ist, unterwirft uns unter seine Bedingungen. Gleichzeitig befreit uns das Gestaltete aus dem Zustand der Unterwerfung, der Unterworfenheit. Design schafft Freiheit, Design ermöglicht Handlungen, die zuvor nicht möglich oder nicht denkbar waren. Indem es dies tut, begrenzt es aber auch den Möglichkeitsraum, weil es neue Bedingungen schafft. Alles, was gestaltet ist, entwirft und unterwirft. Design ist von dieser sich bedingenden und ausschließenden Gegensätzlichkeit grundlegend geprägt. Diese dem Design inhärente Dichotomie ist nicht nur eine gestalterische, sondern eine politische. Sie bedingt Freiheit und Unfreiheit, Macht und Ohnmacht, Unterdrückung und Widerstand. Sie ist das politische Wesen von Design.

Das Buch erscheint am 29.10.2016 bei edition suhrkamp

Feature, 03.10.2016

Rêveries Urbaines
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec share their ideal urban settings
08.10.2016 – 22.01.2017

Studio Bouroullec

Studio Bouroullec

Internationally renowned industrial designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec elucidate their thoughts on urban development and public spaces by presenting a diverse body of work and the results of their ongoing research at the Vitra Fire Station. What can be seen as a wide-ranging study of possible development solutions for cities, the exhibition Rêveries Urbaines seeks to list new forms and concepts that may be imagined in various urban settings. Like glimpsing inside the brothers’ notebooks, the proposed solutions are revealed to visitors as they wander through models and animations, immersing themselves in different scenarios and urban fictions. Unlike the duo’s usual domestic approach to design and focus on the individual, the exhibited proposals solely concentrate on public spaces and the relationship between inhabitant and city. The metamorphosis of spaces through lines, harmony and transparency aims to give a new sense of magic to the places in our cities where we walk, meet and talk. The designers’ “dreamscapes” take into consideration pre-established urban functions and remind us of a new direction in the connection between buildings, the quality of a pavement, where a fountain is situated, the planting of a jungle; all the elements that city dwellers should care about in order to add more charm to the city.

“The exhibition presents our open and abundant research, a ‘pragmatic reverie’ that is designed to exist in public spaces.” – Ronan

“In our work, no project is dedicated to a particular person or place. The exhibition brings together propositions for developing public spaces that have an element of abstraction. They reply to a question that is not completely clear. It is in this vacuum that? our propositions could be potentially re-imagined on site.” – Erwan


Project, 01.10.2016

Forecast: The next generation
of creative thinkers and influencers
Open call 01.10. – 30.11.2016

Forecast mentors

Forecast mentors

Supporting pioneering ideas is at the core of Forecast, an international platform that calls on creative minds from diverse fields to submit their proposals and collaborate with six highly esteemed mentors. Now in its second edition, Forecast encourages public discussions on the ideas of the future and offers fertile ground for the growth of outstanding projects. Thus, a shared space to come together and exchange views is created, within which synergetic efforts bring forth innovation. The platform and its accompanying festival transcend the boundaries of disciplines to provide insight into creative production processes, and make room for the questions that are on the minds of the next generation of trailblazers. Until 30 November, creative minds from anywhere in the world working in various disciplines are urged to submit their proposals for consideration. Thirty finalists will discuss their ideas and present them to the public at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) during the Forecast Forum in March 2017. At the end of the forum, the six mentors will each select one concept, which they will accompany to fruition. Finally, the outcome of these collaborations will be presented during October 2017, at the Forecast Festival at the HKW.

Project, 28.09.2016

BNKR: Reflections on art and architecture inside a former bunker


BNKR München, Hochbunker. photo: hiepler brunier.

BNKR München, Hochbunker. photo: hiepler brunier.

After the Second World War, military edifices constructed for protective purposes were left abandoned and consumed by dismal emptiness. Germany, in particular, is replete with bunkers that in recent years have assumed a variety of new roles, from residential spaces to cultural institutions. One such concrete behemoth built in 1943 in Munich’s Ungererstrasse, houses BNKR, a multifaceted art space offering room for present-day visions without ignoring the past. The main focus of BNKR’s programme is to instigate reflection on our present reality in the realms of art, design and architecture. In the contemporary transformation of the bunker, with its new use and orientation as an art space, an unavoidable tension is created that oscillates between remembering and forgetting, past and future. The project was founded in 2014 , in order to give a format to art and architecture, to promote exchange and dialogue. BKNR collaborates with external curators over the course of one year to develop a programme that uses exhibitions, performances, lectures, discussions, film screenings, concerts and more to raise questions situated in the notion of the ‘in-between’, whether that’s referring to time, space or mental states. Currently on show, the solo exhibition Urban Shelter by Annett Zinsmeister examines the specific history, meaning and transience of shelters.

Feature, 20.09.2016

Thicker than Water. Family concepts in contemporary art – Exhibition at Kunstpalais Erlangen
24.09. – 27.11.2016

Candice Breitz, Factum Jacob, 2010 / Verena Jaeckel, New York City, 15.04.2006, 2006

Candice Breitz, Factum Jacob, 2010 / Verena Jaeckel, New York City, 15.04.2006, 2006

Is blood thicker than water after all? The widely known proverb implies that family relationships are stronger than friendships and should never be substituted by the latter. However, a new exhibition at the Kunstpalais in Erlangen titled Thicker than Water: Family concepts in contemporary art seeks to challenge this dogmatic opinion by initiating a discussion on the meaning of family within the ever-evolving contemporary society. In order to delve deeper into how the classical family structures have changed over recent years, the exhibition has invited the artists Candice Breitz, Simon Fujiwara, Badr el Hammami & Fadma Kaddouri, Nan Goldin, Verena Jaekel, Haejun Jo, Nina Katchadourian, Ragnar Kjartansson, Neozoon, Johannes Paul Raether, Gillian Wearing and Tobias Yves Zintel to present their understanding of the term through pieces of art. Developments in technology, and the appearance and acceptance of new lifestyles influence the broad social debate about family, leading to question whether the term is now open to all individual interpretations. Taking into consideration that familia, the Latin origin of the word, translates to household, the exhibition suggests that the term could refer to a community based on voluntary commitment rather than blood relations. Therefore, the main question that arises is: Is family nowadays based on a personal choice and no longer a genetic chance? The exhibition will be accompanied by a conference inviting speakers from sociology, art history, literature and cultural studies to discuss this interdisciplinary topic.

Feature, 19.09.2016

The retrospective Alexander Girard:
A Designer’s Universe unveils the iconic designer’s oeuvre
12.03.2016 – 22.01.2017

Miller House, Columbus, Indiana, USA, 1953-1957, photo: Balthazar Korab of The Library of Congress / arm chair No. 66310, 1967, series production by Herman Miller Furniture Co., collection Vitra Design Museum, photo: Copyright Vitra Design Museum, Jürgen Hans / Exhibition catalogue

Miller House, Columbus, IN, USA, 1953-1957, photo: Balthazar Korab of The Library of Congress / arm chair No. 66310, 1967, series production by Herman Miller Furniture Co., collection Vitra Design Museum, photo: Copyright Vitra Design Museum, Jürgen Hans / Exhibition catalogue

“My greatest enjoyment and satisfaction in the solution of any project is uncovering the latent fantasy and magic in it.” — Alexander Girard

Alexander Girard, one of the most seminal and prolific designers of the 20th century, has left a rich cultural legacy spanning a wide array of disciplines including graphic, interior, exhibition and furniture design. More than anything, it’s Girard’s renowned textile designs that have elevated him to the highest ranks of design and to a classic status. Known for his playful ideas which attest to a passion for colours, adornment and international folk art, Girard’s creations are characteristically replete with aplomb and theatricality. His forward-thinking designs and charisma derived from an unwavering insouciance and not taking things too seriously, a mentality which directly related to his constant hankering after travels, immersing in different cultures and curiously exploring the unknown. When talking about his obsession with folk art, Girard said, “I think that I saw it as a way to recapture all the wonderful enthusiasm and the spirit of discovery that we experience as children but generally lose as we grow older.” “For Girard, design was not to be ruled by asceticism, but by joy, a lust for life, and the celebration of the everyday,” writes Mateo Kries, director of the Vitra Design Museum which presents the first major retrospective on the visionary designer. Titled Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universeand running until 29 January 2017, the exhibition presents his oeuvre with a never-before-shown multitude of textiles, furnishings, objects and personal documents and drawings. The show aims to reveal Girard’s multi-faceted vision, sources of inspiration and the contemporaries who influenced his creative cosmos—from his extensive collection of folk art to his collaborations with Charles & Ray Eames.

Project, 06.09.2016

abc art berlin contemporary
15. – 18.09.2016

CREDITS Christopher Roth – I Am In Paris, 2015, Courtesy: the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin Photo: © Andrea Rossetti / Andreas Schulze – Untitled (Vacanze/Son) , 2016, Copyright Andreas Schulze / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers  / SIMON MULLAN – Franz, 2016, Photo: Jens Ziehe, Copyright Simon Mullan, Courtesy DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM, Berlin) / Saâdane Afif – Installation view from the series L’Eternité, Courtesy the artist and Mehdi Couakri / Sean Snyder – Mnemonic Equation (Level 3), 2015 – 2016, Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Neu, Berlin

The maxim remains the same: one gallery, one artist. This September, the 9th edition of abc art berlin contemporary will return to Station Berlin, continuing its commitment to a format that places the artist and their presentation of work at the center. Founded by a group of Berlin galleries, abc invites around 60 national and international galleries to showcase solo presentations of artists within their program. abc’s continual development and transformation reflects characteristic features of the city—a passion for experimentation and openness to evolution and change. On Friday night—which is the Gallery Night (16 September)—all participating Berlin-based galleries will open their doors to invite collectors, curators and art enthusiasts into their spaces and exhibitions. While on the following Saturday and Sunday afternoon, a series of talks and performances involving artists, curators and galleries will allow the public to gain a deeper insight into specific topics and works. Find the entire program of events here. A complete list of this year’s participating galleries and artists can be found here.

Feature, 19.07.2016

Design Display – Positions in Contemporary Design
Exhibition #2: Muji Cutlery and Modern Shelf
June – October 2016

Photos Ingo Mittelstaed
Photos: Ingo Mittelstaedt

Two objects facing each other in a glass display case like two protagonists in a state of momentary inertia right before delivering their lines on stage. The objects’ potential functions, and aesthetic qualities encourage the viewer to further dissect their characteristics and initiate a dialogue. And that’s precisely Design Display’s objective: the exhibition series at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg seeks to demonstrate the role design plays in our daily lives and to proliferate discussions about its social and political dimensions. Every four months, Design Display presents a new exhibition featuring two design projects, and releases an accompanying magazine that mimics the duality of the setting while delving deeper into the chosen subject through essays and opinion pieces. Starting in July 2016, the new exhibition’s pervading theme is “simplicity”—an underlying design principle that for many is the key to happiness in objects, embodied through abstinence, reduction and focusing on the essentials. For this iteration, the glass case is inhabited by Jasper Morrison’s cutlery for Muji and Rafael Horzon’s Modern shelf. A constant conceptual thread in Morrison’s work, the act of simplifying is evident in his designs for the Japanese company. Cutlery should first and foremost feel good in the hand—the simple and simultaneously elegant form is not an end in itself but instead derives from its use. On the opposing end of the glass rectangle, we find a shelving unit that suggests a different kind of simplicity, one that’s based on the notion of quick, easy and inexpensive design. Horzon’s Modern shelf stands as an ode to material reduction with hints of humour and irony. Albeit ordinary and unremarkable, Horzon’s storage unit puts emphasis on the importance of the basic and the narrative behind its creation. For more information on the exhibition series visit Design Display’s website.

Feature, 13.07.2016

Wehrhahn Line Dusseldorf




Heinrich-Heine-Allee; netzwerkarchitekten and the artist Ralf Brög. Photo Jörg Hempel

Following its opening to the public in February 2016, Dusseldorf’s Wehrhahn line is now in full use and worth revisiting to dissect its singular aspects in more detail. Fifteen years in the making, the recently acquired U-bahn expansion is a refreshing approach to inner-city mobility and a nod to the future possibilities of public transport aesthetics. Collectively designed by artists, architects and engineers from the very outset, the ambitious project offers an unparalleled art and architecture experience to commuters who are invited to immerse themselves in soundscapes, geometric animations and sculptural installations. Here art is not merely showcased on the walls but it has deeply infiltrated the entire structure—each of the line’s six stations have become pieces of art complete with their own thematic character but also seamlessly incorporated in an all-encompassing system. And that’s certainly not the norm when it comes to public transport—the line’s overarching concept initiates a dialogue between disciplines that’s visually perceptible throughout. From acoustic impulses, sound bites and interactive installations to a planetary underworld dedicated to outer space and poetic texts transformed into sculptures, the line’s stops highly elevate the long-neglected notion of the subway. At the Heinrich-Heine-Allee station, artist Ralf Brög designed the three entrances as visual and acoustic venues for the performance of changing sound compositions—an “Auditorium”, a “Theater” and a “Laboratory”. Each of the three model spaces boasts a high-quality sound system, enabling the most wide-ranging acoustic interventions possible. 

Space is the place at Benrather Strasse where sculptor Thomas Stricker embedded the vastness of the universe with its tranquility and weightlessness into the confined space of a subway station. To achieve the impression of flying in outer space, stainless steel panels cover the walls and lend the station a futuristic dull, metallic sheen. Like droplets, the dots stamped in the panels fall from the walls, forming a matrix or a kind of Braille that can be identified as encrypted letters while media walls act as windows to the universe.

Benrather Str

Benrather Straße, netzwerkarchitekten and the artist Thomas Stricker. Photo Jörg Hempel

At Schadowstrasse, Ursula Damm has created an interactive installation featuring a large screen displaying the real-time movements of passersby on the city surface transformed through a computer program into visualised data. The constantly shifting dynamic of the ‘outside world’ is presented to those waiting for the next train below. Small virtual creatures build a temporary, fluctuating architecture from the kinetic energy that emerges and vanishes with the city’s daily rhythms.

Schadowstraße; netzwerkarchitekten and the artist Ursula Damm. Photos Ursula Damm and Jörg Hempel

Schadowstraße; netzwerkarchitekten and the artist Ursula Damm. Photos Ursula Damm and Jörg Hempel

Another crucial element of this feat is the complete absence of advertisements and any sort of commercial placement. Thus, the individual stations become calm public spaces that alleviate commuting stress, render urban movement more pleasurable, and slow down the frenetic pace. Admittedly, exemplary underground stops are nothing new in the map of so-called “art stations”—in Naples the Toledo stop covered in blue-hued mosaics pays tribute to the aquatic world; Stockholm’s Solna station emits the ambience of a villain’s lair complete with a cavernous interior; while in Moscow the Komsomolskaya stop competes with the theatrical flair of opulent palaces. What’s unprecedented about Dusseldorf’s Wehrhan line is that these “art stations” are not merely stand-alone architectural projects but are part of a holistic network that seamlessly connects all six stops under one conceptual direction, creating a multifarious experience.

In a special edition published by Kerber Verlag, the impressive undertaking in public transport is thoroughly presented through photos and text elaborating on the project and the visions of the people involved. The Wehrhahn line is also accompanied by a newly launched website that delves into the line’s concept, process and distinctive characteristics—have a look here.