Swiss Style: The Prequel

At last – Eye Magazine #95 has arrived on my Berlin doorstep. Always a pleasure to look at and read, I feel honoured to have contributed a book review to this issue. Dorothea Hofmann’s “Die Geburt eines Stils” (The Birth of a Style) examines the influence of the Basel education model on Swiss Graphic Design. Find out more at eye magazine and Triest Verlag.

Easy Language

As many Berlin expats can confirm, German is not an easy language to learn, due to its complicated grammar. What if you simplified the language in order for it to be understood by more people? This is a personal essay about my experiences with the concept of `easy language´ and the controversy it is causing in Germany.  Continue reading “Easy Language”

Design Thinking Kids Club

What would a school look like if young people and children were designing it? That is what we were trying to find out in this project. For a whole term, I was working with students of the Berlin Bilingual Secondary School in our Design-Thinking-Kids-Club on making their school an even better place.

The Club aimed to raise the creative confidence of its members and teach them tools to enable them to shape their surroundings. Not only because this is useful for their future, but also because we were curious about their ideas.

Based loosely on Design Thinking methods, the open process steered towards a goal decided on by the students. My role consisted of structuring the design process and moving it towards  atangible result. The activities of the club were documented in detail on the project website www.design-thinking-kids.de (in German).

How can we improve daily life at our bilingual secondary school? The students of year eight and nine edged their way towards answers with practical exercises in weekly workshops. After intensive field studies, the students defined their own challenge: How can we create and run a food dispenser in the school, so that students do not go hungry anymore? And how can we make it useful for the whole school?

We bought an old dispenser on Ebay and the students started cleaning it and testing what items would fit into it.

Then they worked on designing the appearance of the automat and came up with a name for it.

The outcome of their work is called fOOd-i, a food dispenser and service based community tool for the school.

At the end of term, fOOd-i was presented to the general public at the annual Summer party to great acclaim.

The Design Thinking Kids booklet charts the ups, downs and outcome of working with students from grades eight and nine on a challenge of their own choosing. If you are interested in the booklet (in German), write me an e-mail.

The Design-Thinking-Kids Club took place at the Berlin Bilingual Secondary School in the Summerterm 2016 and was funded by the Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung. For more details visit the Club’s website www.design-thinking-kids.de.

The People on Top

I needed a break. It had worn me out to concern myself, hourly, with depressing events that had no immediate and direct influence on my life and which I could not control in any way. So three weeks ago I decided to stop checking the news online and my virtual world became peaceful.

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Graphic Design in the GDR

Back from holiday, I was excited to find the new Eye Magazine in my post box – with my review of the exhibition “Masse und Klasse: Graphic Design in the GDR” on page 86. If you are in Berlin and have not seen the exhibition, you still have until August 29, 2016 to visit the Werkbundarchiv – Museum of Things and catch a glimpse of the everyday visual culture of East Germany. The finissage will take place on Saturday 27 with an expert talk about GDR records. See you there?

Where to Study?

CSM_collection_rose_epple

During my recent talk at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, I mentioned my sense of wonder and liberation when I came to study there. “I am feeling the same”, a young German student told me after the lecture. Like me, she had come on a scholarship and had already experienced a few years of German design education. Like me, she was dreading to go back. So what is it that makes British design education for people like me so different, so appealing?

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Mirror on the Wall

While in Lisbon for the We-Traders opening, I had the chance of interviewing Diogo Lopes, renowned Portuguese architect and one of the founders of O Espelho (The Mirror), a wall newspaper in Lisbon. The article I wrote subsequently about this exciting publishing experiment has just been published on Eye Magazine Blog.

From Bauhaus to Betahaus

My recent lecture for Shapeshifters in Brussels, provided me with a good excuse to look at my work from the last decade and try to make sense of it all. Am I still the same designer as ten years ago? No, I have changed and so has the design world around me. Roughly, I would sum up this change as a move from form to process.

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City Planning as Pastime

„Children live in cities and they won´t get out of them“, says Alf Howlid from Norsk Form. For most of them, the city starts on the other side of their apartment door. Beyond this threshold lies an outside which is perceived as slightly threatening and out of their control. Children do not think of the city as flexible, not as something that can be shaped by them. Yet, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are “entitled to have a say in matters affecting their social, economic, religious, cultural and political life“, which applies no doubt to city planning. So, what tools do we need to get them involved? Continue reading “City Planning as Pastime”

The Working Book

Technology has changed the places where people work. Or rather, technology has enabled people to work in other places than at a desk in an office. Nowadays you can work in your bed, on the street, in your car, in the air port lounge. Given that, do people still need office buildings?

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Inter Versus Multi

Scenography is per se an area where a multitude of disciplines come to work together. In order to create a compelling exhibition experience for the visitor you have to consider space, movement, objects, words, orientation, surface, light, sound,  emotions, products and the translation of physical space into printed matter and digital space.

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Writing About Exhibitions

From years of trying to find the right person to write adequately about our exhibition designs, I know how difficult it is to describe the design of a room with words. In my opinion, the writer needs to accomplish three things:

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