Yesterday evening I attended the opening of Stadtmuseum Berlin’s new exhibition: “Tanz auf dem Vulkan” (Dancing on the Volcano) – Berlin’s “Golden Twenties” as reflected in art and design. The Weimar Republic (a historical epoch defined as extending from 1918, the end of WWI, to 1933, the year when Adolf Hitler became German chancellor) is one of the most interesting, complex and, of course, pivotal periods in German history.
Tanz auf dem Vulkan approaches Berlin’s Weimar Republic from a different angle. Rather than analysing the political, social and economical aspects of these fifteen years and what they were leading up to (depressing and very grim since we all know what happened), the exhibition highlights a different side of the Weimar Republic: the hedonistic and colourful lifestyle, culture, art and design of Germany’s capital in the Roaring Twenties.
As expected, last weekend’s DMY International Design Festival was very interesting indeed. The organizers had selected a different location this year: DMY 2015 was held in Kraftwerk, an old power station which was originally built in the early 1960s. It was the first time I’d actually visited the Kraftwerk; I knew it only as a location for events, exhibitions and concerts and the building also hosts legendary techno music club Tresor.
We’re talking major industrial charm here, lots of towering concrete, pipes everywhere, slightly gothic and very atmospheric – a bit of a contrast to the soaring spaces of Tempelhof’s airport hangars from last year but still very effective. Made for some stunning photos! The festival featured five official sections this year – Showroom (for established designers and brands), Education (for design school and universities), Lab (for up-and-coming young talents), Berliner Zimmer (“Berlin Room”, a special area for Berlin-based designers) and DMY Store, a shopping area for design fans.
June is going to be such a busy month! In addition to the annual DMY International Design Festival next weekend (11th to 14th June 2015, I have my press accreditation already and have been looking forward to this festival for weeks!), there are two more fabulous events that are taking place in Berlin this month: Berlin Food Art Week 2015 and Green Market Berlin, the city’s first Vegan lifestyle market.
It’s that time of year again: Cyberfest, Russia’s biggest new media festival, is back in town! The first Cyberfest took place in St. Petersburg eight years ago. Last November, Cyberfest came to Berlin and took up residence in art house The Wye for a week of fabulous digital music/art/tech exhibitions and events. Check out my Cyberfest 2013 blog article here.
This year the festival returns to Berlin and again The Wye is Cyberfest’s co-organisator. The program promises to be just as interesting as the one last year: From 12th to 15th December, Bethanien gallery in Kreuzberg is hosting a visual art exhibition which presents an overview of contemporary Russian new media/art and at Platoon Kunsthalle in Mitte on 15th December, there is a sound art performance featuring five auditory artists from Russia and Berlin. Should be absolutely worth a visit!
More information is available from Cyberfest creator Cyland Media Lab and on the festival’s Facebook page.
The Red House cultural centre is the second-oldest and the smallest of the three arts spaces. It is a group of compact and attractive red-brick buildings which is located right in the middle of bustling Ximen area.
Songshan Cultural & Creative Park is the most recent and also the biggest of Taipei’s creative locations. Like the Red House and Huashan 1914, the Songshan complex used to be an old industrial site. Built in 1937 as a tobacco factory, Songshan extends over some 6.6 hectares of space. The factory buildings alone include five warehouses, various office buildings and manufacturing halls, an inspection room and a boiler room.
In 2001 the factory complex was designated an important historic location and Taipei’s city government began to develop the site as a creative and cultural design centre. And in 2012, Songshan Cultural & Creative Park was opened with the mission to kindle creativity and innovation, with a particular focus on cross-industry creative projects.
This city has a very cool art and design scene! I knew next to nothing about Taipei (or Taiwan, for that matter) before I visited here, but the creative vein that runs through much of the urban lifestyle is very visible. In many stores you’ll find products and brands that emphasize Taiwanese design and manufacture and there is a strong reflection on the cultural and ethnic heritage of the island.
At the moment, for example, the city is hosting Pulima Art Festival 2014 which celebrates the cultural and musical diversity of Taiwan’s many Aboriginal tribes. I came across this festival when I was visiting Huashan 1914, the oldest of Taipei’s three major cultural & creative locations.
And this is really what the article is all about: a closer look at Taipei’s creative and design scene focusing on Huashan 1914, the Red House and Songshan Cultural & Creative Park. All three locations are former industrial sites which were transformed into lively (and very stylish!) cultural/art centres. I have split the article into three individual posts to improve readability. The first installment: Huashan 1914!
Although I spent a lot of time in retail-oriented places, my stay in Tokyo wasn’t just about shopping and cosmetics! A few days before I flew to Taipei, I visited Tokyo Designers Week, an international design festival which started out in Tokyo in 1985 as a trade show for interior and product design. Over the years the event has expanded to take in fashion, music, anime, films, digital art….you name it, TDW has it.
Tokyo Designers Week in 2014 was bigger than ever. The event covered four central themes – design, art, fashion and music – and brought together an inspiring and very diverse range of art and design from all over the world. The structure of TDW was rather complex, with a dozen separate exhibition spaces, an arts and craft market and an extensive schedule of workshops, talks, events and performances. And there were so many innovative, imaginative, weird, spectacular and just plain beautiful artworks, exhibits and installations that my head was still buzzing the next day!
It is Berlin Art Week again! From 16th September to 21th September the city is dominated by, well, art. There are exhibitions, performance, screenings, gallery walks and conferences at different venues in Berin – and this weekend, in Kaufhaus Jandorf in Berlin’s Mitte district, was the Positions Berlin art fair. Continue reading
And again Berlin’s Tempelhof airport hosted a very cool exhibition. The DMY International Design Festival 2014 presented an fantastic range of inventions, creative ideas and product concepts. The old airport space is a very effective frame for this type of event – huge industrial halls and lots of soaring space. The opening night of the DMY Festival, Wednesday 28th May 2014, was packed: food and drinks stalls, DJs, crowds of people everywhere; a great party atmosphere. And amazing design wherever you looked.