serpentine londongarden planThe Serpentine Gallery (London) is famous for its temporary pavilions. This year’s architect Peter Zumthor from Haldenstein in Switzerland has created a walled garden together with landscape architect Piet Oudhof. The Pritzker jury praised Mr. Zumthor’s use of materials. “In Zumthor’s skillful hands, like those of the consummate craftsman, materials from cedar shingles to sandblasted glass are used in a way that celebrates their own unique qualities, all in the service of an architecture of permanence. Mr. Zumthor believes architecture is not about paper, it’s not about forms. It’s about space and material.”

lego church enschedeTemporary monuments like the lego church by filip jonker and the state of being permanent: Some objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched. And according to developmental-psychology experiencing an object triggers lasting impressions an are an essential step in the memorization process.
lego church in a boxArt as a social practice, art as an agency in a matrix of agencies that create change. Art needs to be understood within a set of social practices from which it has too often become disconnected. Sometimes we mystify art so much, we no longer understand it in this way. In other words art is also necessary, because it can help and be part of other socio-political and economic changes.

british art councilArt is a means of achieving knowledge we don’t already have, of ourselves, of each other, how we interact, how separate worlds come together. “Through the productive moment together, we know more about the states of our lives and the world.” Paul Heritage , an alchemist of the impossible, is practicing this belief by running Safer Sex workshops using drama in (Brazilian) prisons.

Collaborative consumption.

apple bans game-appSharing is the new way to posses , access is more important than ownership. The Italian developer Molleindustria tried to impact the world by four mini-games about the “troubling supply chain” behind smartphones f.i. coltan extraction in Congo. One of the mini-games sees workers leaping from their factory building: a clear reference to suicides and attempted suicides by workers at Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn. His satirical game Phone Story was banned from Apple’s app-store. Appearantly Apple feared the social impact of this game.

Social impact is the outcome of three drivers (SIT) in a social structure: strength/intensity: the importance of the source, in social network terms the status gained by followers that amplify your message; immediacy: the delay or distortion in the interaction, the number of links in the distribution of the message, or the amount of followers who see the original message and total number, the reach or amount of people that   learn about the message (and agree with ‘like’ it). The three criteria for are dreived from the Dynamic Social Impact Theory (DSIT) by Bibb Latené (1996) a theory about the bottum-up creation of culture by communication.

personal spacehortus conclusesTwo cultures stand out when it comes to gardening: UK and Japan. If we perceive a garden as something that can create a lasting impression and combine that with the social impact on its culture paradox appears when its lined up with the need for personal space. a.nikopol hortus conclusesIn general the westerners like to keep their distance especially from strangers, in the east people are in general less bothered by the physical closeness of others. Could it be that because they have a closed-garden to meditate or reflect about their own place in the world that they are less troubled with close-encounters in he outside world? And if extrapolated: could closed communities help us to interact more and create a more open attitude to other opinions?


Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp


Basic functional forms combined with sheer handicraft seem to be the top runner, not only for architects, but also fashion, retail and other designed items. Back to basics is something the modernist painters also had in mind when they tried to capture the bare essence of art (a madonna with child could be stripped to a triangle). An essential component of this new modest-luxury is skill. Skilled professionals working together to achieve innovative solutions by mixing and combining traditional handicraft with science. The common denominator seems to be a renewed interest in knowledge or better “the knowhow of people”. Not the “i can google-knowledge” but the “in your fingertips knowledge”. The knowing of knowledge seems to gain respect and might be the essential element to be and stay innovative and original. Since you never can know all about everything, focus is necessary together with a passion for detail. To more tiny your object of interest is, the sooner you can become an expert.  You can spread your expertise by applying and combining it with other practices. Experimenting with the use of your discipline helps you to keep an open attitude and will open up new markets. Les Ateliers de la Maille mixes soya with cashmere and labels it ‘nature-a-porter’. G-star mixes original cotton with nettle. The Tilburg Textile Museum has an exhibition about the relation between use and used fabrics and shows visitors how to evaluatie the quality of textile by looking at the fabric, yarns and the technique used to construct a piece. certified organicCosmetics is all about pure ingredients and their salutary effects. To grow specific herbaceous borders is no longer a strange hobby, even florists create beneficial bouquet of flowers. Like in the book by Vanessa Diffenbaugh about the Victorian language of flowers.

special interest outlives style

The Bauhaus movement no longer exists. It was decimated under the Third Reich. Its principles of design, however, live on—but they are becoming more and more diluted with the passage of time. Now that even third-rate furniture supermarkets offer lamps and end tables “in Bauhaus style,” there is every reason to be concerned about the fate of the Bauhaus. In contrast to the Bauhaus, the Deutscher Werkbund coalition, founded in 1907, was never a school, but rather a kind of special interest group. And what’s more, the Werkbund continues to exist. Whereas the Bauhaus sought to develop and establish a particular style, the Werkbund already in its early years fought for the implementation of modern modes of production in order to (a) make quality goods more affordable and (b) develop innovative designs that extend the lifetime of the products and liberate them from the dictates of fashion and fleeting tastes.

That industrial products should are well-designed, even to the extent that they are considered worthy of being put on display in museums, is due in large part to the impact of the Deutscher Werkbund, one of the most important and most influential institutions of the 20th century. Yet, at the same time, surprisingly few actually know about the Werkbund. Perhaps this is because its demands for “good form” and durably constructed products made affordable for the general consumer have come to be taken for granted. The Deutscher Werkbund has always striven and continues to strive for improvement in the quality of all industrially-produced items. In so doing, they seek to realize “harmonious culture,” founded on the concept of a comprehensively crafted Gesamtkunstwerk. Both artisan handicraft and mechanical production have their place and should each be utilized in those areas where they are most advantageous.

urban interventionurban interventionThe difference between graffiti and urban art is a thin line. The mayor of Amsterdam wants to fight “this pollution of public spaces” by banning graffiti. At the same time there is a movement that asks for more freedom to use the public space as “free-art podia”. Both sides appeal to the quality of life to raise support for their ideas; research supports both sides. The solution might be found in creating a clean and creative environment to stimulate community involvement.  The difference of opinion is (or should be) based on the means to establish these conditions. urban artThe paradox is that the discussion about community engagement looks a lot like the corporate issue of entrepreneurship. You cannot force people to be entrepreneurial, as much as you cannot force people to be creative by standardizing the ways to express their community involvement. The discussion should not be about the rules but about the interpretation of rules. Legal certainty is a myth and an illusion as soon as you also want to adhere to the dynamics of justice and fairness. The discussion about whether graffiti is pollution or participatory art “through which publics constitute themselves and experience something extraordinary” is actually a definition of urban intervention and might be better off in the hands of the community in question. How you gather “the crowds opinion” about the esthetics of urban space might express the spirit of the community better and be a much more worthwhile a discussion than the definition of what is or is not true urban art.

Frederic Chaubin has recorded bizarre constructions that do not fit in standard construction categories. These humongous artefacts of sovjet architecture were build between 1970-1990. He was swayed by their austere and absorbing appeal. Their futuristic design and intriguing names (like: Ministry of Expressways, or Igor Vasilevsky‘s sanatorium at Jalta beach) made him think of spaceships waiting to be launched into orbit.Most of these buildings are in decay, which adds to their magic. The book CCCP-cosmic communist constructions suggests that these buildings are a remainder of the dismantled power of Moscow. But it might just as well be a result from the material used or the mystery of what happened inside those buildings. Radio Kootwijk in the Netherlands is a likewise building where radio-technicians used to study the stars and created the first image of the Milkyway. What can we learn from these buildings that make such a overwhelming impression? What is the magical element that rouses its astonishing impact? It can hardly be their beauty, although esthetics are personal opinions, i guess it has something to do with our curiosity the playful element of discovery and the thrill of knowing there is a story to be found. Imagination is a powerful ingredient of engagement – it is one of the organizing principles of (fan)groups. And maybe a hint for designers to also design for the imperfect.

VG NorwayfoursquareDigital distribution of information and the iphone and ipad create a new breed of readers. Information can take shape in more formats than ever before: text, video, sound, graphics etc. Reading is more and more a visual act. Reading used to give you a view on things, where watching was perceived as processing of an existing image. Since we realised that a word is not only text but also an image and reading has become browsing, we are much better equipped to incorporate and combine visual stimuli. Data has become abundant thus the opportunity to sell the presentation of information as a product or application is created. That the added value of information products is also created by the way it is designed is not new, visual (or graphic) design has (always) been a profession. street art appcrowdsourcingNew is the retainment from a rigid shape. The information is offered to us in an optional way, you can play and combine the elements to create your own picture. Whether it is the mix and match of real-time streams, or the selection of layers you open. A whole new breed of visual information is being created and with it our competence to understand how it is used or is influencing us.

links: Norwegian newspaper, Foursquare statistics, information design, i read where i am (book by graphic design museum & institute for network cultures), infographicsvisual complexity, nextdesign leadership institute (not a website but a combination of linkedin conversation, issuu archive and twitterstream)

Heureka Jean Tinguelythe hague chinaThe summer is the season for open(air) art exhibitions. At eye-catching locations sculptures arise to enlighten passers-by. One of the arguments to organise these temporary exhibitions is that the city or neighborhood can show-off their dedication to the arts or the artists. And usually it truly lifts the spirit of the square or street and you kind of miss the sculptures when they are gone. People gather around the sculptures to discuss their likes or dislikes of the exhibited objects. If a theme is used this might add to the depth of the debate, like The Hague Sculpture with monumental sculptures and installations by Chinese world-class sculptors that shows that Chinese contemporary art has taken the international art market by storm. Although this is art in an urban context, it differentiates from urban art. Urban art emerges from the environment and reflects or comments on their surrounding. It therefore has more connection to its environment and has potential to start another conversation. the hague chinaMaybe you can compare it with push and pull marketing, or corporate websites and interactive platforms. And if so, we might learn a lesson for activation (or should i say how to lever traffic). If the actual statement you want to make is rooted in the natural environment you can engage people to see things your way and maybe make them curious for more.



piano stairs odenplannam june paikFun and functional blend very well together. The piano-stair: 66% more people chose the stairs over the escalator. More inspiration on dinablog or the website of the fun theory that is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour. miktor and molf poolprojectL van Munster FoxOur brains are designed to detect problems, which makes us prone to be problemthinkers. By adding an emotional cue you can add a new perspective to tasks or activities and get messages across in an energizing way. It can also be applied to attitudinal innovations. nam june paikLike Nam June Paik did with his music performance Zen for the head or his TV-buddah.

treehouse leonard van munsterLeonard van Munster creates concepts that create an alternate his “under heaven” objects. At unexpected locations he creates objects that create an escapism for peoples thoughts. Little harbours that help you dream about how it could be.. a kind of self-made augmented reality.