Taste and Place

A new kind of book for Design Hotels™

studio_lovell’s conceptual rethink for the Design Hotels™ book series starts with a new volume dedicated entirely to food. Containing specially-commissioned essays from respected writers – including LinYee Yuan, Gisela Williams, Ursula Heinzelmann and Nicholas Gill – “Taste and Place” is an editorially-led circular journey exploring the connectivity between food and locality, provenance, production, people, landscape and architecture, all from a big-picture perspective. Editorial concept and editors-in-chief: Sophie and Orlando Lovell.

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Hotels are unique storytelling hubs. They are defined by travel, but also by locality. Hotels are the first ports of call for the traveller to encounter first-hand new places, people, produce, cultures, tastes and techniques. And what better way to experience a visceral connection—a “taste of place”—than through food?

So Taste and Place: The Design Hotels™ Book is a food book with a difference. It takes the reader on a global journey with contributions from leading food writers, upcoming chefs and culinary innovators through examples of forward-looking ideas and inspirational practices. And all of this from a different perspective: a widening of the beam of focus to help show that if you pull on one string, you move all the others.

The book’s broad and inclusive embrace of food is richly illustrated with surprising examples found in and around selected Design Hotels™ locations. The stories in this volume go beyond the dish, the kitchen and the dining room. They explore the connectivity between food and locality, provenance, production, people, landscape and architecture from a holistic perspective. They are the binding agents for sharing new encounters with Design Hotels™’ readers, guests and hoteliers.

From regional terroir through the kitchen to the community, the stories gathered from special people behind the scenes, include tales and methods of self-production, social engagement, collaborative work practice, respect for cultures and ingredients, rethinking food waste and visionary big-picture hospitality.

From a big picture perspective, the mother and daughter team Sophie and Orlando Lovell of studio_lovell developed and edited this book for Design Hotels to encompass connective storytelling by respected writers, including LinYee Yuan, Gisela Williams, Ursula Heinzelmann and Nicholas Gill alongside newer talents such as Carla Bragagnini and Jake Potashnick. The journey through the chapters is designed to be a cyclical one of nourishment and renewal.

The themes are visually brought to life with specially commissioned photography from Marina Denisova, Vivek Vadoliya, Robbie Lawrence, Arnaud Montgard, Yuna Yagi, Stephanie Füssenich, Daniel Lober and Maureen Evans, with illustrations by Hanni Pannier. This book is a journey through food and culinary understanding from the terrain of Swiss and Japanese mountains and valleys, via the ancient island of Crete, Umbrian olive groves and the Oaxacan coast, dropping in on young kitchen teams in Ukraine and the Peloponnese along the way as well as exploring innovative practices in the Caribbean, Mexico and Indonesia.

How can we travel responsibly? How can we give back more than we take? As we look for ways to transition from a high-carbon to a low-carbon world, the ecosystem of a hotel seen through the lens of food provides a perfect microcosm to better understand bigger system changes. With this book, we at Design Hotels™ reflect on what we bring to these processes in terms of the hospitality we support and want to see in the future.

 

Archifutures volume 6: Agency

A field guide to reclaiming the future of architecture

“Now is not a time for metaphorical sticking plasters or vanity projects, it is a time for change and a time for action.” With essays, interviews, projects and original works by young practitioners and more established figures, the sixth volume in the Archifutures series for the Future Architecture platform is a call to action for architects, urbanists and designers alike.

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“Now is not a time for metaphorical sticking plasters or vanity projects, it is a time for change and a time for action.”

Archifutures Volume 6: Agency, A field guide to reclaiming the future of architecture is a call to action for architects, urbanists and designers.

With essays, interviews, projects and original works by young practitioners and more established figures alike, this sixth volume in the Archifutures series for the Future Architecture platform is the most activist to date.

The mandate of architects and urbanists today goes way beyond designing buildings, it includes changing behaviour, influencing and impacting policy, and building bottom-up agency with new understandings of value, justice and cultural production. This task is best achieved by sharing not just strategies but also practice – completely openly and freely. This sixth volume of Archifutures, therefore, focuses on emerging narratives and strategies that can help architects adapt their practice towards more effective agency in order to meet the greater, more universal tasks that are upon all of humankind.

It is sometimes hard to have hope in the face of the enormous problems the world is currently facing, but the projects and practices featured in this and the five previous volumes of Archifutures indicate that we already have the ideas and skills to make the necessary changes – but the means for achieving them are unevenly distributed. These projects show ways forward in addressing ecological destruction, racial injustice, housing inequality and landscapes of conflict. They point to new modes of design practice, rethinking what it means to be “an architect” in a world of spatial injustice.

Contributors: 45°, Architects Climate Action Network, Thomas Aquilina, Architekturos Fondas, ateliermob, BC Architects and Studies[BE], Coloco, Critical Practice, Dark Matter Labs, Arturo Franco & Ana Román, Institute for Linear Research, Will Jennings, Constantinos Marcou, Mies. TV, Office of Human Resources, Recetas Urbanas, Jason Rhys Parry, Point Supreme, Proyecto Colectivo, Recetas Urbanas, Marie-Louise Richards, Unfolding Pavilion, Un-war Space Lab, Marina Otero Verzier.

Flughafen Tegel

Essay for a book by photographers Felix Brüggemann and Robert Rieger

Sophie Lovell’s homage to Berlin’s Tegel airport based on an interview with the architect Volkwin Marg, for a photographic book shot during the lockdown in 2020 by Felix Brüggemann and Robert Rieger.

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“During the spring of 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, Berlin Tegel ‘Otto Lilienthal’ Airport looked like a stranded spacecraft. Once a symbol of the fluid mobility of the West and an hommage to both the automobile and the aeroplane, the crowded airport was suddenly completely empty, offering unobstructed views of its singular architecture and myriad of improvised structures…”

TXL The Drive-in Airport

When writing about buildings in Berlin, one is always very conscious of their place in the historical fabric, whether they were damaged or destroyed during the WWII and then rebuilt or repurposed; whether they fill a gap crated by bombs or policy; whether they have a compromised historical past; or whether they had some particular additional representative function when the city was divided between 1946 and 1989. The story of Berlin Tegel “Otto Lilienthal” Airport, to give it its full name, or TXL, to call it by its IATA code, is a classic Berlin city planning and architectural tale in this respect.

After WWII and up until 1989, West Berlin was an island in Cold War Europe that was predominantly connected to the West through the umbilical cord of an “air corridor”, through which people and provisions got in and out to other Western states by air. There was a road route, but it meant travelling through GDR-controlled territory and submitting yourself to checkpoints. Since many residents of West Berlin were refugees from “the East”, this meant their only safe route in and out was by plane. This air route had mythological status from early on thanks to the Stalinist Soviet blockade, which forced the three Western Allies (France, USA and Great Britain) to supply the entire city of two million residents by air alone between June 24, 1948, and May 12, 1949, in an endeavour that became known as the Berlin Airlift.

By the time the 1960s arrived, along with the Berlin Wall, the Jet Age was in full swing and civil traffic was of increasing importance despite no end to the Cold War in sight. It became clear that the air route into Berlin was in need of modernising. West Berlin needed a new international airport: a modern gateway to the rest of the West. But, West Berlin was tiny and suitable location options were in very short supply.  There was only one big, high-capacity airport in West Berlin: Tempelhof Airport, which was close to the city centre. But Tempelhof’s runway was now too short for increasingly modern aircraft and long-haul or fully-laden flights could not land and take off there. It was also built by the Nazis and looked like it, so it was not really the ideal new face of international travel for Berlin.  There was another smaller airbase in the British sector in the South West of the city but its runway was also too short. In the Tegel district, in the French sector, in the northwest of Berlin, however, was a long enough runway to take big international jets. The runway itself was an extraordinary feat of building in its own right: it was constructed mostly by hand in 1948 during the Soviet blockade in just 90 days by tens of thousands of Berliners, half of whom were women.

A suitable runway had been found, now all that was needed was an international airport to go with it. So in the mid-1960s, an international competition was held to design it. Architecture practices from all over the world entered their designs, but the winners of the competition were a pair of young German architects barely out of grad school who had not built anything of any significance to date and barely had a proper office: Meinhard von Gerkan and Volkwin Marg. It was quite a sensation at the time. Today they are better known as Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), and their firm has 13 offices worldwide and over 300 employees. They have designed a myriad of important buildings since, both worldwide and in Berlin, including two other great transport gateways to the city:  the massive multi-level Hauptbahnhof (central station) and the infamous new Berlin Brandenburg Airport “Willy Brandt”, International Airport, known to all as BER (Bay-Ay-Air) built to replace TXL and opening nine years behind schedule – but that is another story.  But back in the mid-sixties, when they won the Tegel competition, they were terra incognita.

“It was our first big project”, explains Volkwin Marg, now 84. He and Gerkan had studied together in Braunschweig and earned money to support themselves by doing competition drawings for other architects. After graduating, they rented a room together in Hamburg and continued doing competition drawings with other architects, but this time under their own names and as project partners. It turned out to be a winning combination, “Basically, we shot from the hip and hit the target”, explains Marg, “We won seven of them in total that first year, which was sensational, and the largest of these was the international architecture competition for Tegel Airport.”

As luck would have it, Gerkan had just finished his university thesis on a new design for Langenhagen airport in Hanover and had therefore intensively studied the theme of airports for his final year project. So they already had a great deal of research on this highly specialised architecture topic under their belts. Nevertheless, they could not believe their luck: “It was, of course, a huge surprise and a great joy”, remembers Marg, “a unique chance for us and for Berlin at the time – epochal”.

Since they had somehow managed to award this commission to a pair of unknowns with no other airport references whatsoever, instead of to a large, experienced, high-capacity practice, representatives from the airport company decided to visit von Gerkan and Marg (and another university friend Klaus Nickels, who was in on the project too) in their office in Hamburg and gain an impression of who they were working with. “We were a tiny office!” recounts Marg. “So we very quickly upgraded the rented apartment we were working in with lots of tabletops, that we made white covers for. Then we brought in lots of T-squares and lots of friends that we dressed in white coats, who then stood there moving rulers around and drawing, all to give the impression of a functioning architecture office.”

Gerkan and Marg brought in another partner architect for the project, called Rolf Niedballa, who had experience in managing contracts and bids. “He had the advantage of being a bit older than us and already experienced as a construction supervisor”, says Marg. They also had the good fortune of having a highly experienced client: “The airport company were of course just the users, and they were smart enough to hand over the actual building of the airport to the Berlin Hochbauamt [Department for Building and Housing]: a public authority that really understood how to build and was qualified to be the client”, he adds, “This is a great difference to just letting planning happen – as was the case with the BER airport that we planned [much] later. There it was the airport operator, who was not at all qualified [to be the client].”

Nevertheless, the Tegel project, completed in 1974, was huge and the client wisely commissioned the airport terminal and all the ancillary buildings from Gerkan, Marg and Partners in stages, “one on top of the other: first the terminal, then the front end of the terminal, then the separate power station, the hangars,  then the whole frontage development: baggage, customs, fire brigade etc., – everything that belongs to an airport.”

For passengers that have travelled via the original terminal building at TXL (not the later, tacked on tin-clad hangars added when capacity was bursting at the seams because completion of its new replacement, BER, was interminably delayed), it is a surprisingly unstressful experience. Many of my frequent flier colleagues profess a great affection for Tegel because it is “so easy” but few stop to think about why. It certainly does not have much to do with looks. TXL is as brutalist as they come, horizontal, low-slung and fixed firmly on the ground. There are no light and airy allusions to flight in the design whatsoever. But behind that impression of easiness is deliberate intent: Tegel Airport is completely dedicated to the passenger.

Designed as it was in the mid-sixties, TXL is also an airport that is geared towards the age of the automobile – as the ultimate representation of freedom. A popular slogan in Germany back then was: “Freie fahrt für freie Bürger!” (free driving for free citizens). The genius of this airport design is that it creates essentially the thinnest feasible interface between car and plane. If you look at an aerial view, you can see clearly that its form is designed to bring two sides together with the shortest possible distance in between. There is an “air” side for the movement of the airplanes, including take-off, landing, taxiways, apron and parking positions Marg describes as “just like ships at a quay –  but nose-in”.

On the other side of the interface, which is the gates, is a building for cars. When it was built, you could drive right up to your check-in. “In other airports you had to park your car, enter the terminal and then cover long distances per pedes to your aeroplane”, says Marg. For him and his partners, the greatest imaginable luxury would be to drive directly to where your plane is parked and there check in your luggage, show your passport, get your boarding pass, walk through the gate and get straight onto the plane. So that is what they designed: “A totally decentralised checking-in system with the shortest distances that had ever been built.” The distance between the drop off point with the car and the counters is indeed no longer than 30 metres. TXL is a drive-in airport.

With this aim of a decentralised, slim interface in mind, the logical solution was to create a ring-shaped design. To make it efficient, the ring was turned into a polygon, which led to the architects choosing an overriding hexagonal geometry to facilitate routing and configuration of the approach roads, “since it is easier to drive through forks than T-junctions”, says Marg. The original plan had a large hexagonal car park in the middle that was only partially realised.

“There was also another reason for that form”, adds Marg, “the design was made before we had computers and the architect’s main tools were the parallel ruler and the set square. If you use the triangle which has a 60 degree and a 30-degree angle, you can design hexagonally very quickly. If you were trying to design a free form back then like [Hans Scharoun’s 1963] Berlin Philharmonie, then nothing repeats itself and it is infinitely more complicated in every respect.” The young architects must have been very aware of the older architect’s struggles to build and complete his iconic and highly experimental concert-hall-in-the-round at the time they were creating their airport design.

When the airport was completed in 1974 there was no end to the Cold War in sight and hence no expectation of any change in territory size for tiny West Berlin. Nevertheless, the architects had designed TXL with expansion in mind. The idea was to double capacity by building a second hexagonal ring joined to the first by the main building with its tower, like a pair of spectacles. But the second ring was never built and Tegel remained a monocle that later gained provisional extensions that had nothing to do with the original decentralised principle.

The decentralised design of the TXL terminal was all about how to save the passengers time; how to save them from walking long distances and long waiting times. Instead of the passengers doing the walking, the airport staff had to walk to them and their gates to attend to each plane-load as they embarked or disembarked. The terminal’s primary function was to get people from their cars to their planes and planes to cars as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Mass transport on the land side was never really a big consideration. You can travel by bus to Tegel Airport, but there are no train or underground lines to it. The thinking was probably that if you could afford a plane ticket, you could afford to pay someone to drive you to the airport or to pick you up. And anyway, who didn’t have a car?

Since TXL was built, almost half a century ago, much has changed in the global economy, air travel and airport design as well. The subsequent rise in neoliberal capitalism has meant that travel hubs are no longer just for getting from A to B, but have primarily become retail opportunities. Since 9/11 too, anti-terrorist security controls have also massively changed airport structures. In today’s generic international airport, passengers are funnelled into central security areas where they and their luggage are screened for potential hazards. Instead of the customer being king, they are essentially treated as walking danger zones that could be carrying, bombs, weapons or disease.  Once the screened and tagged passengers are all through the queues and discomfort of central security control, they are then squeezed again through a large retail area in an attempt to relieve them of as much of their money as possible by encouraging them to buy things largely unrelated to their journey. There they wait, in the shopping mall, until being told where to board their planes, whose gates are often a (very) long walk away.

This is exactly what did not happen at Tegel Airport and this is why passengers, however subconsciously, loved it. It was an airport experience where you were not treated like cattle. “It was never done as perfectly again as it was in Tegel”, says Marg. “The times have sadly changed. We now stand under the dictatorship of consumption, and airports stand under the tyranny of having to earn their money through retail because the airport fees are not sufficient. And on top of that terrorism has forced total control.” Air travel will never be the same again. And perhaps that is also why many mourn the passing of TXL as an airport. COVID-19 and global pandemic control is a new factor that is not going to go away in the foreseeable future. And with the climate emergency, it now looks the Jet Age is well and truly over. Flying in the future will be something completely different and architects will need to design completely different buildings for it. Hopefully though, whichever form they take, those buildings will be primarily in the service of the passenger, as TXL was: a beautifully designed, drive-in airport for a bygone age.

Sophie Lovell, November 2020

 

Eisfeld 100: Ritzma Feintechnik Harry’s

Custom publication for Harry's Inc.

To celebrate the centenary of their razor blade factory in Thüringen, Germany, the shaving company Harry’s asked Sophie Lovell to make a custom, in-house book. The result is a story about survival, determination, about adaptability, about people and one of the publications we are most proud of to date.

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To celebrate the centenary of their razor blade factory in Thüringen, Germany, the shaving company Harry’s asked Sophie Lovell to make a custom, in-house book. The result is a story about survival, determination, about adaptability, about people and one of the publications we are most proud of to date.

“Incredibly, in the century that has passed since its founding, this factory has weathered the Great Depression the Nazi regime, two world wars, Soviet occupation, two more regime changes and four changes in ownership. It is still there, still making razor blades, and is very much flourishing. The company that was once called Ritzma-Werk, then VEB Feintechnik, then Feintechnik GmbH, which was bought in 2014 by the American startup Harry’s Inc., has continued to keep production going through many turbulent changes. The primary reason for this survival is an unbroken thread of workers, managers, engineers and owners who have grafted, fixed, patched, taken risks, updated and invented their way through good times and bad.”

This book is for them.

 

 

Archifutures volume 5: Apocalypse

A field guide to surviving the future of architecture

“We live in challenging times. There is no denying that portents pertaining to the “end of the world” are writ large all around. Yet despite the implied drama of “apocalypse”, the reality is actually far more mundane and surviving it is not about building bunkers, it is about building resilience.”

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“We live in challenging times. There is no denying that portents pertaining to the “end of the world” are writ large all around. Yet despite the implied drama of “apocalypse”, the reality is actually far more mundane and surviving it is not about building bunkers, it is about building resilience.”

With essays, interviews and projects by young practitioners and experts alike, Volume 5 of the Archifutures series for the Future Architecture platform deconstructs and remoulds the notion of “apocalypse”; to neutralise its drama and to reconsider what it means to live in an age of revelation. What are the futures that these young practitioners aim to reveal? What are the new prototypical mechanisms of resilience and survival under construction as we speak? How will they manifest themselves in the built environment?

Archifutures Vol. 5: Apocalypse has seven sections with seven guidelines intended as a provocation for architects to share them, work with them, improve them, and above all use them to help build a better future for all of us:

Everyday End of the World: Climate change, resource shortages, disasters and mass migration: for millions around the world living under apocalyptic conditions is an everyday reality. We all need to recognise that fact and adapt our thinking accordingly.

Adapt and Survive: The reality of the apocalyptic condition is quite mundane. Surviving it is not about building bunkers, it is about changing our approach and building resilience in an everyday way. This is where architects come in.

Radical Hope: Reactionary politics relies on a pessimistic view of the future. It is an inflexible stance that does not encourage new solutions. To hope for a better future is thus a radical act. Real change can only come with hope.

Between Consensus and Dissent: An ongoing apocalyptic process requires constant negotiation. If reached, consensus may not last. But dissent and conflict are two different things. There are many benefits to agreeing to disagree.

Progressive Degrowth: The deconstruction of inefficient and exploitative systems in the present is much better than reconstruction after they have failed. Growth can no longer be the ultimate aim. It’s time for us to acknowledge and embrace the limits.

Interdependent Individuality: The technologies of the digital age are not inherently problematic, they are tools that can be used for oppression, but also empowerment. They. We can recode and redistribute our technological intelligence into technological agency.

Our Futures: The Apocalypse is typically understood as a radical moment of change, after which things will never be the same. Architects must seize this apocalyptic moment to help construct new futures for everyone.

Contributors include:  Bora Baboci, Maite Borjabad, Eduardo Cassina, Trajna Collective, DOMA, Liva Dudareva, Stefan Gruber, Jason Hilgefort, METASITU, Anh-Linh Ngo, Phi, RESOLVE, Skrei, Anastassia Smirnova, Space Transcribers, TAB Collective, Tania Tovar Torres, Stephan Trüby, the Unfolding Pavilion team and many more.

About Archifutures

Archifutures is the publishing project accompanying and expanding upon the Future Architecture platform, a Europe-wide network and EU-funded initiative set up by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana. It features projects and initiatives from young practices supported by the network as well as contributions from more established voices that are helping to shape the architecture, cities and societies of tomorrow. The ongoing Archifutures series is a truly European collaboration: originally conceived, edited and designed by the publishing collective &beyond, it has now evolved into a pioneering digital and print project masterminded by dpr-barcelona, publishers and Future Architecture platform members. It merges the possibilities of critical editorial work, innovative printing and active user intervention allowing readers to select texts from the series online, according to individual interest, and order their own custom compilations.

archifutures.org

 

A Field Full of Responsibility

Sophie Lovell and Dieter Rams

A conversation between Sophie Lovell and Dieter Rams in the book Legacy: Generations of Creatives in Dialogue, edited by Lukas Feireiss. As the author of the biography Dieter Rams: As little design as possible (2011), Sophie Lovell has spent many hours talking to and interviewing the German industrial designer and shares here for the first time a one of their conversations about German design, design politics, Buckminster Fuller, pollution, the environment and our obsession with “things”.

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A conversation between Sophie Lovell and Dieter Rams in the book Legacy: Generations of Creatives in Dialogue, edited by Lukas Feireiss.

The design and architecture editor Sophie Lovell is the author of the biography Dieter Rams: As little design as possible (2011). She has spent many hours talking to and interviewing the German industrial designer and shares here for the first time a transcription of one of their conversations about German design, design politics, Buckminster Fuller, pollution, the environment and our obsession with “things”.

Archifutures Volume 4: Thresholds

A field guide to navigating the future of architecture

How can you navigate towards something when there are no fixed points, when you cannot determine your position? How do you know where to go, or even when you have got there? This fourth volume in the Archifutures series investigates how architecture, traditionally considered to be a future-oriented activity, can best respond as we find ourselves on the threshold of a “post-futurist” condition where the future is not necessarily ahead of us, but everywhere and – perhaps most especially – “now”.

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How can you navigate towards something when there are no fixed points, when you cannot determine your position? How do you know where to go, or even when you have got there? This fourth volume in the Archifutures series investigates how architecture, traditionally considered to be a future oriented activity, can best respond as we find ourselves on the threshold of a “post-futurist” condition where the future is not necessarily ahead of us, but everywhere and – perhaps most especially – “now”.

Contributors: Nora Akawi, Florian Bengert, Filipe Estrela, Mariabruna Fabrizi, Nikita Gyawali, Ana Jeinić, Holly Lewis, Fosco Lucarelli, Brett Moore, Sara Neves, Paolo Patelli, Pedro Pitarch, Blanca Pujals, Benedikt Stoll, James Taylor-Foster, John Thackara and Andreas Töpfer, José Tomás Pérez Valle, Marta Fernández Cortés, Arquitectura Subalterna, Ilirjana Haxhiaj, Jeta Bejtullahu, Oliver Goodhall, Fiona Shipwright, and Janar Siniloo.

Date: Autumn 2017

Publishers: dpr-barcelona

Editors: Sophie Lovell & Fiona Shipwright, &beyond

Graphic design: Diana Portela, &beyond

Additional illustrations: Janar Siniloo, &beyond

 

About Archifutures

Archifutures is the publishing project accompanying and expanding upon the Future Architecture platform, a Europe-wide network and EU-funded initiative set up by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana. It features projects and initiatives from young practices supported by the network as well as contributions from more established voices that are helping to shape the architecture, cities and societies of tomorrow.

The ongoing Archifutures series is a truly European collaboration: originally conceived, edited and designed by the publishing collective &beyond, it has now evolved into a pioneering digital and print project masterminded by dpr-barcelona, publishers and Future Architecture platform members. It merges the possibilities of critical editorial work, innovative printing and active user intervention allowing readers to select texts from the series online, according to individual interest, and order their own custom compilations.

archifutures.org

 

The Standards of Design

An interview with Rolf Hay for "Full House Diez Office"

Delighted to be a contributor to designer Stephan Diez’s wonderful new retrospective book and exhibition “Full House Diez Office” designed by Mirko Borsche and edited by Petra Hesse and Sandra Hofmeister. In it I discuss democratic” design, “good” design and the manufacturer’s perspective in the context of Stefan’s work with Rolf Hay of HAY.

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Delighted to be a contributor to designer Stephan Diez’s wonderful new retrospective book and exhibition “Full House Diez Office” designed by Mirko Borsche and edited by Petra Hesse and Sandra Hofmeister. In it I discuss democratic” design, “good” design and the manufacturer’s perspective in the context of Stefan’s work with Rolf Hay of HAY.

Berlin in Fifty Design Icons

by Sophie Lovell

“Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Berlin is that it is a major European capital that is still defining itself. Berlin’s modern history has been so often interrupted in such radical ways that the city remains in a continual state of transformation: always becoming, never quite being – not yet, anyway.”

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Berlin in Fifty Designs Icons, written by Sophie Lovell and &beyond editors Florian Heilmeyer, George Kafka, Fiona Shipwright and Rob Wilson of &beyond, with Sebastian Schumacher, is the latest addition to the prestigious Design Museum Fifty series, presenting designs that have shaped Berlin.

Berlin’s turbulent history has led to a wealth of innovative, evocative design: from the provocative graphic identity of the Volksbühne to the Pop-Art-meets-Brutalism of the Bierpinsel; from the ingenuity of the Berlin Durchsteckschlüssel (courtyard key) to the DIY ethos underpinning the car park-rooftop-bar Klunkerkranich. Some of the city’s most monumental architecture left behind by successive regimes also make an appearance, such the 1936 Olympic Stadium and East Germany’s urban planning showpiece, Karl-Marx-Allee, alongside more contemporary examples such as John Hedjuk’s Kreuzberg Tower and the rapidly transforming Potsdamer Straße.

When viewed together, these fifty icons form an intricate visual history of this unique city. One part visual documentation, one part city guide, and illustrated with photography selected by the Design Museum, Berlin in Fifty Design Icons unlocks the design stories of one of the most complex, intriguing cities in the world.

Published by Conran Octopus

Archifutures Volume 3: The Site

A field guide to making the future of archtecture

Conceived, edited and designed by &beyond. The third volume in a new book series bringing together projects and initiatives, both real and speculative, that are shaping tomorrow’s architecture and cities – and thus our societies of the future.

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Archifutures is a new field guide to the future of architecture. The series accompanies the Future Architecture platform, a European-wide network and EU-funded initiative created by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana. Edited by the &beyond collective (of which Sophie Lovell is a founding member) and published by dpr-barcelona, the first three volumes – The Museum, The Studio, and The Site – map contemporary architectural practice and urban planning, presented through the words, ideas and images of some of its key players and change-makers. From institutions, activists, thinkers, curators and architects to urban bloggers, polemicists, critics and publishers, these are the people shaping tomorrow’s architecture and cities – and so helping to shape our societies of the future too.

Leading on from the theoretical approaches contained in Volume 2, the third volume: The SiteA field guide to making the future of architecture, presents a further selection from the Future Architecture platform’s 2015 call for ideas. The focus here is on the nitty-gritty of practice: projects and strategies that are on-site or site-ready to shake up that future. These are the inspirational solutions and ideas, which could soon be transforming the landscape of architecture and our cities, reasserting the agency architecture in its widest sense.  Contributors include: Aleksandra Zarek; Plan Común; Guerilla Architects; Jack Self; Lavinia Scaletti; Léopold Lambert; Manon Mollard; Urbz and Natasha Reid.

The publication of all three volumes also marks the launch of the digital platform archifutures.org, designed to functions as the Archifutures digital bookshelf, a live repository of Future Architecture platform contributions and experiences. This allows both participants and readers to arrange and print on demand their own personal compilations. It also enables them to interact with the material and its dissemination, feeding back into current debate and mapping out new networks.

Archifutures is conceived, edited and designed by &beyond and published by dpr-barcelona. The series accompanies the Future Architecture platform, a European-wide network and EU-funded initiative created by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana.

Archifutures Volume 2: The Studio

A field guide to speculating upon the future of architecture

Conceived, edited and designed by &beyond. The second volume in a new book series bringing together projects and initiatives, both real and speculative, that are shaping tomorrow’s architecture and cities – and thus our societies of the future.

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Archifutures is a new field guide to the future of architecture. The series accompanies the Future Architecture platform, a European-wide network and EU-funded initiative created by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana. Edited by the &beyond collective (of which Sophie Lovell is a founding member) and published by dpr-barcelona, the first three volumes – The Museum, The Studio, and The Site – map contemporary architectural practice and urban planning, presented through the words, ideas and images of some of its key players and change-makers. From institutions, activists, thinkers, curators and architects to urban bloggers, polemicists, critics and publishers, these are the people shaping tomorrow’s architecture and cities – and so helping to shape our societies of the future too.

In Volume 2: The Studio – A field guide to speculating upon the future of architecture, the focus is on the cutting-edge thinking and wider theoretical questions and themes underpinning the series, from reflections upon what our ideas of “future” really mean to the changing role of the architecture profession as a whole. This volume comprises speculative visions, essays and texts from contributors including: Ana Jeinić, Miloš Kosec, Clément Blanchet, Amateur Cities, Liam Young, Something Fantastic, Merve Bedir, Tomaž Pipan, Davide Tommaso Ferrando, Tiago Torres-Campos and Reinier de Graaf.

The publication of all three volumes also marks the launch of the digital platform archifutures.org, designed to functions as the Archifutures digital bookshelf, a live repository of Future Architecture platform contributions and experiences. This allows both participants and readers to arrange and print on demand their own personal compilations. It also enables them to interact with the material and its dissemination, feeding back into current debate and mapping out new networks.

Archifutures is conceived, edited and designed by &beyond and published by dpr-barcelona. The series accompanies the Future Architecture platform, a European-wide network and EU-funded initiative created by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana.

Archifutures Volume 1: The Museum

A field guide to communicating the future of archtecture

Conceived, edited and designed by &beyond. The first volume in a new book series bringing together projects and initiatives, both real and speculative, that are shaping tomorrow’s architecture and cities – and thus our societies of the future.

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Archifutures is a new field guide to the future of architecture. The series accompanies the Future Architecture platform, a European-wide network and EU-funded initiative created by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana. Edited by the &beyond collective (of which Sophie Lovell is a founding member) and published by dpr-barcelona, the first three volumes – The Museum, The Studio, and The Site map contemporary architectural practice and urban planning, presented through the words, ideas and images of some of its key players and change-makers. From institutions, activists, thinkers, curators and architects to urban bloggers, polemicists, critics and publishers, these are the people shaping tomorrow’s architecture and cities – and so helping to shape our societies of the future too.

Volume 1: The Museum, which launched at the Lisbon Triennale in November 2016, spotlights the work of the Future Architecture platform members themselves, whilst the second and third volumes, The Studio and The Site, present a thoughtful selection of theories and practice shaping the “future of architecture” today.

The first volume, The Museum – A field guide to communicating the future of architecture, includes contributions from institutions such as the MAXXI in Rome and the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel; festivals like Tirana Architecture Week and Prishtina Architecture Week, Kosovo; research and education platforms Design Biotop in Ljubljana and CANactions in Kiev and publishers dpr-barcelona. It maps their work communicating new and innovative thought and practice that is leading architecture today, highlighting the strategies they use and programmes they run to support this. Steering the dialogue are current practitioners and thinkers including Superstudio, Socks Studio, Nick Axel and Léa-Catherine Szacka. The volume also a specially commissioned “collage conversation”, a visual dialogue between generations, from Superstudio co-founder Cristiano Toraldo di Francia and Guillermo Lopez of MAIO.

The publication of all three volumes also marks the launch of the digital platform archifutures.org, designed to functions as the Archifutures digital bookshelf, a live repository of Future Architecture platform contributions and experiences. This allows both participants and readers to arrange and print on demand their own personal compilations. It also enables them to interact with the material and its dissemination, feeding back into current debate and mapping out new networks.

Archifutures is conceived, edited and designed by &beyond and published by dpr-barcelona. The series accompanies the Future Architecture platform, a European-wide network and EU-funded initiative created by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana.

Dieter Rams: So wenig Design wie möglich

by Sophie Lovell

“Gleichgültigkeit gegenüber den Menschen und der Wirklichkeit, in der sie leben, ist die einzige wirkliche Todsünde beim Design”.

The Dieter Rams monograph is now available in German as well, published by Edel Books.

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“Gleichgültigkeit gegenüber den Menschen und der Wirklichkeit, in der sie leben, ist die einzige wirkliche Todsünde beim Design”.

Dieter Rams gehört zu den einflussreichsten Designern des 20. Jahrhunderts. Selbst jene, die seinen Namen nicht kennen, sind garantiert mit einem seiner Produkte vertraut, denn Rams prägte von Mitte der 1950er- bis in die späten 1990er-Jahre hinein als Chefdesigner die Handschrift des Elektrogeräteherstellers Braun. Ob Haartrockner, Radio oder Entsafter, alle von ihm gestalteten Produkte sind durch eine klare Ästhetik, hohe Bedienerfreundlichkeit und Nützlichkeit bestimmt. Denn Dieter Rams ist angesichts der mitunter chaotischen Gegenwart von der Notwendigkeit innovativen, verständigen und langlebigen Designs überzeugt. Seine zukunftsweisenden Ideen versucht er nicht nur mittels einer radikal reduzierten Formgebung zu realisieren, sondern hielt sie auch in zehn Thesen fest, deren letzte und vielleicht wichtigste lautet: “Gutes Design ist so wenig Design wie möglich”.

“So wenig Design wie möglich” ist ein hochwertig ausgestattetes Buch, das die Arbeit von Dieter Rams in all ihren Facetten dokumentiert: Beleuchtet werden neben seiner Tätigkeit für Braun auch seine Produktlinie für den Möbelhersteller Vitsoe (wie sein berühmtes Regalsystem 606), sein architektonisch höchst ambitioniertes Eigenheim sowie sein Einfluss auf die wichtigsten zeitgenössischen Designer. Mit exklusiven Fotografien, vielen Skizzen und einer Chronik seines Lebenswerks bietet dieses Buch einen umfangreichen überblick über das Leben und Werk von Dieter Rams, der zahlreiche Designklassiker schuf und einer jungen Generation von Designern bis heute als Vorbild gilt.

Date: 1st Edition: May 2011, 2nd Edition: Dec 2011, German Edition May 2013
Publisher: Edel Verlag
Author: Sophie Lovell (with a foreward by Jonathan Ive and contributing essay by Klaus Klemp)
Graphic design: Kobi Benezri

Dieter Rams: As Little Design As Possible

by Sophie Lovell

“Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design”

Dieter Rams

Sophie Lovell’s comprehensive monograph on the highly influential product designer Dieter Rams who, as head of design at Braun from 1961 to 1995, created some of the most iconic utility objects of the twentieth century.

Foreword by Jonathan Ive.

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“Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design”

Dieter Rams

During the early stages of working on this book, I travelled to Osaka, Japan, for an exhibition about the work of Dieter Rams in the context of twentieth-century design. On the evening after the opening we were sitting in a bar at the top of a high-rise hotel, looking out through huge plate-glass windows at the nocturnal panorama of the dense industrial Osaka cityscape. It had been a long day of press conferences, opening speeches and seminars followed by a Japanese banquet in Dieter Rams’ honour, and now I was in the company of a small group of people including Klaus Klemp, the exhibition’s co-curator, Mark Adams and Daniel Nelson from Vitsoe, Dieter Rams and his wife Ingeborg, and Rams’ good friend and advisor Britte Siepenkothen, enjoying a nightcap of Japanese whisky.

We were quietly discussing the day’s events when Dieter Rams, who had worked hard all day and appeared tired, suddenly said, “Why on earth do we need another book about me?” At the age of seventy-six, Rams had been famous as a designer since he was twenty-five and despite acknowledging that having people interested in your work and ideas is no bad thing, he hated all the limelight and media attention.
“I want nothing to do with this star designer machine”, he added, suddenly getting rather worked up. We all looked at him. Apart from the fact that, as one of the most respected industrial designers in the world, he was a “star” whether he liked it or not, the reason why the world needed another book had been made absolutely clear earlier in the day in the huge auditorium packed with young designers and design students hanging on to Rams’ every word. A particularly beautiful and precise speech at the symposium by the Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa, who praised Rams’ oeuvre of what he aptly called “correct design”, highlighted the level of respect there is for his work among today’s top professionals in the field. Klaus Klemp was the first to speak up: “Dieter”, he said, “you still have work to do, to communicate and bring your message across to the young people”. There was a chorus of assent from all those present. Mollified, Rams agreed that this was a good reason to do another book. “But”, he added, looking at me very intently, “it should be an empty book that says something important”.

Limited Edition

Prototypes, One-Offs and Design-Art Furniture

Through design prototypes, limited editions and design-as-art-objects, “Limited Edition” documents a growing phenomenon in contemporary furniture design. It is illustrated with works that reflect the very best of this new area from new and behind-the-scenes images from some of its leading protagonists to an equally fascinating collection of newcomers and unknowns.

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Limited Edition is about designers who make furniture objects outside of the industrial manufacturing system. Although some employ the same criteria, tools and materials as those required to produce many hundreds or thousands of copies of an object, this book is about individuals working on the peripheries of that system, or the work of those who have chosen to step outside of it completely. Many of the designers in this book think of themselves as explorers, testing the boundaries of materials, process and medium. For them the product almost seems to be an afterthought or added extra. These designers are committed to experimentation; to exploring not just the nature and forms of what they produce but also the systems within which they are commissioned, created, received, displayed, appraised and used. There is also a growing band of gallerists, patrons and curators who are nurturing and encouraging these experiments in the form of one-offs, prototypes or limited editions. They are helping to create new connections between design and the market, between product and object, between industry and ideas: changing attitudes and challenging structures.

 

“Either consciously or unconsciously, these individuals are asking some big questions: What is design? What does it mean to call oneself a designer? What are the roles of objects and products? If design is to provide so many solutions, where does it have to go to find new answers, to extend beyond itself and the boundaries of its own limitations? Which constraints are now negotiable for design as a discipline, and which are non-negotiable? It is hard to find answers especially when the very issues involved are in such a nascent stage of change that we have not even developed an appropriate vocabulary with which to discuss them. Many of the designers I spoke to whilst writing this book found it hard to put names or categories to what they were doing and how they were working. We need the perspective of time and the luxury of a hindsight that we do not yet have. What we can do, however, is look at patterns and choose examples and individuals who seem to be looking at, evaluating and producing objects in a different way.”

 

LimitedEdition is a highly selective opinion poll on the state of furniture design at the borders of industry and outside of it. In over 40 interviews with designers, manufacturers, gallerists, auctioneers and critics, I have attempted to sift and arrange some of their thoughts and comments into broad groups and areas that seem to represent some patterns or parallels. It may be old-fashioned to do so, but I have also tried to break down this new world of explorative design objects into categories. It is not a taxonomy by any means –the styles, forms and materials are far too diverse for that – but rather a loose categorisation according to intent on the part of the designer, curator or patron, as well as the ways in which they are collaborating with one another. Categories – however loose they may be – do tend to aid discussion and communication. Nevertheless, this book is by no means comprehensive. I would be the first to admit that this survey is limited in its scope and there are other voices that also deserve to be heard. My aim has been to give a brief insight into the dazzling creative array of work out there and, I hope, to encourage further discourse rather than jump to premature or dogmatic conclusions. If I have succeeded, “LimitedEdition” is not just a book about beautiful things, but hopefully provides food for thought as well.

 

Less and More

The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams

In the more than 40 years that he spent working at Braun, Dieter Rams established himself as one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. His elegantly clear visual language not only defined product design for decades, but also our fundamental understanding of what design is and what it can and should do.

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This is the comprehensive catalogue for the successful “Less and More” exhibition on the work of Dieter Rams shown at: Suntory Museum, Osaka; Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo, Design Museum, London, MAK, Frankfurt; Daelim Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul and the SFMoMA, CA.

Sophie Lovell contributed the chapter essay: “Dieter Rams: The Designer’s Designer” which looks at the influence of Dieter Rams design, methods and principles on contemporary design thinking.

Updating Germany

100 Projects for a Better Future

How do we want to live in the future? Which creative strategies and technical concepts can we employ to manage today’s social and economic challenges?

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There are no simple instructions, no clear answers on how to achieve a better future. This hardback catalogue of the German contribution to the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2008 was produced in Berlin and features one hundred architecture projects, design projects, research projects, and conceptual models that are currently being developed or realized in Germany. Sophie Lovell was involved as catalogue editor, text writer and project consultant.

Furnish

Furniture and Interior Design for the 21st Century

Furnish is a visual feast of contemporary furniture design with a twist. It concentrates on crossover areas between the fields of design, art and architecture that involve “objects” or “furniture” in the broadest sense.

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We have entered an age where the boundaries between creative disciplines have become noticeably porous and where new technologies, materials and processes alter our environments with a greater frequency than ever before. The rules that govern how we furnish our living spaces are in the process of being rewritten – at least for those living within the technological development bubble. Furnish seeks to document new work from pioneering designers, artists and architects exploring new domestic territories. This work moves beyond the pre-kindergarten aesthetic of “blobjects” or the stripped down worthiness of “new functionalism” of the nineties and signals a more developed sense of playfulness, and irreverent thrift as well as the beginnings of a new vocabulary of form.

Design has become a catch-all term that can no longer be pigeonholed into discrete disciplines. In fact all the creative fields are in sore need of a new vocabulary to match the vagaries of its protagonists. It is not unusual, for example, to find architects engineering tables, artists designing tree houses, graphic designers tuning sofas and jaded industrial designers developing conceptual products that have nothing to do with practical function.

A discipline tends to be limited by its tools, but when we have access to affordable tools whose application capacity extends way beyond their original mandate it is only natural to want to experiment. As computer sophistication and new technologies become increasing accessible to the individual, our capability to cross genres is dramatically expanded. Both consumers and designers are not just creating, editing and manipulating their own films, animations, websites and music, for example, but designing their own interiors, furniture, structures and objects as well with the aid of these technologies and the software that governs them. Far from making designers, artists or craftspeople redundant, this phenomenon seems only to be tending towards a further redundancy of categories and borders between disciplines. More of us are being more creative and more creatives are broadening their fields of activity. Interestingly, the role of the skilled professional is not being eroded as a result but their capacity for collaboration beyond the confines of their respective disciplines, should they choose to do so, has taken a quantum leap.

It is not just individuals that are discovering new opportunities beyond their conventional labels, object categories too are beginning to look increasingly wobbly: In this book alone, we find furniture as landscape; furniture as concept, as data, as interface, as digital-organic growth, as mutation or insertion. Furnish illustrates a babel of form that is breathtaking in its diversity from flatpack baroque or postmodern porcelain to strange neo-organic chimeras. Hybridisation and appropriation are key themes – opening up all the borders means abandoning rules of aesthetics and genre distinctions. Mixing hi-tech with retro elements, building in historical narrative or bootlegging the designs of others are all permissible. Only the laws of physics still apply: if you want to make a chair then it has to be structurally sound or you won’t be able to sit on it and it can’t therefore be a chair (unless of course it is a concept masquerading as a chair).

Convertible City

Modes of Densification and Dissolving Boundaries

“Convertible City” documents exciting changes in architecture and urban structure in Germany and how existing potential can be sustainably exploited for new urban worlds of living and working.

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Convertible City: Modes of Densification and Dissolving Boundaries was designed as the catalogue to accompany the German pavilion contribution at the 10th Venice Biennale 2006. The theme of the exhibition, curated by the Berlin-based architects GrüntuchErnst, and its catalogue, was to focus on stimulating projects for transforming existing urban situations in German cities. Convertible City defined itself as: an expression of the continuity and transformative power of urban space, a call for maintaining the diversity of city life, a demand for the sustainable use of core cities, an alternative to urban sprawl encroaching on natural areas, the dissolution of boundaries in the urban habitat, creative appropriation of metropolitan areas, an expression of a positive attitude to urban life and an inspiration and stimulation for new concepts of living.

Talking Cities

The Micropolitics of Urban Space

“Talking Cities” is both catalogue and contemporary architectural perspective in magazine format, designed to accompany the Talking Cities exhibition, curated by Francesca Ferguson of Urban Drift as part of ENTRY 2006 in the Zeche Zollverein, Essen.

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Talking Cities is both catalogue and contemporary architectural pespective in magazine format, designed to accompany the Talking Cities exhibition curated by Francesca Ferguson of Urban Drift as part of ENTRY 2006 in the Zeche Zollverein, Essen. The magazine is a dense collage of statements, essays and designs centred around contemporary discussion about reconfiguring and reactivating the marginal, residual and public spaces of our cities. It investigates the fragmented conditions that make up our present day urban realities, drawing parallels and initiating new juxtapositions.