Modernism social housing in the Berlin-Falkenberg garden city

Modernism housing estates with colorful facades, ornamented with geometrical patterns, red brick roofs, charming wooden windows, shutters and balconies, surrounded with bloomed gardens… this well designed housing estate may be something out of a Disney films, but just as beautiful was the idea behind it.  SdM_4267_RET_300x0 Falkenberg Garden city was created by German architect Bruno Taut between 1913-1916 and was listed on UNESCO World Heritage list in 2008. Industrialization during the 19th century caused migrations from villages to towns which caused many problems. While becoming a metropolis, not only did Berlin faced problem like overcrowding, but also social problems such as unemployment and pollution. Dark and cramped flats without basic hygienic facilities had to be replaced in order to solve housing problem. Taut’s responded was this beautiful social housing project.falkenberg_04_530

6e59530dd4d996689c994138572cc7c4 Its design is based on Bauhaus straight and geometrical style including colorful patterns and wooden or brick decorative  elements. Housing blocks are organized around an acacia courtyard mostly in rows.fullfile1611 “The paint box housing estate”, is what it’s usually called; and it draws from the English idea of the Garden City which should consolidate rural and urban life. Renowned landscape architect Ludwig Lesser was hired to design the estate’s gardens and public spaces which provided lots of fresh air.  100_0238

This was not an isolated project. Other modernist architects followed this idea and some of their housing estate projects are also under UNESCO protection. Unfortunately, when Nazi regime took over Germany modernism aesthetics lost its value and the period of democratic housing building came to an end. The idea of garden city is somehow present today in Berlin as its residents are environmentally conscious with many having private or community gardens beside Berlin’s vast green areas of parks.

Uselessnism of everyday conformity – industrial design of Jasper Morrison

English designer Jasper Morrison, born in London, started his carrier in 1980s, and since then he has been designing products and furniture for many famous manufacturers of furniture, lighting, electronics, shoes, wristwatches. Rowenta, Samsung, Punkt, Camper, Muji, Vitra and Tate Modern are just some of his clients. In 2001 he has become Royal designer for Industry in UK.  00_projects_architectural_tate_tate_edit

architectural_tate_tate_edit_02 Tate Edit, Tate Modern shop in London, 2016; Photography: Nicola Tree

  00-projects_instrastructure_vitra_bus_stop_01 Bus Stop, Vitra’s Weil am Rhein site, 2006; Produced by Vitra, Switzerland; Photo: Jasper Morrison Studio

 00-projects_infrastructure_fsb_1144_handle_01 1144 Handle, 1990; Produced by FSB, Germany; Photo: Tim Rautert

It shouldn’t surprise us that Morrison’s design philosophy incorporating idea of Bauhaus movement. While he was attending postgraduate studies at Royal College of Art in London, he spent a year at Berlin’s Collage of Art. The main principles of Bauhaus school of design are to keep the creativity in the manufacturing process and to maintain the functionality of the object.00-projects-seating-maruni-t1-chair T1, 2016; Produced by Maruni, Japan; Photo: Maruni

00-projects_chairs_cappellini_thinking_mans_chair_01 Thinking Man’s Chair, 1986; Produced by Cappellini, Italy; Photo: James Mortimer

Inspired by the simplicity of hand-blown wine glasses from junk shops, Jasper Morrison defined what design should be – “Super Normal” or the “artificial replacement for normal”. By this he meant that there is no need for attention attracting designs by vibrant colors, shapes or superfluous details.00-projects_tables_vitra_rise_table_01 Rise, 2014; Produced by Vitra, Switzerland; Photo: Miro Zagnoli

00-projects_accessories_punkt_dp01_01 DP-01 Dect Phone,2010; Produced by Punkt, Switzerland; Photography: Jasper Morrison Studio

Precisely observing the object Morrison develops its form subordinated to the functionality. Main aim of his designed objects is to make pleasant atmosphere of everyday modern life. His rounded and smooth forms mostly made in wood, glass, stone and stainless steel are appealing to a viewer. To ignorance of fundamental goal of designing an object to be useful he gave a therm “Uselessnism”.

00-projects_kitchenware_rowenta_brunch_set_02 Brunch Set, 2004; Produced by Rowenta, Germany; Photo: Christoph Kicherer

 Since 2015, his first retrospective exhibition “Jasper Morrison. Thingness” of his 35 years lasting carrier has been shown at Grand-Hornu in Belgium, Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich and Tate Modern in London, and currently is on view at the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin.  00-exhibitions_2010_2019_grand_hornu_thingness_2015_07

exhibitions_2010_2019_grand_hornu_thingness_2015_05 Photo: Tim Van De Velde

“Graffiti is no destruction”- 1up graffiti crew Berlin

Remember that green mushroom from Super Mario Bros.? Well this “1up” is giving “an extra life” to that original outlaw spirit of grafitti art.5wdg7 The German capital has always been a melting pot of alternative and unconventional forms of rebellion, and graffiti art has been an important component of its underground art and culture scene. “One united power” is a graffiti crew based in Berlin, but you can find their tags on walls, roofs, subway trains and abandon buildings all around a globe.gdfg6 ghfjh9 They have been doing their thing for 14 years, and to become a member you need a certain doze of insanity, as these guys are shifting boundaries. Both large-scale and throw-up graffiti are usually made by spray cans and color rollers. There is no unique and recognizable signature of the group, as they use different font styles like sculpture, fire extinguisher tags, bubble tags, and rollers.brooklyn-street-art-1up-jaime-rojo-berlin-08-2016-web-5 1UP_rooftop The graffiti art of the group is meant to be thought-provoking and political. Mysteriously their 1up tags can be found in absurd places such as rooftops of skyscrapers or moving subway trains. As graffiti art is illegal and usually considered vandalism, “1up” has been criminally charged more than 300 times, but Berlin police have not been able to catch the group since 2003. Sometimes to make a tag, facade climbing and fast running from police are necessary. Crew members, both men and woman, are cover their faces with masks and wear gloves during “the crime”  leaving little traces that would lead to their capture.fgg6 brooklyn-street-art-1up-jaime-rojo-berlin-08-2016-web-1 Most of their activity is being video documented and can be watched on AGGRO.TV YouTube channels. In 2011 the adrenaline driving film “One United Power” was released, documenting their actions around the world including Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, Thailand and India. Being part of Berlin hip-hop scene, the group has been portrayed in book “KING KOOL CITY BERLIN – From hip-hop to graffiti” published in 2016. The group is driven by idea that “the urban space belongs to all and may be painted” and that “graffiti is not destruction”.

The gang’s prolific work has been more and more stepping from dark abyss of underground culture scene. Martha Cooper, photojournalist who has been documenting graffiti scene since 1970s, gave thumbs up to their work and will be collaborating with the group in the future. After opening of museum “Urban Nation for Urban Contemporary Art” on 16th September 2017. crew become part of  “the collective memory of urban contemporary art” as manifesto of museum claims it to be.gjvg6 nvzxv4 The idea of this new museum is to narrow boundaries between indoor and outdoor wall art, so all the surfaces of museum building have become canvases for many street artists.

  1. TV hyperlink- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2yt9TY3ZomOBjlwoN23H7bh329ub-he5
  2. Urban Nation hyperlink- https://urban-nation.com/
  3. Images that are taken from http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/2016/08/24/1up-in-berlin-all-city-doesnt-even-begin-to-cover-it/  must include © BrooklynStreetArt.com, photographer © Jaime Rojo