The festival Über Lebenskunst (08/17-08/21), loosely translated as ‘the art of survival,’ was a project initiated by the German Federal Cultural Foundation in cooperation with Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt, a leading centre for contemporary art and a space for experimentation.
Visitors were invited to experience “the sustainable ‘art of living’ around the clock” through a series of interventions in, on, and around the building. Projects and performances examined basic human needs and presented forward-thinking ideas for collective living in an era of dwindling resources and threatened ecosystems. Exhibits included: temporary night shelters; Pod #002: Parasite Heating Unit; a multi-part water filtration system by Das Numen; and, Salatfeld/Vorratskammer, an installation of 6,000 hydro-culture lettuce heads emerging from the large reflecting pools in front of the Haus, by the international artist cooperative myvillages.org.
Mauerpark, Prenzlauer Berg. Landscape architect Gustav Lange.
Postfuhramt, Mitte, 1875-1881. Architect Carl Schwatlo.
Kulturbrauerei (‘culture brewery’), Prenzlauer Berg.
The nhow Berlin is a music and lifestyle hotel by architect Sergei Tchoban on the banks of the river Spree. With the eccentric Karim Rashid behind the interior design, it’s a place where colour and sound come together and a breeding ground for creative energy, or at least that’s the concept behind it. I heard little buzz and saw little action when I visited.
Fitting for a city at the cutting edge of the global music scene, Europe’s first music hotel is intended to be a “revolutionary new model of living and lodging.” Certainly Rashid’s use of psychedelic colour does a lot to set it apart from the others within the NH chain. The lobby itself has a lot of furniture types going on – very slick and trendy; seems to me they’ll be dated before long. But I suppose that’s part of the big idea. With changing artwork and multi-media installations, the interior is in a permanent state of flux, and in stark contrast to the austere, industrial exterior of the building. Although dynamic and rounded lines pervade the space and the furnishings, I didn’t find much alluding to music in the architecture itself, at least on the main floor, and while the building has a state-of-the-art sound system, the acoustics weren’t exceptional there. The branding and marketing materials, however, are great – for one, brochures are designed to look like vinyls. The hotel offers ‘guitar’ room service and has an integrated high-end recording studio overlooking the city. Perhaps next time I’ll get to experience the hotel rooms and a concert or two on the terraces… (Note: Rashid seems to be in his element here. I saw the rockstar DJing at a party in SoHo.)
The nhow is located within the creative districts of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, near the historic Oberbaumbrücke (bridge) and the 30m tall, symbolic ‘Molecule Man’ aluminium sculpture on the river that had marked the division between East and West Berlin.
The nhow Berlin is located at Stralauer Allee 3. 10245 Berlin, Germany.