A lilliput hotel near Västeras in Sweden.

Snuggling up in Sweden: A semi-submarine Lilliput Hotel

5.07.2018

Who needs posh?! Would a minimalist wooden cabin – bobbing on Swedish waters – with an interior reduced to bare necessities not suffice as well? Hotell Utter Inn, a pocket-sized lodging solution near Västerås, was conceived by local artist Mikael Genberg and built in 2000. It not merely floats, but virtually represents an islet in its own right. The tiny upstairs-downstairs affair has no immediate neighbours intruding into whatever one might be up to and is always encircled by a refreshing breeze to help cool off a reeling mind. Privacy of a similar quality is rarely to be had this close to civilisation.

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Berlin-Neukölln is changing

Berlin-Neukölln: From problem child to clubbable prodigy?

2.07.2018

It is presumed to be the most colourful, multinational and omnicultural of Berlin’s districts: Neukölln, whose reputation – up to the recent past – could be considered controversial at best. Predominantly low-income (German) residents alongside a high rate of immigrants touching the 40 per cent mark have been benefiting from affordable rents and trying to make ends meet remote from posh Berlin areas. Different beliefs; traditions; habits; tongues; skins or dress codes hailing from alien ethnic backgrounds not seldom ignited the precarious potential for social conflicts. Better-off Berliners and visitors to the city alike preferred to stay at a safe distance for a reason. Yet, by avoiding the confrontation with an often bleak reality, they simultaneously missed out on glamour of a quality only thriving in microcosms such as Neukölln.

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A Gianluca-Gimini Bike

It’s all about perception: Gianluca Gimini’s bikes

9.06.2018

Drawing objects from memory can be a tricky affair not seldom crowned by a shattering outcome. Bringing even the most familiar of items to paper free-style may turn into an insoluble challenge. Yet unintentionally, it does occasionally (or frequently?) lead to astonishing creations – and to the „construction“ of somewhat adventurous contraptions. Such as the bikes computer-simulated by Italian designer Gianluca Gimini according to sketches made by a random group of people. He had confronted them with one simple task: to draw a men’s bike by heart.

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Cows up-side down. Camera tricks reveal what the human eye cannot see.

TED Talk. In Slow-mo or Time Lapse: Awesome Wonders of Nature

14.05.2018

A Treasure Trove for Science

Surely you have seen dragonflies hover. But did you know that they were also capable of flying backwards? Or even up-side down like a vintage double-decker during a daring air show? And that they could activate each one of their four wings separately – working at varying speed and propelling in different directions, all at the same time? Today it is possible to shoot images that are thousands of times faster than our own vision. Or slower. We can see how nature’s devices work – and imitate them. Helicopters or mechanical drones pretty much simulate the congenial dragonfly’s techniques. We live in a world of invisible beauty, too subtle to be perceptible to the human eye. Louie Schwartzberg shows breathtaking images during his fascinating TED talk.

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The Smetana Hall + Obceni Dum in Prague

Prague: Obecní dům – a Genius Loci of fine Art Nouveau

13.05.2018

Great sculptors and painters of their time have created an architectural treasure, whose masterly opulence bears witness to their genius to this day. Jan Preisler, Mikoláš Aleš, Max Švabinský, František Ženíšek, Ladislav Šaloun, Josef Mařatka, Josef Václav Myslbek or Alfons Mucha – names difficult to pronounce – were but a small fraction within the remarkable group of skillful artists involved in building and decorating Obecní dům – the Municipal House located right in the heart of Prague. Since its inauguration in January of 1912, the extraordinary building has served as a splendid stage for atmospheric concerts, grand festive balls and fancy fashion shows and is justly listed a national heritage site.

Its two protagonists – the Smetana Hall and the restaurant Francouzská – alone are well worth the trip to Prague, from whichever corner of the globe it may have to commence.

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