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.Reading time: about 2 minutes
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.Reading time: about 3 minutes
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.Reading time: about 2 minutes
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.Reading time: about 2 minutes
Whenever there is reason to celebrate on a festive scale, a dramatic sound scape must not be missing. Worldwide, solemn ceremonies are carried by Beethoven’s „Ode to Joy“ (Ode an die Freude), being played by enthusiastic orchestras and sung by effervescent choirs in front of a mesmerised audience. Since its debut in Vienna in 1824, the compassionate tune and emotional lyrics manifested themselves as the epitome of the brotherhood of man.Reading time: about 4 minutes