Posts about Creativity

A social business: the magdas hotel in Vienna

A refugee programme in Vienna: magdas – the not-for-profit hotel

17.09.2015

The magdas hotel’s homepage not only displays a pretty witty sense of humour and fluffily formulated descriptions. It also shows deep respect for a cause. When scanning the site for the hotel’s location in Vienna, visitors casually learn that it is situated near the city centre, in the vicinity of the Danube Canal mottled with cool clubs and pubs and close to the „Prater“, the popular amusement park that offers space for a wide variety of outdoor activities and sports Vienna’s famous landmark, the Ferris Wheel. Good access from all angles, a key factor for hotels getting booked, is definitely given.

But most importantly for the magdas, it lies within easy reach for its employees „because we want to spare them another round-the-world trip when commuting to their workplace“: magdas staff almost exclusively comprises refugees who descend from 14 different nations. Amongst them, they speak 23 languages. Dinis, the receptionist from Guinea-Bissau, alone is versed in seven! He came by boat. It took almost ten years to be granted asylum.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
The Corones is the sixth Messner Mountain Museum in South Tyrol. Architect is Zaha Hadid.

Messner meets Hadid: The Corones Museum in South Tyrol

28.08.2015

Admittedly, it takes a bit of an effort to get there, especially from far-away countries. But then again: who says that the good things in life are to be had in passing? Ask Reinhold Messner: If there were more „eight-thousanders“ to be conquered, he would most likely have done so and still always have chosen the most challenging variety of ventures. Similarly extraordinary and not seldom daring, are Zaha Hadid’s architectural structures which reliably become prized icons one by one – wherever and for whichever purpose they may have been established. The intriguing element uniting the random duo seems to be that reaching for the skies is an inborn ambition, and that achieving the utmost a natural consequence. Both personalities’ visions and disciplines merged, result in remarkable projects such as the Corones Museum, submerged into the South Tyrolean peak of Mount Kronplatz 2,275m above sea level. Read article

Reading time: about 4 minutes
Telegraph cables. Portmanteau: Creating new words to facilitate communication.

Blogging bleisure to Humpty Dumpty

26.08.2015

A port(e)manteau word is an imaginative linguistic creation anyone can come up with. It fuses two different existing sounds and meanings and compounds them into a new snug expression. A wide array of portmanteaux has quietly infiltrated into our common vocabulary rut without our noticing it. Many of these words are no longer recognisable as random concoctions. Some even made it into respectable dictionaries, whereas others are so painfully adventurous that – for straight minds – their meaning becomes utterly unfathomable. A circumstance that forces the ones who coined them into a kind of zugzwang, should they want to see their congenial brain waves preserved for the next generations. But we need not worry: The universal power of social media will reliably enhance their endeavours to the fullest, don’t you think?

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Mystery vs. clarity

TED Talk. Chip Kidd: The art of first impressions

10.08.2015

People – and objects – are usually given a mere few merciless seconds to let their first impression shine in a positive light; when the impact thus created is of lasting effect, even the better. Who, if not book jacket designer Chip Kidd, is predestined to endorse what’s a commonly known fact. After all, books are written to be read and sold, and their covers ideally serve as a teaser, a marketing tool and as an individual advertising platform alike. Shrouding a message in mystery may be the appropriate method when targeting one specific audience – or be utterly counterproductive when addressing another.

The whys and the wherefores in favour of clarity are readily shared in this informative yet most entertaining talk. Mesmerised listeners learn the difference between those two techniques implemented by successful designers to induce instant communication with the consumer.

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Huge links of heavy iron chains: Minds cannot be enchained.

TED Talk. Suki Kim: This is what it’s like to teach in North Korea

7.07.2015

To be able to write her book from an insider’s point of view, South Korean-born Suki Kim took the risk of going undercover in North Korea. For half a year, Kim worked as an English teacher at an elite school honing the country’s future leaders. While sensitising her students through concepts based on “seeking the truth” and “critical thinking“, massive doubts arose on her part at the same time: Was she putting them to peril by merely exposing them to usually unspeakable topics? “Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite,” is the memoir of Kim’s stay in Pyongyang during Kim Jong-Il’s final six months. Her work offers unprecedented insights into the psychology of North Korea’s ruling class.

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Reading time: about 1 minute