Posts in category: Feature

The Empire State Building in New York City

The Empire State Building: High ambitions

19.06.2017

What’s feasible?

1929: „How high can you go so it won’t fall down?“ John Jakob Raskob (one of the executives representing the Empire State, Inc.) is said to have asked the architects of the prestigious new edifice, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon. The main objective being to devise the highest building not only of New York City, but of the entire world. Initially they had hoped that 80 daring storeys should suffice. Yet, there was a fierce my-skyscraper-is-higher-than-yours competition going on in NYC in the first third of the 20th century and construction of the rivalrous Chrysler building was already in full swing when Raskob’s project just got started. Walter Chrysler’s building did become the tallest one, albeit temporarily. In the end, he was outraced by just a few metres of the finest Art Deco architecture shining brightly at 350, Fifth Avenue.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
European Theatres

The European Route of Historic Theatres

15.10.2016

Renowned architects have made them their individual masterpiece and often theatres and opera houses are named after their talented creators. Art and culture lovers not seldom go to great lengths to visit these awe-inspiring edifices and to inspect every detail of their often sumptuous and lavishly decorated interior. At best, admirers become part of a sublime performance. Even a trip halfway around the world does not seem to deter the truly addicted.

Embarking on a journey of theatre-sightseeing based on a pre-selection of venues is a possibility provided by The European Route of Historic Theatres: 8 routes including 22 countries have been compiled not merely to facilitate users’ choice but also to support better planning, help deepen the experience and to promote the around 120 member venues. In Europe alone, a vast number of formidable treasures are waiting to be lifted. Each route combines about twelve theatres and offers a pleasant journey taking roughly a week.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Robots working at a hotel reception in Nagasaki.

Robotic hospitality prevails at Nagasaki hotel

10.03.2016

Strange ways indeed
From a distance, front-desk receptionist Yumeko could be mistaken for a good-looking young lady of genuine flesh and blood, whereas colleagues positioned at the counter to either of her sides won’t fool anyone. They are instantly recognisable as what they are: a not-so-handsome-yet-still-quite-cute greenish descendent of the Jurassic age with a serious overbite and a manikin-like mechanical device held in colours white and blue: little Nao. It is obvious, that dinosaur Mirai cannot be real – but neither is Yumeko nor are most of the staff weasling about the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki: Instead, they are intelligent robots able to converse with their customers in a sensible and friendly manner while checking them in and out. The diligent machines are always ready to please, never in a filthy mood and obedient servants programmed to satisfy their guests’ special needs.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Das Stue in Berlin is situated at the rim of the Tiergarten park.

Berlin: The diplomatic legacy of a luxury hotel

8.02.2016

Tales of a building: Das Stue in Berlin

Upon setting foot into the hotel’s lobby area, guests are greeted by a gigantic crocodiles’ head sculpted by Parisian artist Quentin Garel. Walls around the premises hold fine examples of black-and-white vintage fashion photography collected by one of the hotel’s owners. Artwork and objects placed throughout public spaces vividly pay tribute to a prominent neighbour, the fabled Berlin zoo only a hop away: an enormous giraffe and two gorillas made of painted chicken wire are complemented by fellow animals ready to serve as poufs or practical footrests.

Who might have anticipated in the late 1930s, that the sophisticated edifice erected to house the Danish diplomatic mission in Berlin, would see it being converted into a stylish luxury hotel more than 70 years later? To transform a repeatedly abandoned building into the fashionable spot Das Stue was destined to be, it had to go through extensive refurbishment. It received a novel wing now attached to its former back courtyard and a completely new contemporary identity enhanced by a blend of old and new elements.

When Das Stue opened its gates in December of 2012, it already looked back on a changeful past.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
Things one needed for a train ride.

Ireland: Delightful prospects for train lovers

19.01.2016

As of summer 2016, Ireland (Republic and Northern) can be explored by rail luxury style aboard the Grand Hibernian, a new member to the family of iconic trains such as the legendary Royal Scotsman. Between August and October, clients are offered an attractive choice of three journeys – each following a different itinerary, yet all starting and ending in Dublin. The train boasts accommodation for up to 40 guests in private en-suite cabins whose cosy interior has been inspired by the isle’s rich cultural heritage.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes