Posts Tagged ‘Essen


The Siena of coal and iron


The beauty of this place is moving. In its own genre, it is as beautiful as Siena is. Harmony and incredible colors. Towers within the skyline.

P1210103Each time we come here it is breathtaking!



Neues Museum (in Essen)


Before jumping on my train to Düsseldorf tonight, I could pop over to Essen’s Folkwang Museum.

City lights and cosy lights share the scene…and glow like as a gilded Japanese screen. Continue reading ‘Neues Museum (in Essen)’


gold and amber

P1120266Tonight the rain on Essen streets makes the evening traffic and its light glow like amber and gold…


Villa Hügel, Essen

Goldenen Oktober, indeed. We headed to Villa Hügel, Essen. The train journey was marvellous, in the middle of the woods golden and copper hues. Chestnut, birch, linden, oaks…marvellous.


Krupp and down

Today we did a full immersion in yet another German manufacturing legend of the Ruhr: Krupp.

The Villa Hügel exhibition illustrates how Essen was shaped by the Dutch-German family and its diversified steel empire, and how soon the Krupps discovered the enormous potential of a new media, photography. Continue reading ‘Krupp and down’


the age of reason

In Italy you can buy scratch-and-win cards whose prize is a pension. Something like 4,000 Euro per month. Gaining a pension at 20, 30 or 50, what a dream…many people buy these cards in bars and shops. But this won’t solve our social security problems, though.

In a society where 30-somethings are forced to share the house with their parents because of insufficient income, with declining birthrates and where the theme of ageing workforce is not managed at all neither by Companies nor the State, the necessity to raise the retirement age is a wall against which a merry train hosting a cheerful party is going to crash. A society who doesn’t value neither skills nor experience and uses them only as a smart exclusion criteria (“you don’t have the necessary experience”) is not very well placed to deal with the fundamental issue of having a more productive workforce, longer term.

Watch Mrs Merkel’s video on the German social security and welfare. Because neither free lunches nor scratch-and-win cards will solve the welfare equation.

Continue reading ‘the age of reason’


Zollverein: archistars must behave

In these hours we are all seeing the shocking images from Duisburg Love Parade stampede. It looks as something went horribly wrong security-wise and I share the view of Dr Motte: such events need careful planning, cannot be improvised every year in a different location since crowd control must be very specific, experience is key and the Berlin Love Parade had not less than 10 gates, with the Tiergarten as a buffer.

I think it is a stupid thing to stop the Love Parade. Stopping incompetent, greedy people to manage it, yes. Let’s hope that the people responsible for gross underestimations are nailed down. But also that the Love Parade continues in its truest spirit. I will spare you the stupid comments done today by a überidiot Italian journalist, blaming this youth devoided of values blah blah…it is so mean that I don’t even want to discuss about it.

Having said that we had a GREAT experience in the Ruhr Region (with excellent crowd control and security, yes, during the A40 Still Leben mega-party from Duisburg to Dortmund) and we want to share what great days we had travelling through the region celebrating its Capital of Culture status.

So we started from Zollverein, the topmodel of coal-washing and colliery plants. It is a Unesco site, and its magnificience is enhanced by the greenery around. The cooling towers are the Ruhr’s landmarks and this one in Zollverein stands out in all its iconic power now.

Archistars behave. Yes because the original bauhaus architects are celebrated here first. Those able between 1928 and 1932 to think plan and execute on such a grand scale this modern plant: Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer. So in 1997 Norman Foster converted the former boiler house into the Design Centre North Rhine-Westphaliain. And today there are escalators and stairs by Rem Koolhaas.

The great Dutch had to limit himself to the humble refurbishment of escalators and stairs. Period. He stroke with color and his take on the flowing melted steel is poetic. But no mammooths are around.

The Japanese architects San’aa were even more subtle. A big cube of concrete plays lady-in-waiting to the plant, it is massive but once you enter it completely disappears, or rather, it turns inside out. Its massive asymmetrically scattered square windows are eyes on the plant. The whole building turns into a system of frames. Framing miners houses. Gazometers. Cooling towers. Framing the industrial and urban landscape around. What a fantastic building.

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