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Germany 2011 - Day 11

Germany 2011 - Day 11

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Bauhaus Tour

Nuremburg and Ulm, Germany

Motel One is where I stayed in Nuremburg after seeing one next door to my hotel in Berlin. Despite the cool, modern aesthetic, the room rates were somehow very affordable, at 59 euros per night. So I wanted to find out how this worked. It seemed like the modern, minimalistic approach to hotel stays. All the rooms were identical, containing only the bare essentials, but were very well designed and still gave a sense of luxury, even though they were small and sparse. Breakfast could be included for another 7.50 euros, and extended the sense of affordable luxury to the experience of enjoying a meal in a communal atmosphere.

Nuremburg

The weather was dark and overcast in Nuremburg, creating a sense of somber, contemplative silence that seemed appropriate for my trip by S-Bahn (city trams) to the Nazi Documentation Centre. I had hoped to connect with Nils Werner (@phoque), another Symphony CMS forum member and Symposium participant in Erlangen, but unfortunately our plans for the weekend didn't coincide, but Nils was kind enough to suggest a number of excursions.

On Saturdays, the Nazi Documentation Centre opened at 10 am instead of 9 am. Since I had arrived at 9 am, I had no choice but to walk around for an hour, which was a great way to discover that there were stations surrounding the lake, providing background information for some of the remaining ruins of the the Third Reich. Here was a military/political movement that put art, design, technology and architecture into the service of building up a psychological environment and social climate in which a megolomaniacal leader could come very close to creating a violent and oppressive global empire.

The comparison of the Nazis and the Bauhaus movement, to me, is a remarkable juxtaposition of very different approaches to using art and technology to rebuild a nation. I think of content strategy in web design and how important it is to have quality content. The message is very important, and so are both the means by which we communicate and the ends toward which we strive.

Ulm, A City of Contrasts

I took a train to Ulm to visit Jens Scherbl (@jensscherbl), a student and freelance developer I knew from the Symphony forum, whom I had chatted with a week prior to the Symposium via a Google+ hangout, and whom I had met in person in Cologne.

Ulm is an interesting study in contrasts, being a combination of both the traditional and the modern. The city boasts the tallest church in the world, Ulm Minster. It was also home to the Ulm School of Design, founded in 1953 by Otl Aicher, Inge Aicher-Scholl (sister of Sophie Scholl, the famous member of the anti-Nazi resistance movement) and Max Bill,

viewed as being second only to the Bauhaus as the most influential school of design.

The focus of the school was grounded in a

new philosophy of education as an “operational science”, a systems-thinking approach which embodied both art and science.

(Wikipedia)

We visited the Ulmer Museum, viewing some of the Bauhaus influenced design that came out of the Ulm School of Design and informed the product design work of designers such as Dieter Rams for Braun and the corporate identity design for Lufthansa, developed by designer Otl Aicher and his Gruppe E5 student group.