We’re talking a lot about reli-heritage lately…how it should be re-used in a post-christian society and how you can keep the space (semi) public. Churches are meant to be open for everyone. Willem is working on a couple of fascinating projects at the moment so somehow we keep discussing interesting concepts and best-practices.
This weekend we ended up in a super cool Bed & Breakfast that can definitely be marked as a successful concept. It used to be an old little baptist church from the early 20th century. The congregation consisted of +/- 50 people. This group decided to sell the place ten years ago (since they also had a similar small church in a nearby town).
Currently this former religious building in Zeerijp (Groningen) is not just a B&B but the bigger spaces are also used as a venue for retreats and yoga-classes. The place also hosts little singer-songwriter concerts and coaching sessions. Of course -in terms of reli-heritage- it’s a mini-project, done by just one (super creative) couple on a budget, but the atmosphere is extremely vibrant. It’s a place that attracts not only locals but (thanks to the B&B) people who seek rest and peace from all over the world. You should check it out.
Today is your last chance to buy the special June issue of One World Magazine on China (if you’re living in the Netherlands, that is:)). I wrote a couple of articles for it. I loved doing research for the piece on Taobao-villages.
Hunger for food safety of China’s city dwellers is satiated in an interesting way by e-commerce businesses in rural villages. Beijingers don’t shop for groceries in a supermarket around the corner but go online to buy fresh vegetables thousands of miles away… Will this trend close the wealth-gap between well-off Chinese who live in the city and fellow countrymen who are farmers and used to struggle to get by? Find out:)!!
Writing has been a form of therapy the past couple of weeks. I was able to work on several articles about China-related topics for Dutch media. While it’s lovely to be back in Europe, I still miss life in Hongkong very much and writing about Asia-related issues somehow makes it a lot easier to deal with a reversed culture shock.
You can read some of my work for Nederlands Dagblad and China2025 on my blog here. I also wrote three pieces for the June issue of One World Magazine… they curated a special China-edition. Keep you posted on that project. It’s being printed as we speak!
This birdhouse made me look! Birds seem to like the modern architecture as well:). Refreshing alternative for all those old fashioned wooden structures people want to squeeze them into:). Good job guys from Opossum Design!
Happy springtime everyone!
Babylon; what a suitable name for this lovely planter and lamp in one! The hanging gardens of babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one whose location has not been definitely established. Maybe your living-room would work as a location for a modern version of these ‘gardens’:). I’m sure mine would!
Designed by Toronto based studio Object Interface. Found on shoeboxdwelling.com, super cool blog about finding comfort, style & dignity in small spaces.
Here some snapshots of the Exhibition ‘Aging Dragons’ that was connected to the urban planners conference ‘Beyond Big Plans’ in Seoul this month.
The exhibition was all about post-growth of the big developed Asian cities like Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo. The ‘Hong Kong – Boring City’ research project that I’m working on together with Inge Goudsmit was part of it.
I finished Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’ a couple of weeks ago and one of the suggestions she makes on living a more meaningful life is: leave trails. If you like a place, a book or an experience, write about it and share it with others.
This way you nail down why exactly you enjoyed it so much and that way it makes you contemplate more intense on positive things in your life. You also literally leave a trail of good experiences for others to follow when you share what kind of places or things made you feel happy.
Yesterday I worked at the lovely co-workings space VanBoven. Every Friday you can climb up the stairs of a beautiful Amsterdamse School church building in the Baarsjes neighbourhood and find the perfect quiet place to get some serious work done. It’s only 5 euro’s for the whole day and coffee, tea, fruit, cookies, chocolate are complementary.
During the rest of the week they organise little indie-concerts, exhibitions and courses. Love this concept, definitely plan to go there more often.
What a great infographic done by information designer Anna Vital. Most of the people featured in this visual were considered not successful and stuck in an un-creative situation for a big part of their lives. I think it’s very important to realise how often we judge one another automatically by what we do at this moment, and not look at each others potential instead.
Especially for those of us who haven’t had the privilege of growing up or working in a stimulating environment where talents were nurtured, it’s hopeful to know ‘that not all those who wander are lost’…
A lot of people ask how it feels to set up life again back in Amsterdam. A HK friend sent me a blogpost about ‘reversed culture shock’ and I recognise the emotions that are portrayed in the quote below:
“It hurts but there are so many people so very happy to have us back here. And we don’t want to disappoint them so sometimes we avoid talking about our feelings.(…) The transition material tells me that a new beginning starts with an ending. The rites of passage of ancient cultures teach us to face the end, embrace the grief, and move through to the new. Denial, slap a happy-face emoticon on it, fake-it-’til-you-make-it, just won’t do. Honest tears help wash the soul.”
On a lighter note: it’s so much fun to keep working on projects in Hongkong. It helps somehow to still feel part of what’s happening in the city. One of the projects I finished last week is this logo design for Urban Delight. They took over the Foodwalk business I wrote about here. The ribbon meanders through the word ‘urban’ as a visualisation of a route through the city. I think it’s an adventurous metaphor for an amazing food adventure.
“Time defines our relationships, our memories, our dreams and hopes,” according to graphic designer Vahran Muratyan. He writes about it in the introduction of the lovely book ‘About Time’. I got it from my friend Annemijn (“it was about time you guys came back to Amsterdam”, she said;))
The book is a graphic novel that express the universally felt notions of how time both flies by and crawls along, measured in moments and everyday events, in sweeping timelines and mind maps that aim to capture a lifetime of human experiences. This book is stylish, thought-provoking and beautifully produced, warmly recommended!
“Take it, make it, lose it, have it, kill it, spend it, save it, forget it, break it, set it, repeat it, keep it… because only with time can possibility become reality.” Have a wonderful time, reading this book:)!