Insight No. 49: Zaha Hadid – “The Queen of the Curves” (Architect & Designer)

arts, Insights, Kunst, Oddities, Reisen, Travel

Leisure and entertainment venue in sharjah /UAE

zaha h

ABOUT ZAHA HADID – Architect + Artist + Designer + Extraordinary Woman

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid DBE RA (31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) was an Iraqi-British architect.

She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. She received the UK’s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011.

In 2012, she was made a Dame by Elizabeth II for services to architecture, and in 2015 she became the first and only woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

She was described by The Guardian of London as the “Queen of the curve”, who “liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity”. Her major works include the aquatic centre for the London 2012 Olympics, Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum in the US, and the Guangzhou Opera House in China. Some of her designs have been presented posthumously, including the statuette for the 2017 Brit Awards, and several of her buildings were still under construction at the time of her death, including the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, a venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The architectural style of Hadid is not easily categorised, and she did not describe herself as a follower of any one style or school. Nonetheless, before she had built a single major building, she was categorised by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a major figure in architectural deconstructivism. Her work was also described as an example of parametricism. An article profiling Hadid in the New Yorker magazine was titled “The Abstractionist”.

When she was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2004, the jury chairman, Lord Rothschild, commented: “At the same time as her theoretical and academic work, as a practicing architect, Zaha Hadid has been unserving in her commitment to modernism. Always inventive, she’s moved away from existing typology, from high tech, and has shifted the geometry of buildings.”

The Design Museum described her work in 2016 as having “the highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evoke the chaos and flux of modern life”.

Hadid herself, who often used dense architectural jargon, could also describe the essence of her style very simply: “The idea is not to have any 90-degree angles. In the beginning, there was the diagonal. The diagonal comes from the idea of the explosion which ‘re-forms’ the space. This was an important discovery.”

Tipp No. 97: Spectacular Couture – A Fusion of Traditional Craftsmanship & New Technologies by Iris van Herpen (Netherlands)

arts, Insights, Kunst, Technology

IRIS VAN HERPEN – Definetely one of my absolute favorite fashion designers, inventors & artists….unfortunately beyond my budget.

Her COUTURE respectively the brilliant pictures of her breath-taking art pieces – taken by MORGAN O`DONOVAN – is pure eye-candy in my view…


Iris van Herpen

IRIS VAN HERPEN is a Dutch fashion designer who is widely recognized as one of fashion’s most talented and forward-thinking creators who continuously pushes the boundaries of fashion design.

Since her first show in 2007 van Herpen has been preoccupied with inventing new forms and methods of sartorial expression by combining the most traditional and the most radical materials and garment construction methods into her unique aesthetic vision. 

Van Herpen is often hailed as a pioneer in utilizing 3D printing as a garment construction technique, and as an innovator who is comfortable with using technology as one of the guiding principles in her work because of its sculptural nature and unfamiliar form.

The designer’s intent is to blend the past and the future into a distinct version of the present by fusing technology and traditional Couture craftsmanship.

Her singular vision combined with the complexity of her creations has made van Herpen a fixture on the Paris Haute Couture calendar, where she has shown since January 2011. Additionally, van Herpen’s work has been featured in various notable museum exhibitions.

Because of van Herpen’s interest in multidisciplinary approach to creation that goes beyond fashion, she has often collaborated with various artists such as Jolan van der Wiel and Neri Oxman and architects such as Philip Beesley and Benthem and Crouwel Architects. The designer’s interest in science and technology has led to ongoing conversations with CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Insight No. 2: WABI SABI – The Beauty of Being Perfectly Imperfect

arts, Insights, Karate, Psychologie, psychology, Zen
wabi sabi

Facing the ever-growing self-optimization delusion that fuels our inner critic non-stop, it is quite comforting to fall back on the Japanese idea respectively Zen-inspired concept of “Wabi-Sabi”.

Wabi-Sabi describes the art of Imperfect Beauty – accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay (as well as cycle of life & death), in which everything has beauty.

It is simple, slow and uncluttered, and it reverse authenticity above all. Finally, it is the imperfection that make up uniqueness and individuality. Just perfection can be copied, if perfection exists at all.

Wabi-Sabi celebrates cracks (e.g. see the pic of bowl with gold-filled cracks), crevices and all the other marks that time, weather and loving use leave behind.

wabi sabi 2

It reminds us that we are all just transient beings on this planet and that we will return to dust at the end like the entire material world.

Wabi-sabi is not just a Concept, but also an aesthetic and a worldview.

Simply, an intuitive way of Living reflecting the Japanese “mindfulness culture” and in particular “yugon”.

The latter stands for an awareness of the universe that triggers deep emotional responses impossible to express verbally.


Translated literally wabi means lonely, miserable and feeling lost. Just in combination with the term: sabi the meaning is uncovered – being old, mature and showing patina.

Not the obvious beauty is the ideal but hidden (covered up) beauty. Harsh simplicity that reveals appeal / charm to understanding/knowing  people (like Connaisseur in French) and nobless hidden in the envelop of unimpressiveness is regarded as  true beauty.

In den Wäldern drüben,
tief unter der Last des Schnees,
ist letzte Nacht
ein Pflaumenzweig erblüht.

In the woods over there,
deep under the weight of the snow,
a branch of plum blossomed last night.

Hanami (short-living cherry blossom on trees that don´t grow cherry fruits) but also plum blossom arms are symbols for transience and therefore, also for a young, honorable dead – traditionally among Samurai but also in general related to seppuko (suicide to save one`s Honor and the one of the family, which is still practiced today).

Well, I don´t want to let you go with dark thoughts…in the contrary!

Please, keep in mind you are perfectly imperfect. Outside beauty is by far less valuable than the inner one. Stay pur and authentic, just be you.

And if someone is really interested in you, he/she will be empathic and will take her/his time to get to know you and recognize you – uncovering your beauty. You´ve deserved such kind of special person – who cannot be fooled by polished, shiny surfaces – because you are truely beautiful.


Insight No. 65: “FUTURISTIC PAST merged into the environment” – Architecture by Kengo Kuma (Japan)

arts, Insights, Kunst, Nature, Reisen, Tipps, Travel, Zen
Coeda House 
V&A Dundee Design Museum / Scotland
Pigment Shop

I am deeply in love with Kengo Kuma`s breath-taking work. My heart is heavy because I will never ever afford to hire his studio to build my house. Studying traditional Japanese martial arts (also abroad), I know a little bit about the Japanese history, culture and philosophy, which I highly appreciate.

I am Northern by nature. Thus, I feel comfortable with merging Scandinavian and Japanese design languages that are very close to each other in my view. Think of the preference of high-quality, sustainability, natural materials, clean minimalism and purity….trying to reinterpret traditions and to upgrade them with innovations & inventions.  

May I introduce KENGO KUMA and his amazing art work to you?

Kengo Kuma (隈 研吾 Kuma Kengo, born 1954 in Yokohama) is a Japanese architect, product designer, artist and professor in the Department of Architecture (Graduate School of Engineering) at the University of Tokyo (Hongo). Kuma is also noted for his prolific writings. 

After spending a couple of years abroad, he founded the “Spatial Design Studio” in 1987, and in 1990, he established his own office “Kengo Kuma & Associates”. 
As a professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo, he runs diverse research projects concerning architecture, urbanity and design within his own Laboratory, Kuma Lab. His office Kengo Kuma & Associates employs over 150 architects in Tokyo and Paris, designing projects of diverse type and scale throughout the world.

Kuma’s most ambitious project at the moment is undeniably the Tokyo 2020 National Olympic Stadium, a 68,000-seat wooden lattice structure that is still under construction. Kuma and Associates’ scheme was selected after the original winning design — by British-Iraqi Zaha Hadid (who unexpectedly died in 2016)– was abandoned due to budgetary concerns – and due to criticsm for not selecting a local architect.

Kuma’s stated goal is to recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and to reinterpret these traditions for the 21st century.

Without being an architecture expert or Japanese studies graduate, I have tried to summarize the major aspects of Kengo Kuma`s philosophy, as I perceive and understand his wonderful work. Voilà…. 

  • Buildings as sculptures of light and shadow
  • Merging buildings into the enviroment instead of dominating them
  • Incorporation of the (weather, seasonal or development-related) changing nature into buildings (embracing change and interchange)
  • Open and flexible spaces summarized by the roof only
  • Organic shapes in the context, culture and tradition of its surroundings
  • Use of natural, sustainable organic materials that are locally produced
  • Innovative techniques to better use traditional materials like wood, stone and rice paper
  • Zen inspired reduction & minimalism to enable focus on the essentials of the Here & Now
  • Offering physical comfort but also mental comfort
  • Striving for harmony with the inner and outer world
  • Architecture as an attempt to connect the past with the future
  • Buildings that are offering different perspectives to levitate your mind & spirit
  • Integration of technology (e.g. solar panels) not only as mere technical feature but also as integrated design elements
  • Requirement of eco-friendliness and longevity of architecture that shall outlast generations.

I guess, Kuma`s architecture addresses my hidden desires perfectly. This might be the reason why I am so much fascinated and touched by his philosophy and poetry-like design.

Insight No. 4: “China Loves Africa” by Kenyan Contemporary Artist Michael Soi (incl. reblogged insight)

arts, Cartoons, Insights, Kunst, Reisen



Actually, China continues to build rail lines, bridges, dams and other public works projects evidence of an altruistic commitment to improve communication and commerce within Africa or a calculated strategy to further facilitate China’s deep penetration into the African hinterlands for raw materials (not unlike the European colonialists who built rail lines and ports to export Africa’s mineral wealth). China fully supports corrupt-to-the-core African dictators not because it does not want to “interfere” in local politics but because these dictators are the only means China has to ensure a chokehold on Africa. China’s fortunes in Africa are tied to the (mis)fortunes of Africa’s thugtators and dictators.


Is China a genereous investor and developer or have Africans face a revival of colonialism?

Cit: Alemayehu G. Mariam, Sep 07, 2017:

“The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside… The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the develop-ment of the less developed parts of the world. Investment under neo-colonialism increa-ses rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world…. Neo-colonialism might be also the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploita-tion without redress. In the days of old-fashioned colonialism, the imperial power had at least to explain and justify at home the actions it was taking abroad. In the colony those who served the ruling imperial power could at least look to its protection against any violent move by their opponents. With neo-colonialism neither is the case.”



There are African voices that are warning: Beware of Chinese bearing gifts: “Investments, loans, aid…”
China has literally invaded Africa with its investors, traders, lenders, builders, developers, laborers, Confuzius institutes and who knows what else.

Feel free to get insight into facts & figures of the Chinese FDIs and Arican politics published by Alemayehu G. Mariam in the Pambazuka News (Voices for Freedom & Justice):

The Artist Michael Soi (Kenya)

Kenyan Contemporary Artist Michael Soi is one of the crtical voices today.

Among other beautiful arts and design objects, he created a series of colorful, strong paintings called “CHINA LOVES AFRICA” (web:


He blames the Africans for selling their continent with ist natural resources, oil, gas , Copper, Titanium, Farmland, cattle, cheap labor for sweat shop relocation from APAC to Africa and so on. ..without transferring know-how same time.

In my view (Weiss-Nix), the Chinese won´t do the same mistakes like the greedy Western investors in China, who enabled China to become a global competitor because they gave up their loyality to their staff and locations in the course of the quite short-sighted globalization process – putting shareholder value first without any scrupel.

However, Michael Soi highlights that the engagement of the Chinese infrastructure investments are not free of charge at all. In the Weltspiegel-TV interview of 19th Aug. 2018, he explains cit:


As a European I wonder, why it has been possible to keep and distribute the oil / gas related wealth across the Arabian societies (UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, KSA….) and why the African states, who are blessed with so many natural ressources (incl. people, farmland & animals) seem to be not able to manage these assets to the benefit of their People by developing their countries in a long run? A naive, stupid question?

Unfortunately, we (Germans) have to live from our sole significant natural ressource: Education, Discipline & Creativity – which means: Our People. Imagine what we could achieve if god would have been a little bit more generous to us….Okay, we`ve got a lot of rain…which won´t be for sale to China like our hidden gems (=innovative small-medium-sized businesses) and our strong global brands, I hope.

Ähnliches Foto
Ähnliches Foto
Bildergebnis für Michael Soi
Ähnliches Foto


Michael Soi (Born Nairobi 1972) lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya where he has is a leading light in what is a burgeoning contemporary art scene. The son of one of Kenya’s most distinguished contemporary painters, Soi has developed in to a successful painter and sculptor with a unique vision and highly distinctive style. His three dimensional work is playful and cryptic – usually created with brightly painted plywood. Much of his paintings provide satirical commentary on socio-political issues his unforgiving if humorous gaze focussing on political impunity, greed and Kenya’s growing sex industry.

Michael Soi’s paintings are informed by a strong tradition of cartoonists whose works have satirised Kenyan society since independence – often bravely poking fun at the political establishment. He is at pains to make work that is meaningful to his own countrymen and also bought locally by a new generation of Kenyan art collectors, but at the same time he now has a growing international following. His concern is with clarity of form and legibility of message; in the process he has created his own universal pictorial language

Soi’s acrylics on canvas paintings are sharply political and expressive, questioning Beijing’s push to making the most of Africa’s cheap labor, natural resources, and the continent’s increasing need for advanced technology and infrastructure. Put together, the pieces stand as both social commentary and a visual diary of how China is shaping the future of Kenya— and Africa — for generations to come.

With reference to his “CHINA LOVES AFRICA Series”, please find an INTERVIEW below…

Due to the fact that I couldn`t retrieve MIchael Soi` s website that included an online shop with very stylish designer bags (his old domain seems to be expired), please have a look at his FACEBOOK presence:

Tipp No. 96: Icelandic Fashion Designer Anita Hirlekar – “Explosion of Color & Texture”

arts, Insights, Kunst, Reisen, Travel

Since visiting Norway a few years ago, I knew that I must have some Scandinavian blood like friends & colleagues abroad supposed. My body design & features clearly indicates that my ancestors were not 100% Southern French-German. In Norway, I found my shopping paradise.

The swimmer-like width of my shoulders, my long arms & legs and female curves…no problem. Frankly speaking, my appearance is not cute at all (at least at first sight). I am a shield maid and a real woman – and not a kawai little girl. I spent some time in Asia, where I couldn´t find anything for my wardrobe.

By the way, later year I did one of these popular genetic tests and finally got the confirmation, in terms of genetic ethnicity I am a French-German-Scandinavian Mix plus a dash of Iberian. No wonder that Scandinavian fashion fits me well.

However, may I introduce ANITA HIRLEKAR`s beautiful work and philosophy to you?

Autumn n/ Winter Collection 2018
Autumn / Winter 2018
Autumn / Winter 2018

Autumn/Winter 2018 is a collection with a strong focus on textiles (print, felt, and embroidery) and the quality of hand work. It is about going to back to making things by hand to create something meaningful and special. All the fabrics was made by Anita in her textile studio in Akureyri Iceland. 

Pre-Fall 2018

Taking an artistic approach to fashion, ANITA HIRLEKAR has an unconstrained use to color & texture. 

The prints are developed and hand painted by Anita using her embroidered pieces as inspiration. All fabrics vary in color & texture giving the garment a unique appearance. The collection consists of easy & elegant print dresses & separates. All the textiles and accessories are made in our studio in north of Iceland.

Autumn / Winter 2017
Autumn / Winter 2017

Feature on Vogue Italia

At the occasion of the Reykjavik Fashion Show 2017, Cit.: The RFF was closed by talented Aníta Hirlekar, the designer whose strongest point is her artisanal approach – recognizing (and preserving) the importance and uniqueness of handmade clothing. She sent down the runway tops and dresses with innovative and colorful textures, in perfect balance with the elegance of all the silhouettes

Spring / Summer 2016
Winter / Fall 2014
Winter / Fall 2014


ANITA HIRLEKAR is a womenswear label based in Reykjavik, Iceland. Established in 2014 the eponymous brand creates sophisticated and feminine designs with a playful touch.  

Taking an artistic approach to fashion, ANITA HIRLEKAR has an unconstrained use of color & texture. The designs have a strong attention to innovative fabrications always focusing on longevity

The brands signature is to develop a vision that will reflect the uniqueness of the human touch, combining handcrafts with an high fashion sensibility. 

All the textiles are made & developed in our studio in north of Iceland.

Anita completed both BA in Fashion Design with Print in 2012 followed by the MA specializing in Fashion Textiles at Central Saint Martins collage of Art and Design in London.

Since graduating in 2014 Anita Hirlekar has received international acknowledgment. Anita´s unique vision of style & colors was recognized when she was chosen as one of four ones to watch designers at London fashion week SS 16. 

Her designs has been featured in numerous publications such as Elle USSelf Service & i-D magazine & worn by creative women such as the award winning director Rungano Nyoni at the BAFTAs 2018.

Tipp No. 73: “Al Mizan in Design & Arts” – Contemporary Arts & Design by Ahmad Angawi (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

arts, Kunst, Tipps


Ahmad Angawi is an artist / designer of Meccan roots, and is inspired by the colourful diversity of the culture of Hejaz.

His works revolve around the human condition while also paying homage to both culture and the environment. His approach is inspired mainly by Islamic principles rather than the Islamic aesthetic.

Influenced by his Father, Architect Dr. Sami Angawi, he has adopted the concept of “Al Mizan in design”, which is the belief in the fundamental principle of balance; as a state of mind, as well as the belief in its application in the field of design.

Ahmed travels extensively throughout the Middle East, visiting historic cities such as Cairo, Marrakech, Fas, Damascus and Tunis, where he intermingles with traditional artisans and craftsmen in an attempt to research their time-honored roles and their relationship to today’s mass-market productions.

He strongly believes that industrial designers are the craftsmen of today.  Ahmad earned his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

He is currently the Associate Director of AMAR center for Architecture and Design Studies and works as a consultant at GMSV (Geometric modeling and Scientific Visualization Research Center) at KAUST where he is working on Traditional Innovative Products.

Tipp No. 71: “Funny Fantasy Disaster Scenes On Porcelain Plates” – Xmas Decoration – by The Designer Dan Moyer

arts, Creatures, humor, Kunst
Porcelain Plates Calamityware by Don Moyer
Porcelain Plates Calamityware by Don Moyer
Porcelain Plates Calamityware by Don Moyer
Porcelain Plates Calamityware by Don Moyer

Another finding of mine, storytelling Christmas Tree decoration that will make you and your beloved ones smile… 

At first glance, these porcelain plates look just like your grandmother’s tableware. But a closer look reveals a playful twist on the popular, classy 18th century, blue and white Willow pattern. Designed by Don Moyer, the series Calamityware incorporates unexpected characters—such as voracious sea monsters, flying monkeys, and mysterious UFOs—illustrated among traditional ceramic motifs.

For further details:

Christmas can come!

Tipp No. 68: “Woven Dreams – Fair Trade Berber Carpets” – About Giving and Taking (Xmas Gifts)

arts, Kunst, Tipps

Hand-made, unique Berber carpets from Morocco and Tunesia – directly purchased for fair prices on the spot in small communities located in the Atlas mountains. Julia and Walid are selling these woven dreams in Berlin-Kreuzberg. But you will find  the timeless collections of Kelims, Azilal rugs, Beniouran rugs, Boucherouite rugs, Vintage rugs and runners also online. Please, have a look at:, if you are interested.

How much do you have to give? It depends on…of course.

Maybe, it is a nice option for Xmas to dress up your floor. Being tired of the laminated floor in my (rented) appartment, I would highly appreciate such a nice gift in any case.

I think, there will be a comeback of rugs soon.

Tipp No. 61: styleGREEN Plant & Moos Picture Collections, Green Walls and Pictograms (Moos- und Pflanzenbilder)

arts, Kunst, Nature, Tipps, Uncategorized

Instead of conventional paintings & drawings simply put a micro garden or tiny forrest with 3D effect on your wall

The styleGREEN moss pictures will are unique pieces of art in different shapes and colour compositions are the fascinating result of the interplay between pole- and forest moss. The plant pictures offer a combination of mosses with various plant species as for example ferns, eucalyptus, papyrus, amaranth or the ming plant.  Actually, you can customize your green wall.

The green pictures does not to be watered. They do not need any extra light. And they are low/no maintenance and noise insulation certified according to  DIN ISO 354 standards. Thank to their conservation, the pictures are antistatic, so that dust should not be any issue. 

According to the supplier the pictures smell like forrest. This smell is expected to disappear after 4 – 6 weeks. It is highlighted that the pictures should not be placed next to heatings or fire places.

The mounting of these natural art pieces is variable & easy to handle and will be provided by the supplier. 

For further details, please fee free to visit the website of styleGREEN: 

Auf Deutsch: styleGREEN Bilder sind einzigartige Design-Objekte mit 3D Effekt, die folgende Vorteile bieten: Keine Bewässerung, kein Licht nötig, kein Pflegeaufwand, natürliche Optik und Haptik, Schallschutzzertifizierung nach DIN ISO 354
Durch das Zusammenspiel von Wald- und Kugelmoosen lassen sich einzigartige Kunstwerke in verschiedensten Farbzusammensetzungen und Formen realisieren. 

Durch die variable Aufhängung des Moos-Schildes mit Abstandshaltern oder Klebepunkten ist die Anbringung unkompliziert und auf jedem Untergrund möglich.

Dauerhafte, intensive Sonnen- oder Lichteinstrahlung sollte man allerdings vermeiden (z.B. Halogenstrahler mit wenig Abstand).
Das gleiche gilt für extreme Luftfeuchtigkeit (>70%) und sehr trockene Luft. Die Bilder & Piktogtramme sollten daher auf keinen Fall in die Nähe von Kaminen, Heizungen oder anderen Hitzequellen hängen.
Durch die Konservierung erhalten die Pflanzen antistatische Eigenschaften und nehmen kaum Staub an. Bei Bedarf können Sie diese jedoch vorsichtig mit einem Staubwedel reinigen.
Laut Hersteller kann es anfänglich einen “waldigen” Geruch geben, der jedoch nach 4 – 6 Wochen verfliegt und gesundheitlich unbedenklich ist. Es wird darauf hingewiesen, dass die verwendeten Pflanzen allerdings ihren artentypischen Eigengeruch über diese Zeit hinaus behalten werden.
Auch wenn die Pflanzen absolut natürlich wirken, sie sollen nicht gegossen oder besprüht werden.

Für weitere Details: