So long Berlin; we will see again

Today we say goodbye to the city of Berlin and head towards our new home away from home in Amsterdam.

Yesterday, we saw some of the best design in Berlin. We started our morning with a studio tour of the design firm of Mario Lombardo. Lombardo and his team showed us some of the incredible work they do for a variety of clients in such fields as fashion, publishing, and music. Lombardo’s studio is small and he wants it to remain that way. He said he is more interested in projects for little money that offer the freedom for him to do his best work, than big-budget projects that allow for little creative freedom. Even when he has to compromise with his clients and feels he’s not completely fulfilling his vision of a project, his work is amazing.

Next, we visited the Berlin location of the Bauhaus. While the school was only originally in Berlin for a matter of months, the site serves now as the museum for the full history of the school and movement. The exhibit in the museum offers a look at original materials from the Bauhaus professors and students. Again, being to see these things in person brings a new level of understanding that is simply not possible through book study alone. Seeing the actual items such as Hartwig’s chess set, Schlemuer’s wooden puppets, and Brandt’s tea set brings understanding of these works to a new level. It was also interesting to see the contrast between the 1921 pencil and charcoal studies of lines, human form, and direct representation and the 1930 studies of the relationship of line and color. While both set of works were from the preliminary classes, the more conceptual and geographic nature of the latter clearly showed the shift in approach during the history of the Bauhaus.

We spent most of the afternoon at the studio of typeface designer Luc(as) de Groot, designer of faces such as Thesis Sans which can be found in much signage and print in Berlin and throughout the world. He generously gave up his afternoon to sit with our group and discuss his approach to type design. He introduced a wonderful idea of “fast fonts” which are quick one- or two-hour experiments to produce fonts. While these rarely result in sellable faces, they do open doors to new design possibilities and opportunities.

The class day ended as we left de Groot’s studio. Most of the students ventured to the the Jewish museum, which is not only a stunning piece of architecture, but an inspiring example of design that can trigger emotional responses. Claudia says that this is her favorite European museum, which should tell you all you need to know that you can’t miss this when you are in Berlin.

Next stop, Amsterdam!

The view from our hotel.

Professor Roeschmann presents an MFA shirt to de Groot.

Berlin Bauahus.

Meeting with Lombardo.

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