For the jubilee exhibition "Taste Is the Lack of Appetite" at the renowned Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin, we are opening our doors to the public and are allowing a glimpse behind the scenes.
Realizing an exhibition and celebrating an anniversary requires many people with different talents and expertise. Employees at the various exhibition venues, external designers, sister companies on the upper floors, old companions, DJanes and talented model makers abroad all take part in these diverse processes.
From budgeting and conceptualizing to curating - such an event is a great opportunity to work together and revise GRAFT projects.
Concept and design
Twenty-five years of GRAFT - this amount of years stands for a quarter of a century full of ideas and concepts, with 727 projects, ten own publications and 39 curated exhibitions have been created. How do you decide which leitmotif, which projects and which messages you want to spread with the anniversary exhibition? Do you focus on the past 25 years, on current events or on the upcoming challenges of the future? What is the common thread that ties the office's various activities and projects together?
The concept phase of the exhibition began in late August 2022 and led us through jointly created imaginary worlds, from surreal blobs to concrete questions of construction.
The exhibition's motto "Taste is the Lack of Appetite", a phrase coined by American art critic and good friend of GRAFT Dave Hickey (1938-2021), provided the starting point and creative anchor for brainstorming and developed into a kind of continued mantra of the office, which was to materialize in the form of an exhibition. At regular intervals, we worked with the renowned curatorial team of the Aedes Gallery (represented by Kristin Feireiss, Hans-Jürgen Commerell and Mathias Schnell) to sharpen the concept step by step until the exhibition gradually took shape.
The project management was initially in the hands of former PR Director Nora Zerelli, who handed this and the management of the weekly design meetings to our new Head of PR, Maria Ludewig, in June 2023.
Here, the PR team met with the five GRAFT partners Sven Fuchs, Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Georg Schmidthals and Thomas Willemeit every other Tuesday to discuss the design proposals of our Senior Architect Marta Piaseczynska-Karaivanov, as well as the content to be coordinated regarding the exhibition organization.
The journey of the Solarkiosk
As an important part of GRAFT's work also involves charitable projects, it was clear from the outset that the jubilee exhibition should also highlight the theme of Architecture Activism and that the Solarkiosk project had to be a central exhibit - and preferably on a 1:1 scale.
There are actually over 250 Solarkiosks spread across three continents as sustainable energy hubs, so the desire to place a prototype in the showrooms was no easy task. During research and consultation with Solarkiosk co-founder Andreas Spiess, however, it turned out that there is still a Solarkiosk in Berlin - just in a completely different form than expected. This is because the kiosk on display is the first prototype of this project, which was designed 14 years ago and assembled here in Berlin. After the test phase, this kiosk became part of Berlin's nightlife and was housed by our friends from Holzmarkt in Kater Blau. There, it quickly became a permanent fixture in the well-known Berlin club. The all-nighters as a bar and counter soon became noticeable in the form of lots of graffiti on the kiosk itself.
The next challenge was: how to maneuver the solar kiosk out of the Holzmarkt site to the exhibition place? There was only one possibilty - the use of a crane, a lot of skill and dexterity. The kiosk then made a stopover at Fittkau Metallbau, the company that had also helped us to develop and assemble the Solarkiosk prototype many years ago. Polished up and made presentable again, the Solarkiosk, alongside the wooden models shown in the exhibition, is a life-size exhibit to touch, to enter and to explore.
After the end of the exhibition and its journey so far, it is planned that the kiosk will be positioned in the garden of the new GRAFTLAB in Invalidenstraße - "Kiosk coming home, gazebo à la GRAFT!"
Wooden sculptures with MAKUJAKU
The large wooden models in the exhibition represent six different buildings by GRAFT in an exemplary manner and reduced to their core statement. These five models made of alder wood represent design principles that emerge from the office's projects: WEAVING, TRACING, SECTIONING, VOXELING, CARVING and LOFTING. Some of these techniques may also have been used in the construction process of these wooden colossi. The model maker - Jakub Kubiński from MAKUJAKU in Warsaw - milled and shaped the impressive models, which are up to 4.28 m long and weigh up to 160 kg.
Indispensable for this work: our ex-graftie and senior architect Marta Piaseczynska-Karaivanov, who used her in-depth knowledge of 3D programs to digitally model the models in advance and also virtually implement spontaneous design ideas. The result: abstract architectural models that stimulate curiosity and illustrate the interplay between conceptual, material and virtual craftsmanship.
Arriving on site
After about 14 months of work, the moment of truth has arrived - the installation of the exhibition on site at the Aedes Architecture Forum. This is where the conceptual vision is brought to life with months of preparation and the pieces of the puzzle from all aspects of planning are put together.
Scaffolding, packaging and foils, tools and laser measuring equipment temporarily staff the Aedes exhibition rooms. How do the photos look when printed and hung up? A 12-meter-long textile banner has to be hung on steel cables above the Solarkiosk. The models have to be positioned precisely - after all, it's not easy to move 160 kg. And the lettering "Taste Is the Lack of Appetite" is stuck to the walls as an anamorphosis. The "E" a little to the right, the "I" a little downwards. The Berlin company "Fotoreklame" did a precise job here, attaching letter after letter in the right places in the room - the birth of the anamorphosis is complete. Finally, Aedes directed the lighting, turning the rooms filled with objects into an exhibition.
In these moments of realization, when the expertise of all the companies involved comes together, it becomes clear that every exhibition element and detail really does contribute to the overall effect. A great result, also thanks to the experience of the Aedes construction team - many thanks for that!
The exhibition catalogue
Editing project texts and revising architectural publication drawings requires a lot of patience and also a return to the respective design phase of the GRAFT projects at display. The abstraction of the drawings was realized by our intern Julia Metzger and also involved the project managers and participating graphic designers of the six projects in the exhibition planning. The design of the sample layout was a gift from our sister company GRAFT Brandlab and was in the hands of Harold Kohn, who developed the compelling covers for the chapters. After the statements on the projects were sharpened in collaboration with the partners and edited by Alma Grossen, they were handed over to the final artwork department of Proxi Design, a graphics company that has worked with GRAFT for many years.
The professional translation by Gareth Davies was used throughout the exhibition and gave us the confidence to implement an exhibition entirely in English. Here too, a Berlin company took over the printing and helped us find the paper: Europrint GmbH was commissioned by the Aedes editorial team through Christine Meierhofer, who has been responsible for the design of the Aedes exhibition catalogs for years. Here is a small digression on our renowned contact circles: Quotes from Snøhetta, Marianne Birthler and Nancy Pelosi (and others) emphasize the wonderful friends and cooperation partners GRAFT has developed over the years and can be read in the catalog.
Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell,
Aedes Architecture Forum
GRAFT MANAGING EDITOR
Maria Ludewig, Julia Metzger
Sven Fuchs, Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz,
Georg Schmidthals, Thomas Willemeit,
Prof. Nikolaus Hafermaas,
PREPRESS AND TYPESETTING
Proxi Design: Christian Schärmer,
The GRAFT25 PARTY
The 25th anniversary and the parallel exhibition at Aedes were actually enough reason to celebrate, but the year 2023 also meant a change of scenery for GRAFT! We completed and moved into our new headquarters - the Graftlab - in March 2023. Housewarming hello.
After the well-attended vernissage at Aedes, we invited our friends, partners and loved ones to join us in our new home to toast close friendships, interesting projects, insatiable curiosity and an exciting future - and, of course, to celebrate and dance the night away!
With around 600 guests from the fields of politics and culture as well as colleagues from the architecture and construction industry, we celebrated well into the night. It turned out that the GRAFTLAB is actually quite suitable as a club and will certainly not be used as that for the last time...
This typology transformation and the ambition to build on the legendary GRAFT parties of the past were accordingly very high. None of this would have been possible without our motivating workplace manager Roman Puzicha, who had at least one (sometimes improvised) solution for every problem. The same applies to our DJane Trust.The.Girl, who got the crowd dancing for several hours and emphasized the newly discovered club atmosphere of the GRAFTLAB even more.
Culinary support was provided by Niko von Ketelhodt and his Ketel's Grillimbiss with bratwurst and potato salad. This legendary snack bar was already on the GRAFT site before the GRAFTLAB was built and of course could not be missed at this important moment.
We would like to thank our fantastic guests for an unforgettable night, who only stopped dancing when the police stopped by late at night. We would also like to thank those who supported us throughout the entire creative process. Without the constant exchange, expertise and criticism, the end result would not have been what it is. With this in mind - thank you very much, see you at the next exhibition and the next party!
The panels: "Taste" & "Architecture Activism"
The two panel discussions "Taste is the Lack of Appetite" and "Architecture in Times of Need" provided an opportunity for an exchange with friends and colleagues and led to reflections on the complex connections between beauty, architecture, taste and the social aspect of architectural production to accompany the exhibition. Interesting opinions and perspectives were shared, questioned and discussed with the audience. Both Ruth Berktold in the first panel discussion and Andreas Tölke in the second panel expertly guided the panelists and the audience through the topics.
Sven Fuchs, Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Georg Schmidthals, Thomas Willemeit
GRAFT PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Maria Ludewig, Nora Zerelli
AEDES PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Mathias Schnell, Christine Meierhofer
GRAFT PR TEAM
Alma Grossen, Sarah John, Julia Metzger, Aleksandar Stanković
We would also like to thank our sponsors, without whose generous support the exhibition would not have been possible:
So the year 2023 will soon come to an end with the exhibition and we say goodbye with a big "thank you". To all participants, visitors and all Grafties of the last 25 years.
We wish you happy holidays!
P.S.: the true ending