Design Innovation

Money, money, money, must be funny, …

You will probably know this line from the oldies’ charts, 70s parties, or from your not-so-favorite radio station. Well, it’s been a while since it was in the charts. But it is still en vouge. Not for the tune, but for the lyrics. At least for the first part. Money is still important and will remain to be so. It is funny, or at least interesting, how different businesses approach it in different ways. One more convincingly than the other.

Santander enters the BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) market with its new brand Zinia. And Klarna (a BNPL business) enters the credit card market.

You might think that this is boring – a traditional bank adds a ‘modern’ service to its portfolio and a modern fin-tech adds a rather traditional service to its portfolio. It may be boring. But read an enlightening piece at that tells the story, assesses the innovativeness of the endeavors, guesses who knows their customers and target groups, and speculates about the time pressure behind the two initiatives.

A nice piece about service innovation, customer expectations, and the future of payment.


Cool Summer Retro

Apple has announced the 2021 Apple Design Award Finalists. I try to write here about design every now and then. Today is one of those days. The line-up of finalists includes an App under the category ‘Delight and Fun,’ which is just that – it’s a delight, and it is incredible fun.

It is

John Gruber wrote about

What kind of sick twisted people, who obviously know and love the classic Mac look-and-feel, would mix it with parts of the old Windows look-and-feel? And somehow make it work? I’ve consulted with experts, and we’ve determined that the Poolside vibe is 3 measures classic Mac OS, 1 measure Windows, 1 measure original, and the resulting cocktail is just what the good doctor ordered.

John Gruber

During the booting process, the start screen, with a somewhat MS-blue background, tells you that the system is


That is probably more on the side of what John describes as one measure of Windows.

Then after an ASCII-Island (I do not spoil this piece of art here) you enter a blend of really early Mac OS and Windows in your browser window.

You can select summerly playlists and videos from the late 80s and early 90s to light up your day and get yourself in a summerly mood.

How great is that?

And what is even more amazing is implementing an iOS-App that is not a copy of the website. Rather, it is a nice independent interpretation of the overall style and functionality.

I now head outside and get myself an iced tea or something.

Art Design Miscellaneous

Death in Venice?

Rather to the contrary, I hope. Its about life.

On May 22, the 2021 Biennale Architektura opens its door. The bold question How will We Live Together? is the overarching theme of the exhibition.

Hashim Sarkis the curator of the exhibition says:

The world is putting new challenges in front of architecture … I look forward to working with participating architects from around the world to imagine together how we are going to rise to these challenges.

Hashim Sarkis

Nicely put, but – if you ask me – a bit too weak an expression on the first page of the Biennales website. The topic has been set well before the pandemic and was expected to focus on climate change, migration, and political polarization. Now the pandemic will put its mark on the exhibition as an additional aspect.

If you want to see what the Biennale has to offer in this department, then you might be itching to go to Venice because – and now sit tight – the event is supposed to be a physical event. For one reason or the other, you and I might share the fate that we cannot attend. Luckily, some countries such as Estonia, Switzerland, Lithuania, Great Britain, Finland, and Luxembourg provide a self-organized online platform to supplement the main event. This initiative is joined by other countries as well.

The platform:

I am very much looking forward to spending time at the virtual part of the Biennale this year.

Art Design Innovation Sustainability

Beautiful Power

Jason Kottke has a blog post today about the beauty of gas stations. I agree that sometimes the architecture ist quite stunning.

My favorite is the Skovshoved Petrol Station located in Copenhagen and designed in 1936 by the Danish architect and designer icon Arne Jacobsen.

Skovshoved Petrol Station by Arne Jacobsen. Image: Wikipedia

Do you wonder when we will have beautiful electric changing facilities? Oh wait a minute. Again the Danes:

Ultra fast charging station for electric vehicles by Cobe

This is a charging station for electric vehicles designed by the Copenhagen architecture studio Cobe founded by Dan Stubbergaard in 2006.

He believes architects have a profound responsibility to create resilient, long-term solutions that improve life – cities, buildings, and landscapes that are made to outlast our generation.


About the charging station Dan Stubbergaard says:

Electric vehicles are the way of the future. With our design we offer EV drivers a welcome break and an opportunity to recharge mentally in a green oasis. The energy and the technology are green, so we wanted the architecture, the materials and the concept to reflect that. Hence, we designed a charging station in sustainable materials placed in a clean, calm setting with trees and plants that offer people a dose of mindfulness on the highway.

Dan Stubbergaard

More generally he is

…inspired by the transformation of Copenhagen from an industrial port city to a beacon for liveability and sustainability… He is the leading figure in Cobe’s work to create surroundings that actively contribute to extraordinary everyday life.


This is an excellent claim, and I promise to visit Cobe’s website more often to learn about their projects. I am sure they can convince me over and over again that sustainability can (and has to be) aesthetically pleasing.

By the way. The cover image above is from Cobe as well. It a bicycle parking spot under a hill.

Design Miscellaneous Visualization

Colors? What Colors?

I have to admit that I am not completely color blind, but I have some issues with red and green. I only recognize a 17 in the image below. Others – I am told – also see a 42.

Maybe this is why I opted for a clear black and white contrast in the re-launch of my website. After seeing the image below, I am even happier that I choose an easy and not ambiguous color scheme.

Colors can be deceptive. Look at this and decide whether you see balls of different colors.

If you believe that the balls are of different colors – shades of blue, red, and green – then you are not color blind, but the whole optical illusion worked.

Frankly, I could not believe it. I really had to test it with the pipette tool in Powerpoint (not any fancy graphical applications). Here are the colors of the top row of the balls (the ones that are cut off a bit):

Art Design

Black Lego

As a kid I have loved Lego. Now I ran into this and – frankly – it blows me away.

Ekow Nimako creates sculptures inspired by masks, African folklore, and medieval cities. He only uses black lego.

Let’s see how he works.

(cover image is from