17 words that offer inspiration for any bold creative persuit

I didn’t use to be a big fan of the architectural style of architect Daniel Libeskind. To me it was a bit over the top. But two things changed my opinion, the real experience of one of his buildings and a talk in which he explains his vision.

A couple of years ago I visited the by Libeskind designed extension for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and it turned out to be one of the buildings that appealed most to my emotions and senses. Normally a museum about the second world war makes you aware of the misery and horror through sight alone, explaining on displays with text, photo’s and video’s all the terror that had taken place. But this museum is different, all senses are addressed in order to create one of the most disturbing places I have ever been into. Without reading, just by walking through, the raw and expressive spaces makes you literally feel the horror of this war. Making the second and old part of the museum just a mere obligatory walk, passing displays and objects, but is was the first part that moved me. It was this building that made me realise that architecture has so much more to offer than shelter and a nice fa├žade that is pleasing the eye. Architecture has the ability to communicate and express through all the senses!

Shalechet (Fallen Leaves) installation at the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

Shalechet (Fallen Leaves) installation at the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

The second thing that made me appreciate his work more was getting to know what drives him. In the talk that I included below he shares with us his vision with the help of 17 words:

  1. Optimism vs Pessimism
  2. Expressive vs Neutral
  3. Radical vs Conservative
  4. Emotional vs Cool
  5. Inexplicable vs Understood
  6. Hand vs Computer
  7. Complex vs Simple
  8. Political vs Evasive
  9. Real vs Simulated
  10. Unexpected vs Habitual
  11. Raw vs Refined
  12. Pointed vs Blunt
  13. Memorable vs Forgettable
  14. Communicative vs Mute
  15. Risky vs Safe
  16. Space vs Fashion
  17. Democratic vs Authoritarian

Having heard his talk and looking again at this list I realize designing for the senses, something that is more sustainable and interesting, something more than just an image is not an easy and rational thing. It is more about expression and irrationality.