vrijdag 26 juni 2009
The opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam resurrects the Tzarist gala tradition. An experience monument dedicated to the lavish craftmanship of hosting social extravagance.
The 31 hour opening weekend party began Friday night with a multimedia tribute to Russian cultural heritage. Queen Beatrix and President Medvedev celebrated with Amsterdam on the banks of the Amstel. The massive floating stage garnished with red carpet and royal pomp embraced performances from Russian ballet, piano, orchestra and historical images from St. Petersburg. The Queen and President entered amidst a twilight sky dazzled with fireworks.
The museum is a masterful architectural achievement in managing flow. Architects Hans van Heeswijk and Merkx+Giord have created an organic interior spacial design. The heart of the Hermitage experience is the stairwell situated in the entrance. It gracefully connects four floors including lounge, restaurant Neva, meeting rooms, elevator shaft and the exhibition halls. The weekend attracted thousands of visitors and the building handled the masses comfortably.
The building structure itself is circular and the the architects added to this fluidity by cutting out lookout points and adding windows in tight corners. Navigating through the museum space never feels clusterphobic because of the vantage points from each floor and the lighting. Visitors can focus on the detailed ornamentation on the gala dresses while the building's tasteful minimalism guides you to the next Tzarist wonder.
Boxy but Good
The interior design may be circular in its movement and the gala dresses are glamorous, but the functional installations are decidedly square. In fact, just about ever cut-out form of the square has been utilized from the ticket desk to the wall. And it has been done well because these square shapes are always highlighted with lights and or highly reflective materials like bronze. The sensation is floating. Corners are rounded off by the haze of irradiance. Light is often cast from the ground up, which makes waiting in line dreamy and reduces glare on glass.
More to Come
The 50 million euro museum was financed by Bank Giro Loterij. We can expect the Hermitage Amsterdam to set a new standards in the museum experience through it's architectural achievement and cultural programming. We will find that the Hermitage is a place that we associate with going out, having dinner, attending meetings, dancing a silent disco, attending concerts and oh yeah... it's also a world class museum.
Read the published Dutch version in STYLINK
woensdag 17 juni 2009
Modern Western culture respects science. We tend to trust the ethical process of the scientific method and often hope that science will bring us a better life. For how long have we felt this way about science and can our perspective on science change as our world view changes? Our planet’s natural and human environments are approaching a paradigm shift. As we watch economies, societies and ecosystems deteriorate we are at a point of re-evaluation. Can demographic change; economic downturn and natural disasters encourage new perspectives on how we view science?
How rigid is the definition of the scientific method, why has knowledge sharing across diverse scientific organizations been limited, and how do Intellectual Property Laws determine the course of scientific development? These questions lead us to examine the driving forces behind the scientific industry and give us insight into how science could unfold in the future. What scenarios can we construct to give us an idea of what kind of world science will inhabit? By thinking in terms of scenarios we shift the focus from how science influences us but on how macro trends will shape the world that science will operate in.
Scenario Planning is a positioning model that is designed to map out long term changes based on macro trends. It is used in both commercial (Shell) and governmental (South Africa) contexts.
By using a scenario planning model made of two axis we can organize four possible future contexts. The driving forces make the axis in our socio-economic reality enabling overview and mapping out dynamic changes. For the future of science I have chosen to label the axis with the terms Participation and Icons:
Participation: is a measure of the number of voices/perspectives and the frequency of cross-disciplinary sharing of information and expertise. Participation is the amount of scientists involved in research and also includes the emergence of Brazil, Russia, India and China as significant economic contributors. Furthermore, the maturity of Internet and its influence on education and business system structures correlates with participation. Take for example the opening of the Singularity University on the NASA campus in California that offers post-graduate courses in how to innovate by linking diverse sectors of knowledge. Or how TED.com broadcasts inspire as well as create a global platform for sharing knowledge. Moving left and right on the horizontal participation axis decreases or increases the magnitude of the characteristics.
Icons: are recognizable figure heads which, can be individuals like Einstein or Da Vinci, institutions like NASA or TU Delft, brands like Bayer or Phillips and or a methodology like stem cell research, nanotechnology, spirituality, alternative medicine or robots. This year marked the first scientific discovery made by a robot called Adam in Wales, UK. Imagine a future where scientific discovery is lead by artificial intelligence. Icons are significant because they rally a collective movement or fragment public opinion. Ironically, stronger Icons have more power to help or hurt humanity. Moving up and down the vertical icon axis changes the level of strength icons have.
By looking at the results of the chart you can see the scenarios do not predict scientific discoveries but rather showcase the kind of world where science will make its discoveries. I suspect we are in the upper left hand corner now where science itself has reached Iconic proportions.
Although information sharing technology is at a human high point participation remains low. The entry into science remains elite while; IP law inhibits knowledge sharing. Ironically it’s the instrument designed to stimulate scientific discovery but only in terms of profit seeking theory. On the one hand, patents and investment capital are making green technology grow but other industries like pharmaceuticals cater to the rich. Furthermore, there are countless missed opportunities caused by our educational system that compartmentalizes knowledge. Physics for example is stagnant because research outside of string theory will not get published forcing physicists not to consider their careers if deviating from the norm.
If we are now positioned in the upper left my intuition says we will move to the right side as macro forces indicate an approaching crisis.
On the forefront are major macro influences like the quest for sustainable energy solutions, water conservation, economic recession and climate change. The question then arises if we will collaborate or fragment.
If the G20 summit was any indication there seems to be a collective dialogue against protectionism while remaining transparent. China also begins to increase its global political presence by significantly financing the IMF. But as the recession deepens where will science find it’s funding and outside of the market do we as democratic society have anything to say about its development? Is science a purely profit seeking enterprise only to be supported up by the military when and the supper rich when times are tough? Maybe the scenario science needs a makeover in the bottom left hand corner isn’t so far off after all.
Written by Carl William Kerchmar
Scenario Planning is service offered by PortalToYourDreams