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Design Project - Berlin Underground


Design Project - Berlin Underground

A lot of people ask what I'm doing in Berlin. Of course I'm not just traveling around and writing blog. I'm in a study abroad program held by Art Center College of Design and doing a project until Oct 30. There are 10 students in this program and most of them are from graphic design. Each of us has individual project and it has to related to Berlin underground (not main-stream culture, alternative). It's great coming back to school surrounded by creative kids and have so much freedom doing my own design project. (In my previous intern, clients had a lot of saying. )

It's not easy to see underground culture and figure it out what we want to do for our project in a week especially most of us came to the US as the first time. We don't speak any German either... We have German language (jaaa!) and culture class which the teacher, Michael, will take us around the city or into the museums. So we understand the Berlin history more than the average tourists. We also have Tuesday German movie night which made me very, very depressing because it was really messed up... 

To have our own perspective towards this special city, in the first week we were asked to explore as much as we could and gave a subjective presentation as group.

We use the cool website called "New hives" where you can mix and overlap the different media on one page. Check out our page (Michelle / Franco / me) -

At the beginning of the second week, each of us pitched three ideas and then decided one to work on. 

Normally I won't talk about my project until the final presentation because it changes all the time lol I'm pretty sure what I'm doing now and I've been here for a month so it's good time to take a record. Next week will be the midterm presentation so the concept is getting solid. 

Let me introduce the new experimental dancing studio - EMOSCHÖN

SCHÖN = Beautiful in German. So it's a kind of dance about emotion and beautiful. That's how much I can tell you now haha. Will keep it posted after organizing my research.

When I pitched the three ideas at the second week, apparently dancing was the strongest one because I love it. (Previous article about how I love dancing) Before I went to dancing studio when I wanted to take a break from the academic work or design projects. Now going to the dancing studio is also part of the research. How great is that! But I started to try different genres of dance that I never thought I would try such as modern dance technique, contemporary dance (gaga, contact improvisation). I still like street dance so I go to different dancing studios every week. Also see some dancing performance to get some inspiration. 

Here's the list of the dancing studios I've been:
Flying steps academy (the monopoly of street dance studio in Berlin. really nice studio)
Tanz Fabrik (contemporary)
Motion Tanz Berlin (contemporary / street dance)
DanceWorks (Modern / contemporary)

Some classes are taught in German and that was really..... challenging.... Seriously, German is so HARD!!! I really like to live in Berlin but I don't want to learn German...(I never practiced speaking German with Berliners because I don't think anyone will understand what I'm talking...)


Design spree


Design spree

I was pretty lucky to join this design studio tour hosted by Art Center College of Design business club. My last class in Singapore (MBA exchange program) was at May 24 and I dashed to the airport flying back to Taiwan, stayed for a weekend, and then took a light to SF on Mon. So the whole tour was totally in torturing jet lag. It was still an eye-opening experience.

Living in SF is never boring even though I did't really know anyone here. There were two big events in the first weekend of my internship - Maker Faire and Bay to Breakers! 

Maker Faire was huge and super crowded. It attracted geeks, families , designers,... basically everyone in bay area. It was like the combination of burning man (art installation), school carnival, music festival,  and trade show. I never saw this in Taiwan so it was pretty cool for me. As a product designer, I was quite interested in different sorts of 3D printers. I probably would get one instead of spending tons of money and time printing at school. 

One of my friends from the University in Taiwan invited me to go to Bay to Breakers. It is not a traditional marathon. It's the event inviting everyone to run in costume. It's exclusively held in this crazy city, San Francisco. HOWEVER, we didn't wear costume! (Ugh... I should have...) It was really fun to see how creative people dress up and some nude old men.... (Unfortunately we didn't see young nude guys or girls :-p I guess the cold weather discouraged them...)

SF design week had kept me busy for over a week! TONS of events - special guests talking, social, learning... with booze! Some of the events were free and some needed tickets (price varied). As far as I could remember, they were all sold out before the events started. In four events I went, I met some designers, photographers, entrepreneurs... 

As a leather work enthusiast, West Coast Craft is one of the favorite events so far!

Lots of handcraft studios from SF, Portland, LA, and even England exhibited their delicate artwork in Fort Mason. OMG I love it! But it's quite expensive for an intern... I would be broke if I didn't control myself.... 

I bought a bronze bracelet because I had a nice conversation with that artist who is from LA. Then I walked to Wasshington Square for North Beach Festival. The crowd was far beyond my expectation: crazy long lines in front of street food vendors, people with beer packed in the small square confined by fences, lots of handcraft stuff but the quality were not as good as the ones in West Coast Craft.

The next day I went to Haight Ashbury Festival with a friend. It was crowded too but the crowd was mainly dominated by hippies.