Berlin will never “be“ – it is always in flux, according to video artist Philipp Geist. A destiny that does not hold the German capital back, but easily works to its advantage: Today, Berlin has become a global market place for urban innovations with a strong social component. To scent out the range on offer, we take the new smart forfour to visit three of the city’s most progressive minds.
In terms of urban phenomena, Berlin seems to have it all. Well, maybe not everything, but certainly more than other metropolises – not least of all due to the city’s past, accommodating two diametrically opposed political systems at the same time for more than four decades. Now, former socialist landmarks play host to thriving techno communes while, elsewhere, hipster hotspots crammed with art and fashion blossom in-between Prussian monuments and today’s state-of-the-art power architecture.
For leisure, countless of parks, two rivers, and even an entire inner city airport-turned-playground await. And since the music (and everything else) never stops, shaping the city’s future requires a slightly different mindset.
Our film, “One Fine Day in Berlin”, takes the new spacious and versatile smart forfour to three urban innovators who follow – and pave – this progressive trail. And while their ideas are distinctly “made in Berlin,” they would translate just as well to other cities around the globe.
Meet the innovators: Sara Wolf (original unverpackt), Ralf Steeg, and Philipp Geist
Take original unverpackt, a supermarket that has banished non-returnable packaging from its entire sales and supply chain: Founder and owner Sara Wolf is the living example of how sometimes less technology can be the healthier, cleaner, und more environmentally friendly option.
Or follow the work of engineer Ralf Steeg, whose life and vision, in turn, centers around tech-based solutions. In his particular case, he uses technology to achieve one of our most simple and basic dreams: going for a dip in the local river. At Berlin’s abandoned Osthafen (eastern harbor), his company Luritec has developed a storm water tank system that retains and cleans overflow sewage that would otherwise drain straight into our – superficially clean, yet murky underneath – urban rivers.
Finally, and mostly because this stop requires post-sunset conditions, we drop in on video artist Philipp Geist. Geist usually travels the world to project his elaborate light installations onto marvels and monuments like the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. For us, he did something that epitomizes the Berlin spirit: As a temporary canvas, he chose an abandoned relay station in Kreuzberg, bathing the urban scene in the brightest of lights.
Photos: Markus Altmann
Camera: Jens Tomat
2nd Camera: Thomas Siudmak
Cut: Nina Stangl for Firsteight Berlin
Music: Miguel B – Nightlights