Famously Portuguese buildings are beloved because they often feature certain tiled surfaces. The color and pattern palette is varied but they’re mostly very bright. In the city scapes of postwar Germany tiled facades were also very common especially since the 60s but it saddens me very much that they can’t find the love its related variety has in Portugal. On the contrary it seems that whenever I mention them in conversation that except for some connoisseurs they’re pretty much hated here.
Here usually there is no pattern on the tile itself because they were mass produced therefore have no hand painted floral motifs or similar. Though some of the funky tiles of the 70s come with color grading effects due to the nature of glazing and firing methods used. In a lot of facades patterns were created in arranging differently colored tiles some reminding me strongly of pixellated video games of the 80s. But my heart belongs to the carefully minimalist laid white facades of the white variety, used in a lot of buildings especially here in Cologne. Rectangular in shape but always adding a sweet cube like charm to any building. Here are some further examples.
Maybe you are old enough to remember the days when the only place you could get everything at once were big department stores while all the other shops one went to were highly specialized around one category of products.
In a time I see specialty stores all around dying one after the other the wonderful Karoline Borsch opened her Continue reading →
These tubes you see here are hair conditioners by Cien, a cosmetic line of German supermarket chain Lidl. I don’t know if the conditioner is good, I have never used it and this is not a product review in particular. Though I have to say that I use their anti dandruff shampoo and it really helps with my dry and sensitive scalp, I swear not an easy task with the water quality we have in Cologne.
I did not buy the conditioners for myself but to send them to my family members in Iran on request. It did wonder me why on all the options we have available in Germany exactly this discounter brand got chosen.
Apparently not only Cien but all those discount store brands like Aldi’s Ombia and drugstore chain DM’s Balea etc. are hype stuff in my country of birth. And people don’t go for them because they’re cheap, for Iranians these brands absolutely don’t come cheap! Mark up can be pretty extreme considering the difficulties how these products are brought into the country.
So why is it that people go crazy like if it’s some Chanel about those skincare and cosmetics of brands we consider no-name here in the land of their production?
First of all look at that improved packaging! These seem nothing like the generics they are. On the contrary the packaging is glossy and classy with very appealing color and labeling choices. Next the quality of contents in German brands is usually very high. Everything gets tested and made sure it will cause no harm. Despite still sporting a snobbish attitude I also do use a lot of German generics, too because admittedly they perform good and don’t make me cry about the money I loose on every use. Which lets us get to the next point: marketing. Iranian produced beauty-, skin- and haircare gets a bad rep in Iran itself which I don’t really understand. Of course that new chemical wonder against age with a ton of active substances will be more likely thrown unto the market by a big Western company with billions to back it up but come on your everyday shampoo and lotion? The Middle East is rich in natural resources and remember the Silk Road? Once the flow of oils and perfumes went the other way and these resources haven’t dried up actually. This only shows how people in emerging countries are the next to fall victim to industrialized and globalized companies. Like if the West has something better to offer than they already had? But people want high-end cosmetics and business savvy people will exploit the circumstance that foreign brands don’t have distributors in emerging and developing economies and will market cheap no-name stuff as the new Chanel and will charge over the top for it.
You know that feeling when you spend Christmas with family and all you do is feasting or nestled cozy beneath the Christmas tree with cookies and tea. In this situation at one point, I get unruly, Continue reading →
Continuing with images from Freiburg, I like this mid-century type on a house front there.
And if you’re like me and enjoy writings, retro and neon signs, too than you should keep an eye at the Instagram account @basicgermanwords which develops around any lettering in German speaking areas of the world.
Italian Girl in Double Portrait, 1834 by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, who later went on to become a famous court painter. He is today known for his flattering and romantic grand portraits of European high aristocracy. But beforehand had some learning years in Italy where Franz Xaver Winterhalter perfected his style with portrait studies and landscapes.
This painting hangs in Freiburg’s Augustinermuseum where they also had a comprehensive exhibition about the artist some time ago. The young and mysterious girl is shown from two perspectives with focus on her image above shoulders. With a skin darkened by the sun and a natural flush on her cheeks she showcases a raw beauty with no need of any other kind of makeup. Of course there is still some embellishment around the face. She wears beautifully simple but heavy gold earrings and a red necklace, the dark hair is intricately braided on top of the ears and at the neck, reminding contemporary viewers probably or Princess Leia from Star Wars.
A really well done semi abstract sculpture of Germany’s coat of arms eagle the Bundesadler hangs at the front of the former Post- und Fernmeldeamt Freiburg, developed and built 1954-1961. Now Carl-Schurz Haus, a German-American educational institution.
The building is part of a bigger complex and only the main building has the red sandstone cladded exterior which has become pinkish over time. The rest of the complex has only two to three stories and appears in a light green color.
As usual with buildings from the 50s they appear today as very reserved and minimalist but when you get closer you can spot all these thoughtful details which make the whole architecture very sophisticated. Examples are the flat flying roofs or these fun glass bricks at one side pointing to the googie style.
Very near to the big cathedral of Cologne there is the Disch-Haus, an architectural masterpiece which people pass daily. With its smooth simplicity it blends perfectly in with the surrounding buildings and you may not even realize that it doesn’t stem from the 50s like Continue reading →