The Berlin World Improvement Machine

A project by Friedrich von Borries
Posted by Gestalten—08/2013

Working across mutiple disciplines, Friedrich von Borries is an architect, an author, and a curator. Recently, he declared to revive a historical project that aims at fostering the belief in art and science as world-improving forces.

As the story is explained by him: "The Berlin World Improvement Machine is a secret research project whose origin dates back to the seventeenth century. It consists of a particular arrangement of artworks and artefacts, which together unfold effects to improve the world. Here the founding of the Academy of Arts (1696), the Academy of Sciences (1700) and later on the Royal Museums of Berlin (from 1830) all play an essential role. The academies were dedicated to the scientific and artistic research (...) while the museums collected potential parts for its construction."

Around 70 objects from the permanent collections of 16 Berlin museums have been marked as components to the contemporary Berlin version of the mystical World Improvement Machine. A detailed treasure map leads visitors to the Old National Gallery or the Museum für Naturkunde. A ten-meter model of the World Improvement Machine at the courtyard of Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart serves as central point and thought model for the undertaking. Visitors are also invited to look for the machine's missing parts or make other forms of suggestions on how to really build a world-improving machine one day.

Friedrich von Borries' involvement with investigations about the essential roles of art and design has further led to a recent cooperation with Gestalten. The release Weil Design die Welt verändert..., edited by him and Jesko Fezer, reflects the present debate on design's influences, challenges, and duties.

Image Weltverbesserungsmaschine:
© Moritz Ahlert / Projektbüro Friedrich von Borries

Weil Design die Welt verändert ...

Texte zur Gestaltung
Posted by Gestalten—08/2013
Texte renommierter Gestalter und Autoren über den tatsächlichen und gefühlten Einfluss des Designs auf unser heutiges und künftiges Leben.
→ read more

Gestalten’s Berlin Food: "Berliner Stulle"

Two simple recipes for fresh lunch options.
Posted by Gestalten—10/2014

True Legend

Who built the world's most notorious motorcycle?
Posted by Gestalten—10/2014

Another Dimension of Handmade

Iris Hantverk helps visually impaired people into work, creating beautiful tactile brushes for a wide range of uses
Posted by Gestalten—10/2014

Berlin Wonderland

Pictures from a forgotten city
Posted by Gestalten—10/2014

Recent Book Releases

show all

Designing News in the issue 219 of étapes.

The Chopper recommended on beSpoke.

The Chopper featured on NPR.

The Monocle Guide to Good Business on AIGA.

The Chopper featured on Selectism.

The Monocle Guide to Good Business reviewed on Boyscout.

Das Craft-Bier Buch featured in the 20/2014 issue of tip Berlin.

Join Our Designer Database

We welcome portfolio and proposal submissions for Gestalten's potential publications and collaborations.

→ How to submit.