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

"Splitting wood is like opening a Christmas present."

Ej Osborne of Hatchet+Bear, who was featured in our book The Outsiders, became hooked on woodworking while in a fever. Here, she explains what makes wood such an extraordinarily rewarding material to work with.
Posted by Gestalten—08/2014

Juan Velasco Talks Infographics

"There is no room for fiction in information graphics." An interview about why we need data vizualisation, what it takes to create great infographics, and what it's like to work at National Geographic.
Posted by Gestalten—07/2014

Join the 2014 EyeEm Festival and Awards

Gestalten has teamed up with the 2014 EyeEm Festival and Award, the world’s biggest mobile photography award and festival.
Posted by Gestalten—07/2014

The Power of Infographics

Two Days of Data Visualization and Storytelling with Juan Velasco from National Geographic
Posted—07/2014

Gestalten Pavilion in the July issue of Elle Decoration.

The Outsiders in the August issue of Donna.

Little Big Books recommended in the Emotion's August issue. "Das Buch zeigt die schönsten Illustrationen jenseits von Filly-Pferden und Kitty-Kätzchen."

The Outsiders featured in the August issue of Jolie.

Korea–Korea in the August issue of Dove.

Berlin Wonderland on arte Metropolis.

Berlin Wonderland and an interview with editor Chris Keller on WDR3.

Join Our Designer Database

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

→ How to submit.