From Painful History to Design Inspiration: Exploring the Berlin Jewish Memorial

在疫情嚴峻的時刻,當我們回想起這些親身經歷的設計旅行時,就像精神上的偽出國,讓受困的身心稍稍放鬆了一點。

If 9house products were blossoming flowers, then these little moments throughout the journey are the nutrients enriching the soil.

When reading architectural critiques, we often come across professional terms such as, “a good space should have the flow of sunlight, wind, and water.” Although this statement is a classic truth, it remains an abstract description. However, the architectural marvel we are about to introduce today is unique, as it allows visitors to deeply appreciate its essence without requiring specialized architectural knowledge.

The Berlin Jewish Memorial, erected to commemorate the cruel history of the persecution of the Jewish people, is where the design theme takes shape. Even before stepping foot into the memorial, the experience begins.

From a distance, one can see the slender and angular structure of the memorial, adorned with irregular windows. It immediately evokes images of the scars and hardships of history.

Visiting the Berlin Jewish Memorial

The slender and angular structure of the memorial, adorned with irregular windows, immediately evokes images of scars and a tumultuous past.

The entire exhibition area starts from the entrance, with the floor marked with dates and significant events, guiding visitors along a chronological path. The windows symbolizing wounds also appear as visitors navigate the internal spaces, reminding them constantly of their encounter with the restless history within these walls.

The windows symbolizing scars transcend their ventilation and illumination function, serving as constant reminders of the tumultuous history encountered throughout the visit.

After exploring the photographs and textual introductions along the designated route, visitors reach the underground section, where several distinct exhibition areas await.

Stepping through a passageway reminiscent of a crossroad, one opens the door to the first exhibition area, only to find oneself in an unusually towering and dimly lit space. Sharp walls converge from all sides, leaving no way to move forward. Upon entering, a sense of breathlessness ensues. The sole source of light emanates from a small opening at the highest point. Enveloped in pitch-black darkness, with no escape route, the fleeting glimmer of hope feels so distant, so high. In that moment, engulfed by darkness, one can’t help but imagine the despair felt by the Jewish people during their persecution.

Enveloped in pitch-black darkness, with no escape route, the fleeting glimmer of hope feels so distant, so high. In that moment, engulfed by darkness, one can’t help but imagine the despair felt by the Jewish people during their persecution.

Moving to another exhibition area, one encounters countless metal faces scattered on the ground. Each iron face is unique, wearing an expression that is neither joyful nor sorrowful. Layer upon layer, they extend from beneath your feet to the opposite end. However, as one reaches the other side, there is no exit; only a window, a glimpse of the unattainable freedom beyond. Then, one must turn around and retrace their steps. With each step, one treads upon the cold, solid faces, their impact resonating heavily.

With each step, the sound of impact echoes, as if the sacrifice of the victims accompanies every footstep.

The final section takes place outdoors amidst towering pillars. Thinking that one can finally breathe outside, the towering columns become apparent, stretching across the entire area. Within, one quickly loses their sense of direction. There may be trees and sky, but the way out remains hidden.

The tall pillars, like giants, look down upon visitors, seemingly disdainful of their presence, as if saying, “You can never escape our grasp.”

Upon leaving the memorial, one’s heart may feel heavy, yet tinged with excitement. The heaviness stems from sensing the anguish of persecution, while the surprise arises from how a well-designed structure can evoke such impactful emotions. It’s akin to hearing a melancholic song, where the lyrics may be incomprehensible, yet the melody alone conveys the intended message.

After visiting this memorial, the designer was convinced that the products they create should not only possess functionality and aesthetics but, most importantly, evoke profound emotions in users. Can a pet bed be designed to foster a deep emotional connection between owners and pets? Although challenging, it is undoubtedly possible. After all, there is a building in Berlin telling us about this possibility. This valuable insight indirectly influenced the creation of the Kangaroo’s Nest.

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