Seattle – Hamburg – Dubai – New York – Seattle

Less than two weeks after returning from Taiwan, I embarked on another intercontinental trip, this time strictly for business. A collaboration between Carbon Design, Artefact and Panasonic Avionics around the future of inflight entertainment took Martijn and I on a crazy trip through three continents in order to experience different inflight entertainment systems with different airlines and to visit the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.

Our first stop was the trade show in Hamburg and we also crammed in a few internal work sessions in the “Hansestadt”. Before heading out for the second leg of our trip, we had an afternoon off, took a stroll through the stunning “Speicherstadt” and discovered the “Prototyp” Auto Museum, where we spent a few hours exploring the exhibition…

Our business trip’s second stop took Martijn and me into the United Arab Emirates and the city of Dubai – an area and a city that always fascinated me. While we had a three day stay in town, our time was mostly spent on work. We did however manage to escape for two afternoons to explore the city and to participate in a desert safari.
Weighing our options for the former activity with the hotel’s front desk, we found that “leisure” in the desert city more than in any other place on the planet equals “shopping”, as there seemingly is nothing else to do in Dubai and the options given by the hotel were somewhat monotonous…

Q: “What else can we do except for visiting shopping malls?”
A: “Well, not much… but every mall has its own flavor.”

Vegas on steroids. Great.

Admittedly, there is no other shopping mall on the planet where one can visit an indoor ski resort, but I found the lack of culture and history in the dusty city combined with a generally inhumane and little hospitable urban planning and the obvious slavery-like conditions of Dubai’s poorest simply disgusting.

While I still had hopes to find the romantics of 1001 night in the desert safari, I was also disappointed here, as the tour consisted out of several caravans of around a dozen jeeps each driving around in the sand dunes, just to stop at absolutely insignificant points for a few minutes and then to continue on to another little ride until the final destination, a very touristy “desert camp” featuring a few tired looking camels, shops selling overpriced Dutch beer and gimmicky souvenirs and a little inspiring belly dancer from the Philippines…

How to best summarize my first impressions… or the lack thereof?

If it wasn’t for the incredible man-made structures, built on the backs of hundreds of thousands of men deprived of human rights, Dubai would be an utterly uninteresting and boring place in the middle of nowhere. With all its ongoing and completed constructions the town is well worth a one-day visit.

Viva Las Vegas

Posted on Jan 7, 2009 in Research, Trade Shows, Trends

I simply cannot believe how quickly 2008 has flown by and am amazed at all the wonderful events that have made the past twelve months without any doubt the most event- and wonderful year of my life.

Just four days after arriving in the Pacific Northwest last year, I set out to visit the CES and – hoping that this is a good omen for another fantastic year – I am doing the same thing in 2009, with the only difference being that there aren’t several days, but mere hours between my arrival in Washington and my departure to Nevada.

Having just come back yesterday at around midnight, I found myself back at SeaTac just 15 hours later, boarding a plane to Sin City. Now I am sitting here in my hotel room at Circus Circus, cranking away on work for a meeting tomorrow…

While Vegas certainly has a more familiar air to me the second time around, I am still dazzled by the random accumulation of lights, colors and styles and by the absence of good taste… Vegas will probably always be a fascinating place for me and I believe I will never get over the constant dose of culture shocks that it offers.

In the City of Lights

Posted on Jan 13, 2008 in Research, Trade Shows, Trends

Living in Asia for some seven years, I thought I had seen it all when it comes to the excessive use of light bulbs and neon tubes in the streets… little did I know that my memories of Tokyo’s Shibuya district now feel like ‘underexposed images’ when I compare them to my impressions of ‘The Strip’ in Las Vegas.

Visiting the Consumer Electronics Show there, I have not yet decided whether I should be fascinated or disgusted by the city’s artificiality, chintzy glamour and affluence of materiality. While Vegas offers an intriguing mixture of entertainment, gambling and great food, it certainly seems that all good taste is doomed to remain outside the city limits…

Tour d’Europe, 2006 Edition

Posted on Feb 20, 2006 in Research, Speaking, Trade Shows

I have been on another press tour through Europe with our marketing team over the past week, introducing new products in a handful of different cities. Starting out with a visit to 3GSM in Barcelona, I traveled to Lisbon, Paris, London, and had one last event in Amsterdam before returning to Taipei.

This was quite the exciting trip, but considering an overall duration of just seven days, it is needless to say that I returned home, more worn out than after last year’s press tour.

I’m in Seoul, Man!

Posted on Jan 16, 2006 in Research, Trends

After a business trip to Korea, I have a weekend to explore the gigantic city that is Seoul and – being a German living in Taiwan – find it fascinating how everything here feels familiar and strange at the same time…

Trade Shows in Europe

Posted on Nov 18, 2005 in Conferences, Research, Trade Shows, Trends

I visited the Material Vision trade show in Frankfurt and the Futuredesigndays conference in Stockholm in order to conduct some material and trend research, before stopping over at one of our design partners in Finland.

Japan!

Posted on Oct 2, 2003 in Research, Trade Shows, Trends

Since I have been in Japan for a trend analysis at Tokyo Motor Show and since this marks the first time that I am in the land of the rising sun, I am using the opportunity and take a few days off, to explore Tokyo a bit and travel to Kyoto with stopovers in Nagoya and Osaka… I am very impressed with pretty much everything that I am seeing and am enjoying my conversations with some German friends here (it’s great fun to compare notes on our Asian adventures), as well as with a few new Japanese friends that I have made!

Tokyo Motor Show

Posted on Sep 19, 2003 in Industrial Design, Research, Trade Shows, Trends

I visited the Tokyo Motor Show, and did trend research for Asus around new materials, technologies and mechanisms used in the car industry there. Afterwards, I added a few days of vacation to explore Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto and met with some German designer friends that work in Japan…

At Macef

Posted on Feb 13, 2003 in Research, Trade Shows, Trends

I am conducting a research study around trends in consumer goods at the Macef trade show in Milano and have a day or two to explore the city a little bit… I haven’t visited in quite a while and forgot how wonderful Milano can be, most importantly, it’s food!