Deploy or Die
My side projects are an excellent way to get to know me. Instead of identifying with official job titles or descriptions, I have been taking on various roles and am constantly adding skills and experiences and apply them to the "real world". Most of the eclectic projects showcased on this page were founded in small teams. Each project is different. As many-faceted as my creative process is, everything I do is about long term thinking, more fun and products and environments that meaningfully impact people’s lives. I am especially passionate about aesthetics and best customer experience. However, I do not accept the dogma that specialization is the best or only path toward meaningful impact. To put in the time and learn core concepts across fields and always relate those concepts back to my life and the world, transferring between areas becomes much easier and faster.
With planbox we are working on something extremely cool that solves some extremely big problems. Pretty vague, we know: that’s because it’s secret, for now. We can tell you it combines cameras, sensors and city infrastructure – with a dash of computer vision and graphics.
Within our environment – especially in large incumbent companies – there is too much talk and not enough action, prototyping and experimentation. At least that's what we thought, when we decided to create the first maker week in October 2017. To remain true to our own thought, we quickly designed a logo, found a location and several sponsors from the local maker scene who supplied us with hardware and launched the event within four weeks after the initial idea – budget used: 0 Euro.
The makerweek itself was a prototype and we were thrilled by the response and the feedback of our approximately 220 guests during the five days.
Pedestrian Zone in my neighbourhood
The trigger to get this project going was a book I read about urban planning during my stay in Copenhagen/Denmark – one of the cities upfront in the worldwide quality of living ranking. The book's title: Cities for People from Jan Gehl. The book focuses on the importance of human-centered design within urban planning. Inspired by the real life experience of it's best practices in Copenhagen, back in Germany, I started an initiative to converse a vivid street in the heart of the second largest neighbourhood of Bonn to a pedestrian zone. After one and a half years, the process is ongoing and a final decision is still pending, but we now have several hundred supporters and the local administration is starting to develop a concept for the pedestrian area.
T-Talk speaker series
In 2016, I initiated the T-Talk. It is a public TED-like speaker series that is held in the lobby of Deutsche Telekom's headquarters: external high-level experts discuss current topics with regards to innovation, culture and technology. So far we had three events. The T-Talks are very well perceived and bring together up to 300 regional technology-sector stakeholders. The idea behind the bottom-up approach of the T-Talk was to inspire co-workers through ideas worth being shared, even (and especially) if – at first sight – they are not connected to the telco core business. Guest speakers included researchers on innovation, urban planners, mathematicians, entrepreneurs and even biologists.
With Whitespace I want to create a product that is worth holding in your hands (and with great taste). Since I love best customer experience, great coffee, extraordinary aesthetics and believe in technology, Whitespace is based on these four building blocks. Also, the name refers to another passion: typography. In addition, I would like to explore the interstitial territories – the "white spaces" – between the various disciplines involved in the production process of an allegedly basic product like coffee. Although the beta version (aka first roasted beans) of the product will be released in January 2018, I see it coming that this project will stay work in progress for quite some time...
Mykona | nomoresleep
Mykona was founded in 2006. During my voluntary social year as a social worker at a high school in Captain Cook/USA, I also worked on a coffee farm nearby. After returning to Germany and moving to Berlin to study architecture, I founded a coffee brand. We were among the first in Germany to sell directly traded single origin coffee in a well designed packaging through our award-winning e-commerce as well as through most of Germany's major coffee online shops and our own coffee bar in Berlin-Mitte called NoMoreSleep. In 2012, we sold the brand to a coffee roaster – who has continued to roast and sell Mykona beans ever since.
This project dealt with the planning of a coffee bar from the development of a basic concept over architectural design up to detailing. I chose the gatehouse of the former Headquarters of the State Security Services of the GDR, which today serves as a memorial place, as the location. Apart from the installation of a coffee bar, bound to a specific purpose, the special location, i.e. the historically significant Stasi memorial and its not less significant entrance pavilion became the dominating theme of the design and also influenced the construction-side considerations on preserving parts of the historic small-scale architecture, integrating them in the new purpose of the building.
Artists that inspired me for the design of this project: Ulrich Rückriem, Edward Hopper and Alberto Giacometti.