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Hospitality – Das Geschäft mit dem Gast
“We have friends visiting today”, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she welcomed Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to Berlin for German-Polish Government Consultations on November 14th 2012. Which goes to show that Merkel is a woman of her time – at least as far as language dynamics are concerned. It wasn’t so long ago that ‘having friends to visit’ was something one did on special occasions and in private. In most other cases, the host and the hosted are, or at least were, strangers to one another; in fact, the relationship was by definition that of two strangers. Clearly, there has been a shift in meaning in recent years and it is to this shift that we have dedicated this issue of form.
Our theme: ‘Hospitality – das Geschäft mit dem Gast’ ( – Dealing with Guests) focuses on areas in which the semantic shift described above has impacted to a greater or lesser extent on the world of products and services. There are few better places to observe how thin the dividing line is between honoured guests and unwelcome strangers than an airport. We sent the Berlin photographer Noshe to Frankfurt International Airport to take a look around. Exclusive travel may still depend primarily upon how wealthy you happen to be, but people are more likely to regard authentic, typically regional experiences as the real luxuries these days; this, at least, is how the high-end travel experts we talked to about the latest developments in tourism see it. And talking of hosting, it is just beginning to dawn on us that we need new buildings in which to host all the digital data we are accumulating – gigantic, fully air-conditioned, maximum-security ‘data hotels’– so we take a look too at the Cloud generation’s Memory Motels. Of course, no survey of hospitality would be complete without at least some mention of the grand hotel, which, for many, still counts as the last word in professional hospitality. Switzerland’s sanatoriums had a near legendary reputation even before Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain made them world famous. Our look at contemporary hospital architecture shows that the Swiss are still leading the way when it comes to designing spaces for convalescent care. Last but not least, we look at how producers and graphic designers have teamed up to enhance the legend of the classic welcoming beverage, the glass of wine.
One constant preoccupation of ours is design viewed in respect to climate compatibility. In our Discourse section for this issue, the designer and philosopher Harald Gruendl presents a toolkit for future designers, while Peter Maxwell recalls the – actually not so new – strategy of designing polyvalent products. We regard the transition to a climate-neutral society as a major challenge for both society and designers. It is a challenge that we will continue to follow closely and we hope very much that you will continue to accompany us on this journey. 
Other Topics
Airbnb: Hospitality 2.0 and the global social network capitalizing on its assets +++ Portable Purism: The legendary leather goods company Valextra +++ Carte Blanche: Arabeschi di Latte & Apfel Zet +++ Material Research: Future prospects with the new inflatable textiles 

 
 

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