Could you tell us more about Astra, and about the vision behind your work?
The name Astra refers to the idea behind one part of my work; to make myself available to listen to what others have to say. I wanted to do something that involved listening to people and working with them. With architecture, you need to make sure not to do too much, as these days, it's about simplicity; about taking things away rather than adding them on. If you take a look at my portfolio, you can see that I've done design work for different services; from web design, to corporate design, and many more. I'm always looking for new themes for my work.
You also work a lot with paper sketches. What inspired you to start working with paper, and how long would a typical paper illustration take to complete?
I recently started working with paper after having worked with pixels for a long time. I was looking to regain a certain manual aspect to my work, and I discovered that I could not only draw, but also cut paper to make illustrations - which added a whole other dimension to my sketches. In the beginning, it wasn't so easy, as I'm not that great at drawing - but now that I have found a way to sketch out my design ideas before applying them to my final project, I find that it simplifies the process for me. For example, I recently worked on illustrations for a book. I had been stuck on an idea for quite some time, and after applying this idea to a paper illustration, I was able to continue to develop it.
Written by Chiara Pagano, illustrated by Alessandro Maggioni.
About the time it takes - it depends on the project. Digital designs take more time, because the process is linear, and I often have to start over many times if something isn't quite right. Depending on how complex the design is, it can take anywhere from two days to a week - sometimes I will cut out a sketch of my design, take a break, and finish the digital version. I recently collaborated with an Italian architect ,Chiara Pagano, who is also the author of the story »Gideon’s Tale«. She did the initial sketches for me, and I created a digital design based on that, adding a new dimension to the story.
Your website shows us different categories, such as illustrations, stop motion animation, 3D videos, and web design. What is your specialisation, out of those categories, and what is your target group?
The journey of a boy and a girl in a paper-made Japan, 2010.
I recently found myself wanting to try out new forms of communication. Most of the work you see on my website was done between 2005 and 2008, back when Flash technology was still something new. My 3D works are mainly related to architecture. My recent works made of paper have been used as illustrations. I used my illustrations for a spot for the Italian organisation SPI to promote its activities among retirees. Working with paper allows me to produce immediate results, and to convey things in a different way than I would with a digital design.
I've worked with architects, designers, and broadcasting studios; dealing mostly with the technical side of things. Right now, however, I'm focusing on storytelling: my latest project was a children's book, which I found very interesting and enjoyable.
You are planning to do an exhibition here in betahaus. Could you tell us more about your exhibition, and how you found out about betahaus?
The exhibition is focused on my latest projects. one of them being the book, "Gideon’s Tale", where I try to enhance traditional storytelling by using various forms of new media.
Before I came here, I was in a situation where I had many ideas, but no way in which to develop them. Italy is a very traditional society, and it's difficult to really research new ideas. When I came to Berlin, I knew that I wanted to do something different than what I had been doing in the past. Before, I had always worked alone, and I wanted to break this habit. I knew that betahaus was a coworking space, and that the ODC was a similar environment focused on design and crafts, so I thought this would be a good fit for me.
You have participated in some projects with Studio Convertino Services, such as advertising campaigns running throughout Italy. You also collaborated with another designer, Stefano Mandato. Could you tell us a little more about these collaborations?
Project by Studio Convertino, 2005.
Convertino is a very important Italian studio where I got chance to do my internship, and with whom I later had the chance to collaborate. I absolutely recommend that you visit their website if you want an idea of true modern Italian style design. The studio has been a major innovator since the early 1980s, and I learned a lot there. You also mentioned my collaboration with Stefano Mandato. He is my colleague - we had met in a studio in which we worked together, and he proposed a collaborative project. I was very much interested, as we had been working in different areas of the field; myself, being more of a conceptual designer while he designed logos, pictograms, and more technical things. We eventually found a way to work together using certain techniques and software, and I have to say that I am happy with our work so far.
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Let’s start with the big one. Anyone who has ever moved houses before knows there are tons of tiny expenses that suddenly add up to a very expensive relocation. And that’s just for you and your stuff.
When you start an office from scratch, you’ll have to invest in everything from new furniture to office amenities. You’ll need to outfit meeting rooms and stock the kitchen. Sign a monthly contract with the internet provider. Decorate. Even if you have a lot of these things from your old office, you’ll have to hire someone to help you move it and use up hours of your time getting everything set up.
One of the best parts of moving your team into a coworking space is that most of these costs are already covered in your monthly membership. You’ll move into a fully-furnished space with everything you need to get to work, AND you’ll know exactly how much you have to pay from the time you move in.
In a traditional office, you’ll typically have to sign a year lease (or longer). You’ll be committing to a fixed space that won’t grow with your team or give you flexibility if things change. Unless your contract goes month-to-month, you might just find yourself in a lifelong cycle of “let's figure it out next year”.
We believe that your office should help you grow, not hold you back. That’s why our Team Spaces come with leases as short as two months. Your rates are on a per-member basis, so you can easily expand your team or take over new rooms without having to break your lease. We work beside you rather than against you to find an arrangement that gives you the comfort of a home base with flexibility.
Did we mention this was going to be easy?
Just kidding. We definitely did.
But, look. Your space will be fully-furnished from the day you move in. We’ll have the WiFi up-and-running and printers online. The meeting rooms will be ready to go. The kitchenette stocked with mugs and freshly brewed coffee. And you’ll have the support of our coworking team. They’ll provide everything from reception to package handling to space maintenance. They’ll get you oriented in the space and make sure you have what you need to get to work.
New office without the downtime.
Some office spaces have a one-size-fits-all approach, but that's not really our style. The reason no two betahaus locations look the same is because they’re locally designed. And we give our Team Space members this same opportunity to customize their space.
Choose a room with a view of the city or one on the ground floor with easy access to the garden. Change the lighting fixture or bring your own bookshelf. We want teams to be able to white label, decorate, and really make the space their own if they want to.
And if you’re really looking to customize, Team HQs allow teams to collaborate with our architects and coworking team to create a space that is completely bespoke. Whether it’s additional meeting rooms, unconventional seating, or a yoga room, we apply our 10 years of experience in building functional workspace to your creative vision to create something that’s just right.
Probably the biggest benefit of coworking is community and events. Now we know it may not be the first thing you’re looking for as you seek out your next office space, but bear with us.
Imagine using your lunch breaks to chat with someone in your industry. Meeting freelance developers at after-work beers. Networking with investors at BETAPITCH. Pitching at our weekly betabreakfast and getting support and feedback on your new ideas.
betahaus has spent the last 10 years cultivating a community of people who we genuinely like working with. And when you join, your team will become a part of it, too.
" People matter! Community was always what we were all about. ‘’
In June we launched #PeopleInbeta - our monthly blog post series in which our Content Manager - Vihra interviewed teams and freelancers from the betahaus community to present the variety of creatives we have in ‘haus, to understand their missions and get some useful advice for our audience. We talked on topics such as sustainability (with PlanA) , decentralized digital identity (with JOLOCOM), curated music experiences (with Bespoke Sounds), freelance photography (with Sara Herrlander), full-stack development (with Obst Digital), design (with LAUDO) and much more.
In the summer, we launched a couple of new events in Neukölln like Freelancers, Unite!, The Backyard Sessions and My friend’s BBQ.
Freelancers, Unite! developed as our productive coworking session with freelancers from in and outside the ‘haus. Once a month, we picked an important freelance topic (such as taxes, time-management, etc) and invited experts to give us insights on the topic. We saw so many new faces and had the chance to come back closer to where we started from - the freelance, grassroots culture.
Another event, which started in July (and turned out to be our favourite events) were The Backyard Sessions. Organised by our queen of Neukölln - Robbin – the Backyard Sessions are our creative evenings with live music jams, movie screenings and cocktails.
This last event was hilarious because for quite some time, nobody knew exactly who organised it or invited them. The friend was throwing a BBQ for the community in the garden and this led to all our members joining and staying after for a beer or two with us.
‘’My favourite moment this year was the second friends bbq which was actually cancelled because of the rain forecast. But despite the bad weather, people show up and it turned into a super nice intimate evening with Elizaveta and Paul giving a garden concert.’’ - Robbin (Community Manager, betahaus)
''In July, it was great how the casual after-work BBQ turned into an impromptu acoustic blues jam session with Elizavetta Barsegova and Paul, who have the voice of an angel. Actually, all of the My Friend's BBQ's and Backyard Sessions were AWESOME.’’ - Paige (Head of Marketing, betahaus)
This year we released a new event format in Kreuzberg called ‘’The betaSalon’’. It's an open panel discussion which aims to give stage to important topics and give free speech on them. The fist one we did on the EU elections, last month we talked about changemakers, but our favourite one for this season stays ‘’Mother + Founder’’ where we partnered with FemGems podcast and recorded a live podcast episode for them having Madeleine Gummer von Mohl (betahaus co-founder), Kristine Zeller (co-creater of ooshi period underwear) and Luisa Hoffman on the stage.
Every September, our co-founders take part in the Techfestival. in Copenhagen, spending a few days disconnecting from the daily life and focusing on creating a better, more human-centered tech future. This year the think tank which included our co-founders Madeleine and Max came up with the TechPledge. The Tech Pledge was made to emphasize the need for a new direction in tech. Similar to the Hippocratic oath for doctors, the Tech Pledge is a promise to make tech a force for good and ensure responsible and sustainable tech leadership. It’s a commitment to driving a new direction in technology.
One of the most exciting projects for betahausX this year (which is also continuing in 2020) is their new startup challenge called The Werder Lab - a global startup competition that aims to reimagine the way clubs like Werder work with athletes, fans and partners.
This year couldn’t end without us having our favourite events - the end-of-the-year holiday party and the BETAPITCH Global Finals. On the 6th of December we saw the 9 finalists of the regional BETAPITCH competitions pitching in front of our jury. Congrats to Troy from Hamburg for winning the big prize.
We finished the year at our Holiday Party celebrating anything and everything at betahaus | Neukölln together with our members, friends of friends and our favourite artists from Passiflora LIVE, Tapete and Kotoe.
Thank you for being with us in 2019. It's been a crazy big year for us and it wouldn't been possible without your support, trust and the hard work of our amazing team. Have an amazing holiday time and we'll see you again in 2020.