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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Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.
Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.
If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.
The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.
It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.
Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”.
Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?
It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as well as urban planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!
A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.
Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!
Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.
Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company.
Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.
Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard. The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.
Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one?
Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.
Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.