Nature shapes man. Man shapes nature. To be human means to be part of an environment, a culture and a timespirit.

Inspired by African house painting, our projection of cultural symbolism becomes a root-mask of an identity. This theory can be grasped on the basis of the comparison of Paul Krüger and Johann Gottfried Herder at Herderplatz 3 in Weimar. Herder‘s statue stands on Herderplatz, on the contrary the bust of Ohm Krüger on the summit, and is thus a clear positioning of the society for a permanent and solid equality of the people.


In order to deal with the issue of intercultural conflict, especially in public space, we decided to interpret the story, which is focused on the discovery of the stranger and what is behind it. The masks and house painting of the Ndebele are to serve as a basis. The relation of the two statues to each other is illustrated chronologically and locally in different scenes by light and shadow play, which affect both the facade and the statue. In the dramaturgy, the journey into the unknown and the development of this conflict are transported in the Ndebele‘s formal language.


The Ndebele is an ethnic group living in northern South Africa. They are one of the tribes whose culture and identity have been most affected by Ohm Krüger and the Burial Wars. The colorful arrangement of houses and clothing is a remarkable feature of this group of people. The exterior walls and parts of the facade are painted with geometric ornaments in brightly colored colors. These facade paintings are painted in South Africa by the women of the Ndebele and are called by them as Amagama, picture messages.

We worked on bringing the culture and identity in a modern interpretation to Weimar. The focus is on masks as a means of communication and a symbol for identity and the extraordinary wall paintings as a historical precursor and parallel to projection mapping. The masks embody the hidden, which at first conceals the identity of another human being and makes the underlying element invisible to the observer. The mask is in the case for the people what the facade is for the architecture.


Inspired by the variety of forms and the extraordinary graphical performance, I designed and animated these masks. They are a fusion of the entire color, form and symbol diversity, which is communicated through the masks. For the interpretation of the masks I developed a system which results from the analysis of the Ndebele masks. The silhouettes are modeled on the basic geometric shapes. Then the individual details of the masks are designed and grouped into categories. This system has the advantage that the individual components which influence the overall image of a mask can be modulated and combined with one another. The color palettes are also inspired by the very colorful house paintings. Each symbol, color and form has a certain meaning, which is reflected in the mythology of each tribe.


For the realization of the 3D Animations we also build a 3D printed scale model of the facade and the statue and arranged them to correspond to their realworld position and relation to each other. This process enables a much more accurate workflow especially for perspective dependend animations.


The Poster of the 2015 Genius Loci Weimar Competition featuring the mapped Facade Mask Design:


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