Field: Project design
Location: Mönchengladbach, Germany
Norbert Krause’s project sees itself as a catalyst. They speed up societal processes or make them possible to begin with. Always with a douse of humour and a lot of fun. Honest! With his label krauses, Norbert Krause offers his work to people from urban and rural areas. Depending on the size of the project, he also counts on the support of colleagues from his network to get the job done. In 2015 he was awarded the title “Cultural and Creative Pilot” by the German Federal Competence Centre and in 2016 he received the German bicycle prize.
Krause’s projects help to develop perspectives, to facilitate exchange or to resolve conflicts. Another aspect of his work is getting people to identify with their city. In 2016 he worked on an assignment from the Mönchengladbach textile centre to raise awareness about their unique collection of synthetic dyes, which is the only one of its kind world-wide. In his Krause-like way, he chose one of the thousands of colours, indigo blue, and started up a micro-business, the Blaumacherei, or the Blue Maker. He has a workbike stand that he takes from weekly market to weekly market to offer customers the very best service, dying everything blue that people want him to.
Another project on wheels, although far less mobile, is his bicycle printing machine that celebrated its premier in 2016 at Munich’s Tollwood Festival. Anyone who has ever ridden a bike in the rain without a mudguard knows the water splatter marks that the back wheel makes on your back. This is the principle of the bicycle printing machine, which allows you to use your own body strength to make t-shirts – in bright colours instead of muddy brown.
During the European Mobility Week, Krause invited people to take part in a shopping trolley championship in order to bring the often forgotten mobility form of walking (possibly because it’s so trivial) into the limelight. Handcarts have long been substituted by shopping trolleys, which in German are affectionately called “onion Porsches”. With this kind of proverbial car boot for walkers, you can do most every-day grocery shopping. During the contest, they wanted to see how much you can actually fit into an onion Porsche – and how fast you can pull it.
Krause first dedicated himself to the issue of mobility during his project “200 Days of a Bicycle City”. The project’s focus wasn’t the bike lanes, but the bikers. In 2013, the very car-friendly community of Mönchengladbach played bicycle city for 200 days while switching up effect and cause. In 2014 and 2015, the project was prolonged as an official city project. Since then, different actors and institutions have eagerly joined the bicycle cause under the motto “demonstration, participation and do-it-yourself”, from a pant-maker to yoga teacher, from the culture office to the symphony orchestra.
In workshops and lectures, he shares his experience of getting citizens and institutions involved in their city.