Graz is a unique city that prides itself on being both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and City of Design. It’s easy to see why it deserves both accolades.
Spearing through the middle of the town is the river Mur. While still lined with the traditional baroque apartment blocks that you expect, the leafy banks are also littered with futuristic landmarks, like the Murinsel and the ‘Alien’ Kunsthaus. These tin-foil architectural mutations are a delightful contrast to the stoic icons, like the Schloss Eggenberg and the Uhrturm clocktower.
While staying within view of the Kunsthaus, we had little time to soak in all of what Graz had to offer. We were on business, at the Stadthalle Graz on the outskirts of the city.
The Fifteen Seconds festival prides itself on being ‘europe’s festival for creative minds’. It brings together forward-thinkers from around the world to indulge in a few days of thought-provoking discussion, inspirational insights and a little semi-sober networking.
While a little less known to those further west, the annual event attracts top speakers from brands such as Google, Microsoft, Vice Magazine, Starbucks, American Apparel, Spotify and Microsoft. High-ranking employees and CEOs from the likes of Lufthansa, The New York Times, Hyperloop and GQ Magazine graced the stage this year.
Adrift from the adult ball-pits, 50ft swings, free refreshments and keynote speakers, The City Works had a small stand of stacked pallets at the Fifteen Seconds Marketplace. Debuting at the festival was our new Graz Debossed Notebooks and Greetings Cards, which came in a choice of three colours. While maintaining the gradual flow of visitors to our large crate, we found some time to cherry-pick a handful of interesting talks from their packed roster.
I took inspiration from Bibop Gresta, the COO of Hyperloop, who is currently building the infamous transportation system totally from crowd-sourcing, without any funding. Meanwhile, Sylvia had a lesson in mindfulness from Gelong Thubten, a Tibetan Buddhist monk.
The show was full-on, exciting, invigorating and memorable. We’re glad that the many visitors to Fifteen Seconds Festival took a great deal of insight from it, and were happy they roamed the marketplace too. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.
Article by Rowan Ottesen, Co-founder of The City Works.