Young Greek German Gains National Hero Status in Dublin

In 2002 a young Greek German named Aris Venetikidis came to Dublin to begin his studies. From his first days in the Irish capital Venetikidis soon realized the chaos of public transport and the impossibility of the traveler to know the direction of the bus lines. Years later after having processed a tremendous volume of information, the Greek designer drew the most modern transportation map in Ireland which includes all the previous studies concerning improvements on public transports, gathering dust in the drawers of the Irish republic. The result was to be honored as a national hero! “My work has been honored and recognized. This makes me incredibly happy” Venetikidis states to the “Vima” Greek newspaper. The public transport system in Dublin is of the worst in Europe and the network is really bad. Transports do not interact and most of them work independently. This results into their interact use to be impossible” stated the Greek German designer.

“Over the last 80 years, by the time Ireland became independent, bus system in Dublin keeps turning into a complex beast. The network enlarged between 1920-1930 and instead of being adjusted in the new conditions, more and more lines were added ending to the city center…There is a spot in the center where the 120 out of the overall 170 bus lines end, while-at the same time-Berlin has only 120 most of which move towards the same direction” he said.

Venetikidis has tried to overcome this confusing Celtic puzzle by proposing the new transportation map of Dublin as his studies work. His professors thought that this would lead to an dead end so he changed his mind. However, after a while he changed his opinion again. “In the beginning of my Postgraduate studies I came up with a simple list with all the things going wrong in the network. I also discovered that the last 15 years exist a huge number of very good designers’ proposals concerning the improvement of the public transportation by proposing a radical redesign of services. Most of these studies where gathering dust in the drawers of the Irish government” Venetikidis stated, referring to our similar familiar situation.

His friendship with the transportation designer James Leachy played a significant role on his work’s progres.  He had just finished his postgraduate studies concerning the exact same thing- Dublin’s dreams for an advanced transportation system. “Since last year we began to gather in my apartment trying to virtualized a 200-page study by James. We sat at a map and mapped all of these ideas in a contemporary color network” he explained.

After eight years in the Irish capital, the 32 year old designer and photographer left Dublin and currently lives with his Lithuanian girlfriend in Vienna. “The economic crisis accelerated my decision to leave Dublin. Most of the rest foreigners living here did the same. Even the Greek community has shrunk by 90%! In my work field we saw the second largest office going bankrupted. In Dublin, the crisis is the daily discussion and people getting fired are not only amongst people we barely know but also amongst our closest friends-or even us” Venetikidis claims.

“Instead, here in Vienna things are better. As far as Greece is concerned, there is the impression that lots of people chose the easy way of making money and that many have abused benefits and subsidies. Indeed, when people listen to my last name they get confused because they don’t know if I belong to the lenders of borrowers of the Greek debt” Venetikidis says in humor.

 

Biography:

Aris Venetikidis was born in 1978 in Germany from a Greek father and a German mother. He grew up in the Ruhr area between Stuttgart and Essen. He studied graphic design in Germany and Ireland and worked in advertising and at the university. He owes his Greek origin to Rose Serres which he visits regularly. He has also spent a half year in Kenya working as a volunteer in development projects in Germany. More information can be found at:  www.aris.ie.

National Hero

The presentation received widespread publicity granting Aris Venetikidis national hero status. In Dublin, 70% of pubilc transportation is busses. “I suggested changing all the transportation system because the current one cannot even be in a map. Transportations are a very serious aspect of the economy and if correct they can help in the economical and environmental protection” Venetikidis states. In few weeks Venetikidis will be honored in Dublin with a special prize of the Irish institute “Design” which has recognized the importance of his work.

By London Underground Model

“I put my best utilizing all the skills and knowledge to build my maps, which are modern and understandable and appropriate for public use. This is because the graphics are not enough to get a simple map and to pass over the lines because the result would not be right ” claimedVenetikidis. The model that he followed was by the popular map of the Tube or London’s underground metro system.  The system was designed by Harry Beck in 1931.

“At last, I designed a map which includes all the improvements necessary which the studies proposed and one more for the city center .Designing last one was the most difficult part of my job. Likely, I discovered that a good map is also possible!” Venetikidis recounts.

When it was time for the maps presentation, people from the transportation departments and other stakeholders were invited.  The representatives firmly shook the hand of the Greek-German designer.  “Some of them said “The result is fantastic!’  This is the best thing I saw in my life ‘”he says.

Photo: Mr. Aris Venekitis photographed next to his masterpiece, the transportation map of Dublin.


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