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»What the fuck is Heimat?« Object

A Book That’s Not a Book.

Telling stories with an object.

“Heimat” is a common German word with no exact English equivalent. The term describes home, homeland, or the special feeling for that. We asked ourselves “What the fuck is Heimat?” during a workshop series supervised by Franz Riebenbauer, an internationally flourishing designer.

We tried to answer that by distilling the personal Heimat of a colleague into a custom-made object. My piece for Jacob tells the story of ambivalences — and it challenges the introversion of its recipient. Starting with the narrative of his favorite things, books, it contains words on paper, enclosed in an easy-to-open device. Solid concrete as a foundation — containing tasks to overstep his comfort zone, and covered with a cloche that protects its interior. The transparency implies to open it, yet simultaneously its audacious color warns. Opening up means both risking vulnerability — and a chance to evolve.

Concept, Design, Production
Gerald Geier

Workshop, Guidance
Franz Riebenbauer

»What the fuck is Heimat?« Object Construction
»What the fuck is Heimat?« Object from above
»What the fuck is Heimat?« Object Construction


The signal color paint both attracts attention and warns of opening the cloche.


Glass is the material of light. It illuminates the interior and represents transcendence as well as opening.


Paper — the element of books. It’s a classical approach to conserve knowledge and communication. Each message contains either a challenge or a question.


Concrete symbolizes the strong foundation and Jacob’s down-to-earth nature. The concrete base embraces irregularities — contrasting the nearly perfect shape of the glass cloche.

»What the fuck is Heimat?« Opened Object

© Gerald Geier

Transforming Tomorrow Together.