Today’s the Day to Have Your Say

There’s probably nothing else that puts strangers together in close proximity quite like an elevator does. As a rider, almost every time the door opens, in walks someone you’ve never met before. So there you are, in a closed space looking at an unfamiliar face, and the inevitable happens.

Silence.

Perhaps it’s just human nature, but most of us find it difficult to strike up a conversation with someone we don’t know. Maybe it’s shyness. Maybe we’re afraid the other person is in no mood to chat. Whatever the reason, within the small confines of an elevator the silence seems particularly awkward. Sometimes, you just wish you had an excuse to get a conversation going.

Well, today, you have your excuse. Our friends at KONE want to remind everyone that July 28 is “National Talk in an Elevator Day.” So, go ahead and break the ice. Need ideas? Check out KONE’s blog on the topic.

What Does This Have to Do With Elevators?

Just looking at it, this picture may seem to have nothing to do with elevators … but it does, in a most interesting way. Your author was among approximately a dozen journalists who visited Finland recently to tour KONE’s recently revamped (and very impressive) underground test “tower,” which is deeper than London’s The Shard is tall. Underground, there is far more than just the lab: There is a restaurant (where movies have been filmed), and a labyrinth-like series of interconnected cave areas, sort of like a surreal hedge maze made of rock. It would have been easy for us to get lost without the guidance of our hosts from KONE, who are familiar with every nook and cranny of the operation, including this interesting feature — a bottle-storage rack perfect for wine storage since the temperature stays at a steady 40 or so degrees Fahrenheit. Here, your author and architect David Malott, chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, check out KONE’s underground wine selection. I’ve also included a shot of all of us posing for a group shot. 

Cityscapes Without the City

The Van der Valk Hotel Ultrecht in Ultrecht, Netherlands, recently completed an extensive renovation creating a sleek, modern new look with city center accents throughout. From hall names to wall hangings, the hotel celebrates Ultrecht’s city center. The only problem is the hotel resides on the outskirts of town, not in its center. The solution: a virtual city center view from the hotel’s elevators. Unveiled July 14, and created by cinematographer Robbert Vogtländer, along with computer animation-studio Happy Ship, Hotel Ultrecht now features elevators that travel from the basement to 20th floor, allowing guests to jump out of the water of the Oude Gracht, hover past the Dom Tower cathedral, watch birds fly and wind rock the leaves, and the earth move under the sun with the same accuracy as the clock on the Dom.