"The quiet brings us total peace. That’s why we like being out here so much." We visited Anna and Marcus in the countryside and talked with them about their life there, thinking sustainably and their relationship to mobility. The two of them have a farmhouse in Brandenburg. With five sheep and a cat, named Cat. They came here to watch fruits and vegetables grow. You can almost hear them grow – which shows how quiet it is out here compared to Berlin and their second home in Neukölln, only 100 km away.
The truth is, Anna and Marcus still enjoy the big city life. They’re used to loud bars, multicultural restaurants and being surrounded by big crowds of people. Their white sneakers don't exactly scream ecofarm, either. "We wanted to get away from this overload of impressions and things", Anna explains. Less houses, less people, less stuff. In their apartment in Neukölln, minimalism translates into a huge white wall. “Almost museum-like – feels free", Marcus nods. He looks out of his farmhouse window into the garden: one hectare surrounded by endless fields. This is pure freedom. More nature, more recreation, more family. "Being here, you get close to changes and processes, whether it’s the seasons of a year or animals switching from summer to winter coat… you get to see how much time these things actually take", he explains.
This appreciation supports their credo, “less is more" not only runs through Anna and Marcus' private life – it plays an important role in their online magazine. “Viertel \ Vor" Magazine is all about sustainability. And no, it’s not the place to swap crochet patterns. Instead, the authors criticize our current “throw-away society" and fast fashion, while presenting new, innovative labels and initiatives. Anna and Marcus know that in today’s society, sustainability won’t just happen overnight.
“People no longer buy things to keep them. People buy things just to like them for a moment and that’s it.", Anna says and sips her coffee. Instead of cluttering our planet with more, the two of them desire long-lasting and chic products. “Things are bought by the mainstream because they look good – this is why design is so important" Marcus says. If a product is well designed, people like it and it lives longer. And if this product is good quality, then it’s actually sustainable “per se“, Marcus continues. Although they like their idyllic farm life, they miss being close to their friends. To get the best out of both worlds, Anna and Marcus have to drive back and forth a lot. Freedom means to be able to move freely.
Best of both worlds.
However, they are aware of their ecological footprint and always look for ways to reduce it. “When it comes to cars, the most important thing to us is that it needs to have the lowest CO2 emissions possible", Marcus says. In other words, an electric car. One that has a high range. During our interview, he sits there grinning at his future vision – combustion engines are exorbitantly loud and electric cars come around the corner, elegantly floating with no sound, whether over their local town's cobblestone pavements or parking next to herds of sheep. Marcus also hopes for e-mobility for everyone, not just the wealthy. “If society is supposed to start rethinking, then the car has to be affordable." Anna comes back into the room and nods in support of low-emission vehicles for all. Both strongly believe that sustainability should not be a luxury good.
If society is supposed to start rethinking, then the car has to be affordable. I believe, or rather we believe that that sustainability should not be a luxury good.Marcus Werner
Anna and Marcus have both worked in communications for many years, as a journalist and photographer / director and in 2016 decided to go their own way. This new way is called "Viertel \ Vor", an online magazine that the two of them use to introduce innovations, people and products that embody their principle of “what truly matters".
The name "Viertel \ Vor" refers to the symbolic 15 minutes that we as humans have left to start rethinking how we treat our planet.