Ukraine Chess Board

The colors of Ukraine represent the ‘sky’ (blue) and the ‘wheat’ (yellow). Anno 2022 Ukraine is the chess board of autonomy and sovereignty, literally and figuratively.

The Russian invasion at the end of February 2022, seems to be about expanding the empire of Great Russia Peter the Great, possibly about confiscating the fertile grounds, about revenge for the second World “`War related to the behaviour of the Nazi’s, about the mix of historical and ethnological aspects or a personal drive of a leader to possess and destroy. It is likely a strange blend of them.

It all seems a bloody play of chess.  Russia has delivered many famous chess players, such as Anatoli KarpovViktor Korchnoi and Garry Kasparov, but now it seems it steps up the board itself.

The chess board has become a metaphor for the fight for democracy and freedom, against autocracy and unfreedom. That presently the most felt and communicated semantic differential in the West, but possibly and even more likely history will tell us that there is more under the sun.

Jack Kruf (2022) Ukraine Chess board. Breda.

The chess board is available for print on different media en products. The products are selected and curated and should remind us how fragile democracy, dignity and freedom in fact are and that fight, weapons and human loss are needed to maintain and preserve. History is repeating itself.

Parc de la Distance


Austria-based studio Precht has designed a maze-like park divided by high hedges that would allow people to be outdoors while maintaining social distance during the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Precht, founder of studio Precht, designed the Parc de la Distance following numerous public, outdoor spaces around the world closing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Design for ecological harmony

© Dror for Parkorman Istanbul: designing a love story between people and nature in a city with no central park.

Dror is a New York-based design firm, creating the future of cities. Building comprehensive visions & systems at every scale. Connecting people with nature through the built environment.

The well-being of humans and the planet are interconnected, and Dror’s Supernature Labs focus on the research, development and invention of new ways to build better with nature and like nature. A global initiative, the labs are rolling out to locations around the world and empowering the local community to innovate and build a better future.

Established by Dror, SuperNature Labs is a holistic, practical framework to design with nature, like nature, to measurably improve the wellbeing of all life. From the scale of products to new cities, SuperNature takes us from Sustainability to Ecological Harmony: a shift in the way we design environments that enables communities, economies, and ecologies to grow in support of each other.

SuperNature Labs is a design company that pioneers innovative architecture, planning, and media products to offer a multi-scale development platform based on a new integration of nature and the built environment.


Kruf, J.P. (2018) Freedom.

Freedom is one of the highest personal values. Thinking of society – with all free people – as a mosaic as large as a chess board. Imagine the colours of thought or belief (Pantone Quiet Gray), of physical movement in sport, dance, travel and leisure (Pantone Leather Brown) and of expression in art and culture (Pantone Pastel Yellow) together.

A palette with just the core indicators of true freedom. No blue (government) and no violet (politics) on the horizon.

Cultural Heritage

Kruf, J.P. (2019) Cultural heritage [fine art print].

Cultural heritage (Pantone Pastel Yellow) is the felt DNA of society. It most of the time contrasts as a light in-depth perspective on past days with the hectic world of the city of today (Pantone Chili Pepper). The governing system with its rules and regulations (Pantone Jet Black) comes in. The white fields (Pantone Snow White) are the opening spots to the new world, the pristine fields to be discovered.

It is this composition that comes into my mind when society is ignited to reorient and even redesign itself when society is at the brink of rewriting and rethinking its own history, its past, but more than that, it’s future. Society changes in color palette from heritage pastel yellow into dynamic chili pepper, the hot variant.

This design is available as fine art print.

Lost in the City

Kruf, J.P. (2018) Lost in the City [fine art print]. Breda..

Can someone gets lost in the city? I do NOT mean the romantic kind of lost, on a late evening wandering through the city of Paris with your love in search for your hotel. Not the philosophical, in search for existentialism, the Jan-Paul Sartre or Albert Camus-like kind of lost.

I do mean the type of isolation or loneliness kind of lost. Yes it is so possible to get lost in the city, to get disconnected from the fibres of the city, to be erased from the chessboard of life. This is how it could feel like.

The City and its Biome

Kruf, J.P. (2019) Freshwater biome.

The city has been built within its natural environment. The origin of every city lies in the place, the milieu, the environment where it all started. For that we took nature, reformed it, destroyed it, to make a place for ourselves. We know that when we visit museums. We know where we come from.

The way that cities interconnect with the environment is crucial for present and more so for the near-future quality of life. It is about city resilience, by heart and soul. More and more though, the connection between city and environment becomes thinner and thinner, more unbalanced, sometimes under heavy pressure or even gets completely lost. Yes, there is a growing concern among citizens, experts and scientists how to keep or restore the balance with its natural environment.

This quest for balance is hot because the facts show us that cities become more irresilient due to internal explosive growth of population and rapid economic development, with all effects as disease, poverty and pollution, as well due to external hazards caused by climate change, sea-level rise, human-made natural disasters. Among others, the World Economic Forum publishes large scale findings in their Global Risks Reports for 15 years now. They emerge for more than 70 years now, reported for the first time in the Club of Rome report Limits to Growth (Meadows et al., 1972).

Back to basics and to be aware of where we come from could trigger the awareness of the essence of this balance. Professor Tarr describes the essence of this relation as follows:

“Cities interact and shape the natural environment in several and direct ways. City populations require food, water, fuel, and construction materials… Cities have always placed demands on their sites and their hinterlands… Americans founded cities in locations where nature offered various attractions, such as on coastlines where the land’s contours created harbours, on rivers and lakes that could be used for transportation, water supplies and waste disposal, and in fertile river valleys with extensive food and animal resources.”


In this essay, we take the fast lane to the true origin, in fact to the main habitat of every city: the biome. Biomes are defined as “the world’s major communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment” (Campbell, 1996). Every city in the world lies within or near the geographical boundaries of one or more biomes and is submitted to the laws of its physical and biological features. The biomes:

Forest Biome: This is a biological community that is dominated by trees and other woody vegetation (Spurr, 1980). There are three major types of forests; tropical rainforest, temperate forest and boreal forest (taiga). The fact is that most of the original forests have been destroyed or are on the brink of disappearance (University of California Museum of Paleontology).

Grassland biome: Grasslands are characterized as lands dominated by grasses. Continental climate (hot and dry) is favorable for grasses rather than for large shrubs or trees. There are three major types of grassland: savannas, prairies and steppes.

Tundra Biome: Tundras are characterized as lands with shrubby vegetation, composed of dwarf shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses, and lichens, which is adapted to harsh conditions with an extremely cold climate. The biodiversity is low, there is poor nutrients availability and little precipitation with a short season (the Arctic summer) of growth and reproduction. There are alpine and arctic tundras.

Desert biome: Deserts are characterized as lands where water availability is at a minimum and biodiversity is small. Organisms have adapted both physiologically and behaviourally to the lack of water (Wilson, 2018). There are four major types of deserts: hot and dry, semiarid, coastal and cold.

Marine biome: The marine biome dominates the surface of the Earth, covering about three-quarters of the Earth’s surface area. The world’s oceans contain the richest diversity of species of any space on Earth. Rainwater for land areas is supplied by the evaporation of ocean waters. There are oceans, coral reefs, and estuaries.

Freshwater biome: 3% of earth’s water is freshwater and about 70% of that is sequestered in polar ice4. There are wetlands inundated with water, streams and rivers with running water and ponds and lakes with accumulating water.

Where does your city lie? What do you think about how it influences city life? Your life, now and in the life of your children and grandchildren?


Campbell, N.A. (1996) Biology, 4th Edition. California, Menlo Park: The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc.

Meadows, Donella H., Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III (1972). The Limits to Growth. Club of Rome.

Spurr, S.H., Barnes, B.V. (1980.) Forest Ecology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Tarr, Joel A., The City and the Natural Environment. Carnegie Mellon University.

University of California Museum of Paleontology,

Wilson E.O. (2018) Life on Earth. Chapter Biomes and Landscapes. E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.