Last year I had the opportunity to visit Berlin on a research trip, it was my first time in the city and I was taken aback by the difference between Berlin and London, mainly just how much space there was everywhere, which was really refreshing with it being in short supply in London.
Berlin is a fascinating city that took me a while to get used to, there’s so much history everywhere, extremely varied architecture, interesting pop-ups, concept stores and delicious places to eat. My favourite areas were Mitte and Kreuzberg, they had an interesting, creative vibe with inspiring places to see and independent shops to discover, with some places slightly tricky to find either being hidden through a courtyard or alleyway, but fun to try and find.
One of the destinations I was most looking forward to seeing was the Bauhaus Museum, which for the most part was unfortunately closed due to refurbishment, I didn't check beforehand! Don't make the same mistake as me.
I documented some of my favourite places below ranging from restaurants, places to visit, galleries and my favourite stores.
Although when I visited most of the Bauhaus Archive was closed, there was a fascinating exhibition on going through the history of the movement, people involved and the work that was being produced by key students. Walking around the museum, including the cafe and gift shop there is a mix of Bauhaus originals and replicas including furniture, lighting and art.
The Konig gallery is an exhibition space near the Kreuzberg district. Its main space is a large concrete open space with a tremendous amount of height, reminiscent of the turbine hall in the Tate Modern in London. Architecturally the gallery is an interesting mix of industrial and brutalist with beautiful use of concrete throughout.
Do You Read Me?
Do you read me is a shop in the Mitte district offering a curated selection of independent magazines as well as more well known international ones. Their main focus is culture, fashion, design, and architecture.
The Selfridges equivalent in Berlin. The main department store with a big selection of fashion + homeware covering designer, contemporary and interesting international brands. I discovered some great new brands that I had never heard of, which is one of my favourite things when travelling.
I highly recommend their food hall for lunch, there are many different micro-restaurants to choose from and I had some very German potato cheese goodness which was heavenly.
Voo Store is a modern urban lifestyle store, covering mainly fashion and accessories with a small amount of homeware and gifting. They have a small cafe within the store which serves a great quality coffee. When I visited Voo, they had an outlet store down the same street which had some heavily discounted designer clothes and accessories.
I luckily stumbled across Exhil Wohnmagazin by chance when I saw the beautiful building en route to another store I wanted to visit. It's a large homeware store covering every department you can think of; lighting, furniture, kitchen, accessories and bathroom over a few floors. It was inspiring to walk around and see how they have utilised this period building to house their products, keeping the original features and modernising elements, especially through careful use of colour.
A Swedish homeware store with a design ethos that focuses on sustainability and function without following trends. Providing products designed to simplify and organise our lives, mostly in a muted, neutral colour palette. It has a slightly utilitarian feel, with the store being very organised and neatly displayed. I particularly liked their stationary and organising products which had a slight nod to Muji.
Original In Berlin
If you love original mid-century design from the likes of Charles + Ray Eames, Arne Jacobson, Eddie Harlis and Klaus Grabe, this store will be like an Aladdin's cave of some of the best design in the world. All of the products are original (the clue really is in the name) and cover various types and sizes of furniture, lighting and some decorative objects. It's inspiring to see these items up close and in such good condition to buy when we normally see most of them on display in museums. It also looks like they have a workshop within the store where they do their restorations.
O.K is a unique store that sources and imports items that are not usually found within Western Europe. I loved their selection of textiles and rugs. It's a small yet extremely eclectic shop that is definitely worth a visit, especially for unique homewares and gifting items.
Papier In Mitte
If you love beautiful stationery, paper objects and the best writing equipment you will fall in love with Papier In Mitte. They have 2 small stores on the same street that supply fine paper and writing materials from all over the world. Along with a range of notebooks, they offer pens from Caran d’Ache (Switzerland), OHTO (Japan), Koh–I–Noor (Czech Republic) and Kaweco (Germany). You will find classic writing paper as well as assorted small scale series by international artists and designers. Some of the things they offer you will only find there and some items are there for a limited period of time, so there is always something new to be discovered.
Panama is a sharing plate based restaurant that uses mainly local ingredients (with the odd exotic one) and turns them into imaginative and delicious dishes. The interior is light and playful, inspired by the children’s book “Oh, wie schön ist Panama” by Janosch, which is a German favourite.
Father Carpenter Coffee Brewers
Well renowned for its breakfasts and coffee, Father Carpenter didn't disappoint when I visited for lunch. The cafe is split into 2 different buildings, each with a different design and look + feel. We were in the section with a more casual and relaxed feel and as well as the food being delicious, the staff were notably friendly and lovely to chat to.