Friday, July 10, 2015

Sources of inspiration: Berlin // treasure hunting // top 5 places to visit // Romantic decay & hidden gems

It has been a long time since I have been to Berlin so when I knew the Bread & Butter show was coming up I planned a trip to one of my all time fave cities. I guess what attracted me most, when I visit Berlin 10 years ago, was the calm and relaxed atmosphere. The city itself did not have a booming economy and lot's of creatives settled here and it was still easy to find a cheap place to live.

But a lot has changed. Since Berlin was featured in the New York Times as one of the 'go to' places the city now has a crazy amount of tourist flushing the streets during the warmer season. Even though locals might not be too happy about it and prices have gone up like crazy, they have to admit: this new cash flow was very welcome.

Romantic decay
During summer 6 years ago was the last time i visit this city before going back this summer and I can see so much has changed. The damaged old buildings have been renovated and covered in a layer of fresh new paint. New modern architecture is popping up around the eastern part of town and near the Spree river. And I am quite happy to only have seen one junkie shooting up during my trip. That is a little progress right?

Berlin always has been a melting pot and the city has a complex history which is very visible to the eye up until today. So what is it that makes this city unique? The way it bounces back from everything that has happened? Berlin is in fact very different from other cities in Germany that I visit and this raw creative energy is very much part of it. Hopefully some of it will stay.

Bread & Butter
So this year I decided to join the Bread and Butter show where fashion start ups and shops find there annual dose of inspiration. Where buyers collect new items for their shop and designers present their new work. It is always fun to see what is happening in fashion and print. What influences new collections. The Bread and Butter show location is an experience by itself: the old Tempelhof airport building, that was open for public up until 2008, is a beautiful piece of architecture. After a brief meeting I was able to have a good look around and enjoy the beautiful and hot summer day out in the sun, overlooking the old airport.

Berlin, It never ceases to amaze me. The city has a raw urban edge but is also a great place to visit with small kids since parks and playgrounds are everywhere. So of course with every trip I stumble upon places I really love and I am happy to write down a few of the Berlin gems I discovered while cycling around town on my bike. So here is a top 5 of places to see and experience.

1 // Blain Southern
This contemporary art gallery is located in the old press building and offers a huge canvas to artists. This summer the gallery has an impressive exhibit of Morellet. You can see his paintings and also his later work: neon installations. His work was influenced by artists like Piet Mondriaan and Max Bill. You can see some similarities in the movement and the composition but using materials like neon, concrete, metal, and leaving out color were considered to be quite modern back then and still make his work very unique. What I love about the gallery itself is that it has a huge main area with one high sealing stretching up into the sky. The canvas for the work makes the art even more astonishing.

2 // Café Strauss
This time I was renting a small studio near the Bergmannstraße in Kreuzberg. A perfect location to visit the Bread and Butter show that was held at the old Tempelhof airport. This area has lot's of restaurants and bars but if you want to have a sweet break or little brunch I would recommend Café Strauss that is a little further west and located on a graveyard. Does not sound too appealing right? Sit down and eat with the dead? Well, it is an experience to have a bite here. The place itself has great baked goods, heavenly cheesecake, but you can also eat the more traditional pretzel and butter. Try it out!

3 // Neue Heimat
Most people visit the East Side Gallery when they visit Berlin. These remains of the wall that once divided east and west is one of the cities main attractions. But there is lot's more to see and to do around the eastern part. If you walk a little more north you can visit a small reggae place with food and drinks and art exhibits: YAAM. But one of the places that for me is a typical Berlin experience is the Sunday flea market down Revaler Straße. Neue Heimat. This area remains a little shady but on sundays the old factories east of the train tracks houses a vivid vintage and flea market. You can enjoy some street food, have a drink and enjoy live music in typical Berlin style. During the night this place turns into a club. So if you're up for a night out check out what's going on via their website.

4 // Schee
I am a big fan of one German shop in particular: Kauf Dich Glücklich. And while visiting this fave of mine I found this little gem next door: Schee. A place where you can find small home decor items and a great collection of graphic prints. Seriously great! If you can appreciate illustration, photography, typography and design; this shop has it all. You can buy an original screen print for under €50. So go take a look, and even if you are not looking for anything to spice up your wall, it is a great place for some colorful inspiration.

5 // Kauf Dich Glücklich
Just so you know, I am not a big fan of shopping. But this place has it all for me. The shop has locations all over Germany so I always make sure to have a little peek before I leave for home. They have some Scandinavian fashion labels and also have jewelry, shoes, bags and book. Great books about travel and art. Boy that is one awesome mix of books! I know! So if you get a chance to visit Germany, check out the nearest KDG shop and buy yourself some happiness.