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A funky brick structure, some tires and lots of lights. These are the design elements of bow.berlin, a jewelry and leather fashion boutique and showroom that opened a few weeks ago in the famed Berlin West, aka City West.
The shop displays the work of two German designers: high-end leather bags, belts and other accessories by Michael Lawrenz and watches, jewelry and accessories by Christian Koban.
Berlin designer Neels Kattentidt conserved the character of the rough brick surfaces and cool arches of the old railway structure, and created a pared-down and funky gallery atmosphere by using the minimum of out-of-context components.
He avoided the typical sleek and glossy imagery of high-end designer boutiques by turning, with admirable innovative gusto, to cleaned-up recycled car tires.
A full four tons of tires were cut, wired, screwed and nailed to fit them with LED-lighting and back-lit white glass tops to create shelves, display tables and even chandeliers. Yes, we particularly love those chandeliers.
All in all, Berlin West is turning into a cool and chic destination and not just because it is close to the known fashion addresses of Kurfürstendamm or the transportation hub of Bahnhof Zoo.
This sleek and shiny new building is the Technology Center Medical Science (Das Science Center Medizintechnik), located in central Berlin between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate.
If you feel that the building, designed by Gnädinger Architects, looks somewhat sterile and synthetic, the architects and owners would not feel offended. The building has two main functions — it is a corporate facility and a science center — but both have to do with human mobility, specifically walking and grasping, and bionics (technology modeled on nature).
The clinical feel and sweeping forms are what makes this such a cool complex. The façade is designed to resemble the structure of muscle fibers. If you visit the Science Centre within, you will learn all about it and will never look at this building the same way again.
The building owner is Otto Bock Healthcare GmbH, one of the world’s oldest and largest companies designing, manufacturing and selling prostheses and orthopedic products. It was founded in 1919 by Otto Bock to meet the needs of war veterans. The top three floors of the new building are taken up by the company and its training and demonstration facilities.
The three lower floors house the Science Center and its three exhibitions: The Fascination of Walking and Grasping, Nature as our Guide, and Technology for People. To design the exhibitions, Otto Bock commissioned Berlin-based ART+COM, that has designed events for the BMW Museum and many retail clients. - Tuija Seipell
Elite, exclusive, private - Soho House Group’s properties continue to exude an air of privilege and luxury that entices members and non-members with its exclusive, members-only spaces, hotel suites, several restaurant brands and the Cowshed spa brand.
The newest property, Soho House Berlin is Soho House Group’s first outside-UK European property and its largest so far.
It is a private members club and 40-room hotel located on eight floors of a 1928 late-Bauhaus building on Torstrasse in Berlin’s famous Mitte district.
The hotel rooms offer the typical upscale fare: custom beds, rainforest showers, Samsung flatscreens and in-house Cowshed spa products. Some even have restored vintage record players and vinyl LPs to evoke a retro industrial feel also reinforced by exposed concrete and dark paneling.
Soho House Berlin’s hotel rooms are a delightfully mad yet subtle mix of this hard, angular visual language with a padded-velvet lush and prissy 1930s glamour. Soho House’s cool interiors are the work of in-house designer Susie Atkinson and London-based Michaelis Boyd Associates.
Following the concept of Soho Houses in London and West Hollywood, a Cecconi’s restaurant will open in Berlin’s Soho House this fall.
Soho House Group operates five Soho House clubs and hotels in the UK and one in each of New York, West Hollywood and now Berlin. The next property, Soho Beach House Miami will open this fall in Mid-Beach, Miami, in the historic Sovereign hotel. - Tuija Seipell
OUKAN 71 is an intriguing addition to the sophisticated shopping area around Friedrichstrasse in Berlin. OUKAN 71 combines a fashion and art showroom/shop with a tea room and restaurant. Located on Kronenstrasse 71 (Kronen Strasse means Crown Street in German, and Oukan is Japanese for crown), the boutique has a fascinating background.
When the earthquake and tsunami cancelled the Tokyo Fashion Week in March last year, a group of Japanese designers were looking for a place to showcase their work. Berlin answered, and a charity project, Tokyo Gakudan (Tokyo Orchestra), was presented at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in July 2011, with 40 Japanese designers showing their collections.
Natalie Viaux and Huy Thong Tran Mai were responsible of the Tokyo Gakudan Runway Show at Mercedes-Benz Studio. They are also the masterminds behind OUKAN 71, inspired by the fashion show.
On two open-concept floors, OUKAN 71 offers a constantly changing selection of fashion, accessories and design, much of it currently Scandinavian, but all with a Japanese feel. The Tea Bar Restaurant serves raw, vegan, vegetarian and fish breakfast and lunch dishes by chef-patissier Eriko Ohsawa, formerly of Tim Raue’s MA and UMA restaurants. - Tuija Seipell