SIGHTS in Berlin:
It's a space for artists and creative heads to experiment - that's how art and communication network Platoon understands its art gallery at the Prenzlauer Berg. Because the discussion on the location of the European headquarters in Berlin have taken a while (Platoon has already been founded there in 2000) they simply took 34 cargo containers that since 2012 provide a space for art projects, workshops and events. There are artists spraying graffiti while a DJ puts on some tunes or artists are working in a container during their residency. You can shop vintage pieces at The Wardrobe every first Saturday in a month. Or you can hang at the Worklounge to exchange ideas and develop new concepts. The modular art construct in the containers is planned for two years and provides 4,500 square metres. Platoon Cultural Development - that's how the organisation calls itself - has found its origin in 2009 in Seoul. Ever since the global network has been expanding.
Off we go to the Grunewald and to its highest point at 115 metres: the Teufelsberg (devil's mountain), an elevation that was made from WWII debris and attracts walkers, mountain bikers and kite-flyers to the fresh open air in summer and cross-country skiers in the winter. The view is great, covering the area surrounding Berlin and it's city skyline. And this is very reason why this place was once a spy post. During the cold war, the Americans and the British used to position their listening devices here. Every now and again curious ones stumble into the dilapidated facility, even though it is prohibited and officiall cordoned-off.It looks like the building permission expired here, as a considerable apartment and hotel complex was once in the works, along with David Lynch's aspirations for a university and meditation centre. Thankfully nothing became of these plans and the Teufelsberg remains wild mountain territory, apart from the local vineyard. Those who are searching for a green space to recharge their batteries should definitely do it here. A small tip: don't forget to bring your swimming gear, as you will pass by the Teufel lake on the way up the mountain. But if you do forget them, don't worry, as the naturist community also has a good presence.
Bright, airy, friendly and white: that's how you would characterise most art museums and galleries. The collection Boros in Berlin however has decided against such an exhibition space and instead moved into a premise with a moving past. A building which does not dodge behind art but tells a story of its own. The former bomb shelter was erected by the National Socialists during the second World War, later occupied by the Red Army and transformed into a war prison. From the 1950s onwards it was used as storage for textiles and tropical fruit, and at the beginning of the 1990s a hardcore techno club moved in. In 2003 the art collector Christian Boros from Wuppertal bought the building and refurbished it into a gallery under strict conditions. Now you can see - after preliminary registration - works by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Cosima von Bonin, Olafur Eliasson, Thomas Ruff and Wolfgang Tillmans, with the exceedingly interesting premises on top.
STAY in Berlin:
The Dude Hotel
With 62 Alexander Schmidt-Vogel begins a second career - after his international success with his communication agency MediaCom. He transforms a historical building from 1822 in Berlin-Mitte into a 27-room hotel, designed to have thought-provoking effects on his guests. No room resembles another, and the styles are wildly garbled: Alexander Schmidt-Vogel glues, inspired by drafts from the Dusseldorf interior designer Uwe van Afferdeen, suitcases onto the walls and installs crystal chandeliers next to them, puts gym benches into the entrance area, Kartell furniture to Biedermeier tables and so-called maxi bottles with wine, water and champagne into the colourful minibars. The breakfast for hotel guests is served in Schmidt's Deli Deluxe. The restaurant in the souterrain, the Beef Club, offers large steaks from the American Angus cattle.
You don't want to book a hotel room? Then 'No Hotel' is the right one for you. The only thing this place has in common with a conventional hotel is the fact that guests from all around the world pay for a night in a room. Otherwise, it is as if your Berliner friend has left you the keys to her flat because she is out of town.Hopefully not literally! This hotel is found on the 21st floor of an original industrialised apartment block built in 1967. The times where people were trying to flee such apartments is long gone. Amongst student circles, it is now the in-thing to move into such buildings. Here you've got the chance to find out whatever the effects of the DDR and its architectural produce are. The rich remnants of the DDR to young trendsetters have discovered the appeal of the 'plattenbau' and maybe you will too! What will help you find it? Your Berliner friend has great taste and has outfitted rooms with design classics of the period. A must see for all DDR nostalgics.
When a hotel opens its doors between the record label Universal and the music channel MTV, then it should please people from the music industry. The New Yorker Karim Rashid, the fanciest popstar from the design scene was signed on to provide for the right vibe in the four stars plus design hotel. His funky world of forms welcomes the guest already at the front desk. There's a lot of pink, gaudily coated lifts and graphic works that wriggle through the rooms along the walls and floors up to the pink bedclothes. In the 304 rooms and suites, you find organically shaped partitions with integrated flat screens and indirect lighting. If you want to play music, go to one of the in-house recording studios or use the room service and order a guitar. P.S.: Not only people from the music industry are excited!
SHOPPING in Berlin:
We can imagine that Mr. Wolfgang Joop doesn't need to watch his hard-earned pennies anymore. Nonetheless, the fashion tzar has brought another label to the market. Lazing about doesn't come into question for the master of fashion: in the blink of an eye the master has whipped another cencept out of his non-existent top-hat.'Wunderkind' is the name of the latest label to come from Joop, which has allowed the designer to design himself anew. The creations are new and feminine, mostly straight, rarely frisky and somehow unbeatable.The new collection is also quite expensive and so maybe there's a bit more sense and pleasure to be had in searching through the vintage Joop collections. It's the sort of stuff that true fashion-victims wouldn't be seen dead wearing, but perfect for those that appreciate classic fashion, even if it's a few seasons old. The ambience here is almost as noble as the flagship store on the Markgrafenstrasse, where the latest collections are to be found.
The scene shoemakers are on the job right here: There's 60 sq metres of just about everything that would like to wrap themselves around the feet of coolest trendsetters of the world. And the latest designer handbags to boot! Need a few names? Latitude Femme, Dico und Abro. WASTE from Barcelona and Veja from France. The last two aforementioned labels don't just design for the eye's pleasure, but also for a good cause: both colelctions are made from Fair Trade raw products and recycled materials. There's also a wide range of labels from Scandinavia, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The motto demands that the shoes and brands should remain unknown, well, at least to the masses.The decor of the concept store is quite minimalistic. Each shoe has it's own lit mini-display window. Shoe fetichists agree that man's best friend should be treated so. And the customers are also treated well: the store assistants lend great advice and test fittings are done on an oversized leather couch. Even if there's stacks of shoe boxes around you the staff still remain friendly, as they know exacly how it is to be in love with not just one, but all of them.
The name may be somewhat misleading. Eisdieler (ice-cream dealer) hints towards the presence of ice-cream, and lots of it. But the search for creamy respite will have to be taken elsewhere... Whether it's urban sassy or sassy casual doesn't matter. Its gotta be cool and be suited to late trip down to the local nightclub. As the four in-house designers can't be expected to create everything, every now and again other artists are invited to add their two cents. For example Jim Avignon designed a pair of shoes for Eisdieler not so long ago. Of course it's not cheap to fit yourself out with the sassiest labels in the city. Cult comes at a price. A branded t-shirt costs upwards from ? 25.
EAT in Berlin:
If the Royal Grill is a bit too suave for you, then this is the best alternative barbeque location Berlin has to offer. It's not so dazzling, but rather relaxed, a legend in it's own right and it boasts an idyllic garden. In the middle of Kreuzberg, in the middle of Viktoriapark and right in the middle of the field there is space for over 100 guests spread over two floors.One quick view of the massive grill and there's no doubt that there is enough meat to go around for everyone. On a clear summer evening, it's advisable to grab a spot at around 4pm. That way you will have some space to yourself, at least for an hour or so.The clientele here show two different faces; laid-back and dynamic. From the Kreuzberg original, business men to students, anyone could be your neighbour at a table. So order a 'Berliner Weisse' beer, along with some sausage, meat and potatoes. As you will see, there's everything here for a great evening in Berlin.
Korean food has a unique reception among Europeans. Those who aren't familiar with it don't care about it. It's associated with well-known sushi and glutamate wok dishes. Those whoever, who have had the pleasure of experiencing Korean specialties cooked with love usually develop a life-long affair with the most interesting cuisine in the world.The princess of Korean cuisine is found int he middle of Berlin, in what used to be a pizza restaurant. The design of the restaurant is more urban, more industrial and a bit more stylish than others in Berlin.The tables and the benches are massive, there's corrugated iron sheeting painted in red. The Berliner chic style screams out, which could just as well be found in London. But it's the kitchen and its sumptuous produce that really shine here. The Kimchi on offer is absolutely perfect, and you can't say that about many Korean restaurants. Korean BBQ sounds like a modern dish, but it's actually a classic and is definetely worth a go. High-grade beef is prepared right on your table. Add sesame leaves, Banchan, stuffed cabbage rolls and your tastebuds have a whole new world to discover.
When was that again? Nobody knows for sure. But at one point in Berlin, there came the day when Austrian cuisine became the in-thing. Austrians with friends in Germany would post off cheese-sausages and Manner waffle biscuits to their poor friends, relieiving the pain until the next Wiener Schnitzel.So save your trip to the post office and send those wistful ones to the Alpenstück. Everything here is freshly prepared using only the freshest ingredients. Bonus. Another bonus is the menu, which is full of delicacies from southern Germany and Austria, such as; Spätzle, Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel. The true heart of the mountains. What more could you want?A shot of Obstler liquor perhaps? Then take a pick from 40 of the best around!As another bonus, the restaurant is beautifully furnished. Personal touches such as the shindle covered walls really add to the traditional touch. However, you can leave your lederhosen at home.