Archive for the 'Modernism' Category

racy armchair

A few days ago the Isabella handbag was launched by BVLGARI in cooperation with Isabella Rossellini. Beautiful portraits of La Rossellini, nice mise en scène pour le sac à main , here sitting pretty on a beautiful chair…

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…and 60s armchairs chez nous in Berlin

We’ve been looking for a suitable armchair for more than a year. Now we’ve found it. An original Soloform piece of 1953, designed by Albrecht Lange and Hans Mitzlaff for Schmitt, which from time to time appears at auctions around the globe.

It’s efficient: no excess of material, just what’s needed to be comfortable. It’s light: I carried it upstairs to the 4th floor. It’s ergonomic and perfect for reading a book, a newspaper or an iPad. It’s beautiful…and its linden-tree green (washable) upholstering is just the color I wanted. Recycled in Berlin!

Living in a vintage gas station, in Schoeneberg

Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

Have a look at the fabulous article by the New York Times on a very lateral-thinking renovation: from gas station to apartment-cum-art-gallery!

Actually, I remember seeing an Aral gas station teamed up with a bar/restaurant at Schlesisches Tor U-bahn station, close to Club der Visionäre. I wonder if it is seasonal or open all year round…have to check it out.

The full article can be found on the New York Times website together with a beautiful slide show. An excerpt of the article follows.

In Berlin, a renovated gas station

by KIMBERLY BRADLEY

Continue reading ‘Living in a vintage gas station, in Schoeneberg’

Recycling furniture and collecting ideas in Berlin

Yesterday I looked at magazines to take with me on my easyjet flight on monday…and I was surprised to see the cover of Elle Decoration, British edition. First of all, holidaying at home. Exactly our plan for this summer! And secondly, green. Lastly, a 60’s sideboard. Tout se tient!

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But let’s proceed with order. In the recent posts several themes were launched.

– Green glass…

– Green bookshelves…

– DDR design…

– German iconic brands of the 60s….

Well, Elle decoration seems to follow Aflatinberlin steps! 😀

In fact part of the time spent holidaying in Berlin will be dedicated to the finishing touches and furnishing of the “cub” 60s flat. With items seen and collected over the past 2 trips to Berlin (with a little help from our friends in Viktoria Luise Platz), and with ideas pondered during the last 4 easyjet flights. Let’s see how all these items come together…

The Ironed Curtain

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I hate watching TV in the afternoon, but the Giro d’Italia speeds through Friuli Venezia Giulia,  across the plains, and heads to my Triest! How beautiful to see views of the Adriatic Sea!

I also hate ironing, by the way.

But ironing my new Berlin curtains while watching the ciclisti speeding across the Karst along the Gulf of Triest is a must!

In Berlin there are no blinds. So if you want to sleep you need curtains. I do not particularly love them but I like my 8 hours of sleep.

I went to a professional Gardinen stylists to hear the prices. I was looking for a cotton, mature plum, contemporary fitted heavy curtain. They didn’t have exactly what I was looking for…they were bordering on bordeaux and that’s not my cup of tea. Anyway. Made to measure, consider Eur 810 for our tall and large bedroom window. Argh! More expensive than my sliding-doors white gorgeous IKEA wardrobe!

An emergency solution was needed. I had indeed spotted my favorite color with the nice metal eyelets in the curtain department at IKEA, but the size didn’t fit. But…you just need to buy 2 sets of curtains, and add those missing 30cm by sacrificing one set. The remaining curtain can be used to double up the fabric which hangs in front of the window, in order to make it even darker. The part which hangs in front of the heating does not need to be too thick, in order to let the heat through.

The mature plum color is quite neutral, for summer and winter. It fits very well with white and beige panaches, or with lime green and brown. With pinks and magenta, or with any shade of yellow. So there’s plenty of room for playing around with colors in the bedroom, and little constraints

They metal eyelets are very bauhaus and absolutely not romantic and fluffy. They fit with the very simple stucco on the ceiling. They are linear and practical, the curtain can slide fast on the rails and believe me, when the ceiling is 4-metre high, that helps.

IKEA arbitrage tip: purple Merete curtains are only available in Germany, not in Italy. The price in Italy is Eur 39,95. You will not be surprised to hear that the same product (declined in more colors) in Germany is only Eur 29.90. So, two sets for 60 Euro…and I love purple

After Köln, Milan

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Salone del Mobile in Milano, after Köln…less hype, more craftmanship. On the 80th anniversary of the bauhaus, the return of the well-crafted over the decorative, the fashionable, the redundant, the transient is good news.

I am looking forward to returning to that second-hand market in Berlin where I saw the most beautiful 1950s oval table…for just 50 euros…(it’s gone, I know, I know…). I am more into “pick and mix” rather than in Salone mood!

Look at the beautiful colors of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt cafe’…very much recycled stuff, I love it! (even it does not fit with The Flat)

sleeping in

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Last weekend, first night in the flat! The flat needs still a bit of work on the storage units, so there are still tools and paint around the living room. But bathroom, kitchen and bedroom were up and running. And anyway, no hotel or B&B had been booked…so I would have slept in the flat no matter the situation.

Tests were ok and with flying colours…

Opting for a big shower (2m x 1m) rather for a bathtube was definitely a good idea, especially with the rainshower set. The snowy and icy cold weather in Berlin provided the ideal test also for the heating system below the dark anthracite grey tiles of the bathroom. It’s a pleasure to walk barefoot on something very similar to stones warmed by the sun. Our personal zero tolerance for bathroom furniture – except from a built-in small cabinet – also gives to the bathroom a nice mineral feeling, quite warm thank you to the mixed use of mosaic and milky-white tiles on the walls.

The kitchen test was limited to a good cup of tea as I had not bought groceries…in the picture you see a gorgeous constructivist-looking IKEA teapot. I bought the bold zinc letters forming our logo (RC)^2 last summer in NYC at the Anthropology store on Madison. Oh boy, at that time we just had the keys of the flat and the project was just a sketch done on the table of our favorite roman pizzeria while brainstorming with our architect. I can’t believe that sketch is now reality…

The living room hosted still a bit of work in progress, but it’s the only room which retained its original destination, albeit slightly modified by the disguised presence of the kitchen and by a mimetic mezzanine. The Rundbogenfenster – sort of bow window – was refurbished but untouched. A kind neighbor who lived 1945 in this Altbau building said that we are lucky to be on the front side of the building, which was not damaged by bombs and this explains the fact that these windows are only present on one side of the house. As the oak original flooring and ancient bamboo internal ceiling structure.

The bedroom is fully furnished even if curtains are badly needed in order to guarantee some quiet sleep, the 2 windows are indeed big and flood the room with light.

My brother and I bought a small radio-alarm clock in order to have some familiar noises around us. We were surprised by how silent the flat is, good 1900’s isolation, I suppose. We could hear steps on the kerb covered with icy snow during the night.

I hope that on the next trip MeinMann will be able to join me to Berlin, to see the result! He found this flat during our second flat-hunting campaign, back in november 2007, we signed the contract together in december 2007 and since June 2008 – when we finally got the keys – it’s been my task to commute monthly to Berlin.

I am now on first-name terms with a few cafe-keepers and shop assistants, I’ve found out what I can get at Aldi and what deserves a trip to Kaiser, learned the ropes on the comprehensive pillow offer in Germany, become an expert in return Blitztrips to IKEA in under 1 hour…the Kiez is my oyster.

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I am looking forward to enjoying together the Gemuetlichkeit* of our flat, after all this busy-bee activity and all the research and big and small decisions. We deserve at last some farniente in Schoeneberg, going to the market in Winterfeldplatz, buying a Bund of flowers or listening to a nice record at home…

*=something more than cozy…warm, intimate, comfortable, good to stay in…something that cats master very well as you can imagine


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