Posts Tagged 'DDR design'

DDR endangered bird species

In these snowy days birds walk along the white pointy roof of the opposite building, near Rathaus Schoeneberg park. A string of live origami walking with purpose. For this reason, when I found yesterday these DDR egg cups at one of my favorite 2nd hand stores, it seemed more appropriate to align them on the window sill instead of closing them in the cupboard.

Eierbecher, Konsumgüterproduktion VEB Leuna-Werke „Walter Ulbricht“

…and here are the flats!

color kitchen

It took some time, to refurbish them, to stitch up proper mini-websites, but eventually here they are. Click on the links on the right…

The 1920s flat has a surface of only 54 square meters – plus a mezzanine! – and is located in a beautiful Altbau. The 1960s flat is cuddly, only 30 square meters but its location is magic!

Both are located in the Bayerisches Viertel in Schöneberg…our ideal neighborhood!



In an earlier post I was referring to those difficult years, the 60s. The media give us today a golden vision (very much an American one) but those years were not so sorgenlos…neither in Italy and nor in Berlin.

Our WestBerlin 60s flat had to contain some reference to the Divided City that Berlin began to be in those years. So, DDR design. And possibly the best one.

I found this lamp. The shape is classic, a standing metal part with a white cylinder-shaped textured lampshade. But what a texture! The material used for the cylinder must some sort of Ost-polymer, and as soon as I saw it, it remembered to me the external wall of the KINO INTERNATIONAL on Karl-Marx-Allee. The Eastern Bloc idea of what the sorgenlos 60s had to be…

If I will be lucky, also the next lamp will be, for the materials used, an architectural quote of an OstBerlin landmark. Fingers crossed…


This wall was reproduced on a Berlin compilation of 2003 I quite like, F.U.N., featuring the wunderbar Tiefschwarz & Eric D’Clark “Blow”

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!


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…

gazing through green glass


For some reason I am attracted to green glass. Not broken Heineken bottles, which sometimes on friday nights you can find right on your bike track in Berlin. I find watching light filtering through green glass mesmerizing.

Countless green tumblers are in our roman cupboards. And plates, of a nice emerald green. To me, drinking fresh tap water (great in Rome) in a green glass makes it even more refreshing.

And then I love books. And bookshelves. And Berlin’s green forests and lakes.

The consequence is pretty obvious. I fell for green glass also in Berlin.

My first finding was this pretty kitsch fruit-bowl, now detournée en vide-poches, bought with the objective to force myself to put keys, USB-key, purse, phone, japanese note pad and S-bahn tickets all in the same place. In a new flat it is just so easy to disseminate key objects (keys!) around and forget them since there is not yet a gravitational law of essentials. Two euros, at my favorite russian flea market. DDR design for the masses. The (other) lives of objects.

Once again, I admit it’s quite fleuri but you are now familiar with my personal theory on “occasional splashes of color – giving the mood of the season – costing next to nothing – and which have a practical use”. Fruit bowl, key bowl, you name it.

The second finding…you will find out about in August! It has something to do with a previous post on Salone del Mobile bookshelves, love for crafted items (like those DDR benches),  green glass  of course…and with a little help from our Viktoria-Luise-Platz friends!

stairway to heaven


You may have navigated among my links here on the right hand side, so you know that two of them are dedicated to staircases. One for humans , called Stairporn, and the other for feline friends: Catladder.

I love both blogs and I would like to thank Stairporn for publishing, in his stunningly beautiful new website, also one of my pre-digital era pictures, which means a lot to me…a staircase in Tangier.

I am not a good photographer but the thought of this staircase kept me awake all night back in 1998 and the emotion of it is still vivid. My friend Lys and I had just arrived in Tangier after having hitch-hiked the Rif all the way down from Chefchaouen to the Mediterranean and the atmosphere of this old hotel where we moored was amazing. I could not sleep all night at the thought of this stunning vertigo view. At 5 am, as soon as light started to filter through, I left the room we shared and ventured out in the deserted hotel to take this picture.

As I was returning to the room, I spotted a very elderly waiter, a Philippe Noiret lookalike, retrieving his bow tie from his pocket while keeping the tray on balance…and adjusting it carefully before knocking at our door. He served our breakfast with infinite grace in the once grand, now shabby but dignified hotel room…

pink tea in Berlin


June in Berlin and spring is in full bloom…orange blossoms, peonies, colors fill the streets, the balconies and even the store window displays. Stunning color combinations at my favourite flower store in Bayerischer Platz – crimson red peonies and yellow daisies! daring! – but beautiful peonies are a temptation also in the not alluring light at Nolle’s U-bahn station…you simply can’t resist them!


Another thing I cannot avoid is my local flea market, so this time the temptation to dive in the green-pink mood was too strong, and the DDR 1960’s cups were simply too cute to be left there on the stalls!


I know, I know. This isn’t either very prussian or bauhaus. But hey, it’s spring…I would NEVER have a flowerly Laura Ashley-esque wallpaper, but I’m all for ephemeral  splashes of color, especially in the bedroom! Some flowers, a cushion. Just to remember what season we’re in.

So this time I wanted to take inspiration from Li Edelkoort’s matches of flowers & objects, and, even if a little predictable, I did like playing around with tea and peonies…and a little pink, the color of balconies this spring in Schöneberg.

Now we can go back to rigorous and linear bauhaus things…in the living room.

Berlin second-hand vs Salone del Mobile


Yesterday I browsed through D di Repubblica, a beautiful saturday magazine. If you check the picture at page 192 of the current issue, N* 643, there is a very nice banquette or little bench, metal long legs and purple velvet upholstering. The bench and the dormeuse are part of the Lobularia collection by Poltronesofa’, you see them in pink on this Repubblica photo. It’s nice, isn’t it? Well…you’ll see the real thing now!

Here’s my most recent Berlin second-hand treasure.

In January my friend Dorita – another second-hand stores junkie like me – and I went to my favorite second-hand shop in Berlin to collect a beautiful 1950s cat brooch, obviously a nice feline present from MeinMann. And I fell in love with this banquette…all alone, sitting pretty in a corner of the shop…


It was produced in 1960, it has its DDR stamps on its wood seat chassis. The legs are made of black iron. I find it has incredible grace. Quite surprising for GDR design. Well, in fact I discovered that there were two banquettes and I had to have them both, I couldn’t possibly leave one behind. Dorita supported me in the decision making process and 15 seconds later the deal was done.

The following month, when our Flat was less dusty and the carpenters had almost finished their work, me and my brother went back to the merciful and fanciful furniture orphanage to collect our long-legged GDR beauties.

Of course the gray velvet upholstering is brand new and you know, it’s magic. It’s cangiante, nice italian word which describes how velvet plays with light. The size is perfect. You can have them at the end of your bed. Or like a mini-sofa on a corridor. Or next to the bow-window. Good design, good-good.

I wonder if the spanish – pardon, catalano – Poltronesofa’ designers did mention the credits to the DDR State-designers…

My modernariat pieces costed Eur 60 each, brand new upholstering included of course! The Lobularia banquette retails at 390 Eur.

Thrifty Berlin second-hand beats Salone Internazionale del Mobile.

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