Posts Tagged 'Modernism'

The Ironed Curtain

CIMG0010

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

Advertisements

worm, chrysalis and butterfly…

cimg0197

This is the butterfly…a bedroom full of light, the bed facing an enormous double window overlooking the chestnut trees, new oak floor and travertino paint for the walls.

cimg0127…the necessary chrysalis…

cimg0023

And this was the ugly worm we bought…poor thing it was ugly but with lots of potential! This is the same room as above, here as a post-war kitchen.

Before the war each floor of this Altbau had just 2 enormous buergerlich flats, with chambres de bonne and the like. Each flat was then divided in 3 flats. Our worm – pardon, our Flat – didn’t have any bedroom, just a big living room with a bow-window, a kitchen and bath both with windows, and a roomy dark corridor for a total of 54sqm.

We torn the wall down (even if we never liked Reagan, we did as he said 😀 ) and transformed the neighbouring bath and kitchen into a nice bedroom with a superb double window.

So now The Flat has a double bedroom and, thanks to our architect, the living room goes back to its pre-war destination. (Er…what about kitchen and bathroom then?!)

Neoclassicism, Historicism, Jugendstil…and maybe Art deco?

The Flat was built in 1914…not yet Bauhaus time, not yet Art Deco…still Jugenstil and not far from Neoclassicism.. There is a Jugendstil flavour in the external stuccos, but if the building’s structure is definitely massive Neoclassicism – Historicism without organic indulgence.

cimg0034-macchia

Bauhaus hadn’t arrived yet: no flat roof, no big glass windows, no bare shapes, on the contrary…our roof is pretty pointy, very bavarian, I suppose? (Bayerisches Viertel oblige!).

Yet you can perceive it was built during a sort of transition phase, in which organic decoration and redundant shapes left space to purer lines. There were more Modern Times in the air. Skirts were getting shorter, too.

Maybe it is easier to compare our beloved Altbau with sibling buildings born in the same years. Thanks to the fantastic Berlin Architecture Guide we discovered many interesting stories. For instance, the Flat falls in the same generation of the KaDeWe building…(and in the same area, as well).cimg0049

It’s Prussian and massive…at the time of building quite an exploit.

cimg0048

Another masterpiece of the days just before WWI is the U-bahn 4, and its magnificient stations! This one is Rathaus Schoeneberg, the prettiest in town and one of the first…at the time of construction its name was Stadtpark Schoeneberg, you can still see the old name in mosaic letters.

cimg0133

Here we are in 100%  Schoeneberg treasure territory…The U-bahn connecting the Schoeneberg village to Berlin was built for ladies to go to KaDeWe shopping in an Augenblick!

This is the only station in Berlin from which you can admire ducks diving and herons fishing while waiting for the tube inside the cozy french-window tunnel. A tunnel with a view…an U-bahn with windows…that’s Industriekultur…pragmatism plus beauty.

cimg0131

Hum…almost Art Deco-ish, isn’t it?

cimg0017

Yes…the form is definitely following the function…this pillar is beautifully crafted, yet it is definitely a pillar, no useless iron with bolts. We’re definitely in the era of Industriekultur, when technology had still a craftmanship soul and craftsmen and ironsmiths had branding power. Do visit the Museum of Technology and you will dive into railway beauty! But let’s not part from the lane of this post…

The U-bahnlinie 4 was built around 1908, it is just 2,9 km long, and MeinMann and I call it “our own private underground”. Viktoria-Louise Platz station (and square) are also beautiful, and one wonders how nice Bayerisches Platz had to be at the time of construction…sadly now a lot must be left to imagination due to bombings during WWII…it was a beauty in 1935.

Well, let’s get to the terminus station, Nollendorfplatz, the station with a fancy hat! In front of the station there is another Neoclassical-almost Art Deco building, constructed more or less in the same pre-pre-war years, the Goya…I really have to get this book by Susanne Twardawa about Nollendorfplatz…it’s a Kiez full of history and central in the Berlin history.

I try to visualize those building sites, in between 1908 and 1914…a new neighbourhood in the making, modern U-bahn systems, and a brand new cafe’ and shopping district to serve the new citizens…

90 years later, Form still follows Function…

In 2009 Bauhaus celebrates 90 years…good good!

An interesting article on Bauhaus appeared a year ago on IHT…”How Bauhaus was shaped into greatness”…check it out…

bild_gropius

mbh_logo

“In Weimar in 1919, Walter Gropius founded the State Bauhaus. It went on to become world famous as the leading modernist art school. This special anniversary is now being marked by an equally special exhibition. Berlin Martin Gropius Bau will be hosting The Bauhaus Model, the first ever joint exhibition by the three Bauhaus institutions: the Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and the Foundation of Weimar Classics”. (source: website)

It’s sooo 1914!

At the bookstore in the Hauptbahnhof we discovered an exceptional Berlin guide: Berlin – The Architecture Guide, by Verlagshaus Braun. It’s a pillar of our bookshelf in Berlin.

Thanks to this book we were able to understand how Berlin went from trading post to capital at the end of 1700, which development logic drove the decision-makers and how the single villages “melted” into Berlin, decade after decade. We were also in the position to understand better to which architectural fashion our Altbau belongs.

The most interesting chapter for me is the Historicism period, from 1876 to 1918, when Berlin became the political, economic and cultural centre of Germany. The most representative architect of the time is Ludwig Hoffmann, who built in Berlin more than Schinkel and whose motto was:
“All those of us who have dedicated our lives to building are unified by the same goal: we wish to give form to the yearning for beauty”. Cool, uh?

The chapter also explains the genesis of the typical berlinese tenement building and helps a lot in understanding the structure of the majority of Berlin’s flats, with their inter-connecting yards.

“Wilmersdorf and Schoeneberg also saw breathtaking growth in new street networks, interspersed with decorative squares (Viktoria-Louise Platz)”.  In the same period also the Reichstag and the Berliner Dom were built. “The drive for the decorative saw a blooming in the city (…) These novelties are often described as a preliminary stage for the Modernist era of the 1920s”.

This book is a must-have for flat-hunters and urban trekkers, as it spans from baroque to plattenbauten, from interbau to Renzo Piano…

Timeline

We could have been more efficient. Still, we needed to rely upon holidays, availability of flights at reasonable prices and sometimes things just take time to fall in place.

At the moment, we are beyond the 50% threshold in our refurbishment process. We’re thinking stuccos, painting and taps. Next week we’ll see. So let’s summarize how long it took us to get here.

Continue reading ‘Timeline’


Enter your email address to keep track of what's going on at AflatinBerlin - check your Inbox (and Junk mailbox too) to activate the subscription!

Join 10 other followers

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 37,824 hits