Posts Tagged 'sense of place'

The KINO INTERNATIONAL lamp!!

international_a02

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…

PS

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

One year later…1 candle on the cake!

158525650

One year ago we started this blog. Two main reasons: to report about our “flat in Berlin” experience. And to keep track of our renovation adventure, which had just started and needed a bit of a public kick – an official timekeeper online!

One year later, we are going to spend soon our first ever real holiday in our flat in Berlin, having dedicated 1/4 of our weekends in the past 12 months to blitz-trips to Berlin in order to follow the renovation works, sort out paperwork, choose tiles, buy furniture and make the flat feel like our home in Berlin.

One year later, and 3/4 of a global financial crisis later, we’re happy about our choice. It is true, other real estate markets plunged so deep that now there are several “cheap” real estate markets in the world. But we were not just looking for a bottom-fishing real estate opportunity, we wanted something very specific: an apartment with good bones in Schöneberg at a reasonable price, not a seaside flat in Spain or a maisonette in England. In the meantime, garage prices in Rome plunged by 3%. Maybe the Italian real estate market will undergo a correction one day, but the reality is, a 1-car garage in Rome still costs more than a flat in one of the nicest areas of Berlin. Period. Continue reading ‘One year later…1 candle on the cake!’

user friendly?

It is always difficult to figure out the exact ergonomics of a living space, first on the paper with the architect project, then when you do some little changes as work unfolds. Again when you have to furnish the place and imagine how you will move around in the house.

This week A flat in Berlin underwent its user friendliness test. Even more demanding: a”friend friendliness” test!

Friends flocking to the city for the Bread and Butter fashion week stayed at our flat. Rome’s monsoon season was responsible for their adventurous arrival in Berlin at 2am at Schönefeld, but eventually the ladies were able to take a well-deserved night’s sleep in quiet Schöneberg, before tackling their busy schedule of meetings at the fair the next day.

Apparently the user friendliness test was passed with flying colors! They found the right things in the right drawers, they liked the big window and the solutions we adopted. Nutella and Wasa in the pantry were a welcome comfort food after their long hours in the aircraft stuck on the tarmac waiting for takeoff… 😀   I know the feeling!!!

stairway to heaven

stairs-in-an-old-tangier-hotel

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…

the haberdashery factor

cimg0486

“The ideal neighborhood” is the most visited page of this blog, since ever. I guess this has to do with the fact that we all long for finding some sort of village-like harmony (but not flatness). Among the points of the ideal place there is the sense of community, call it “no big retail chains around” or “feeling safe in your whereabouts”.

cimg0047

I quite liked Mr Brule’ s article comparing Lisbon, with its ancient haberdashery and grocery-style beauty stores, with Notting Hill no man’s land in the making. Continue reading ‘the haberdashery factor’

The Flat is almost ready!

Well, our goal was to be ready for the Berlinale…we’re almost there!

I was in Berlin at the beginning of the week and we just need to finalize the storage in the corridor, plus buy and fix the washing-drying machine, but all in all the Flat is ready!

I also met a new neighbour who just started her renovation…we had a good chat on bathroom tiles, old windows and optimal resizing of those awkward post-war floor plans!

It’s a pity we will not be able to be in Berlin for the Berlinale though…but just a few days later. So, it will be soon Cleaning Time, taking away that fine invisible dust, placing the brand, new furniture at the right angle, starting to work on the lights, unpacking cutlery, pots and pans, cups and glasses. And the Samovar!! The soul of the flat…

Textiles were purchased in Rome at the Fiera del Bianco in january, very nice and very good value for money…a luggage full of linen and pillow cases in fantastic hues.

We are indeed satisfied. The prussian soul of the flat is now showing all its potential and the high ceilings are fabulous, still we applied the good Bauhaus rules and with its clean lines, the flat now looks liveable and warm, as though it had always been like this. Gemuetlich, precisely.

at last…Monocle talks about Berlin!

cimg0083

Monocle Weekly – February 1st 2009

With these grey and rainy sundays IN ROME it is a pleasure to listen to Monocle’s Weekly radio broadcast, at lunchtime.

This week Mr Brule’ and guests discuss about innovative, small-scale shops …and that’s in Berlin.

And also, about innovation in printed media, guess where…in Berlin, again.

With the crisis beating into cookie-cutter big-scale operations, sustainable models like Berlin win. As per our Ideal Neighborhood list…


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

  • 37,655 hits