Building foundations with Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry
This spring Comme des Garçons brings two of its retail concepts to Mitte’s fashion district, and in doing so cements
a shift in the area (located roughly between Torstrasse and Alexanderplatz) from up and coming to very much upmarket. The Japanese label joins Konk, home of c.neeon, one of Berlin’s most innovative labels; eye-candy store Mykita;
Best Shop, with its rotating programme of independent designers; and Apartment, aiming to create ‘a retail experience that interrelates with the neighbourhood’.
This can only be a good thing, seeing as wherever Comme comes, others always follow.
The street to watch in Mitte these days is Tucholskystrasse, where later this year a Walter Gropius landmark redesigned by David Chipperfield will open as Deutsche Telekom’s new thinktank, the Telekom School of Transformation. Then, in 2014, the spectacular €300m redevelopment of Forum Museumsinsel, a complex of museums and green space,
will finally launch.
Another Mitte highlight, on Oranienburger Strasse, is the Postfuhramt, an elegant 19th-century brick affair being refurbished by architects Gottesman Szmelcman. It’s set to be ‘a vibrant and dynamic cultural centre and a unique mixed-use development that could serve as an urban and cultural generator for the entire Mitte area’, say the architects. It’s in good company.
Writer: Henrietta Thompson
Photography: Orlando Lovell
Those keen to take total advantage of this highly anticipated mixed-use community could do worse than scope out the new Patzschke-designed apartments in the former Charité clinic buildings and the Simon Palais.
49.30 220 02310
Although the original intention was to give the Postfuhramt
a new lease of life as a hotel, the scheme now also encompasses two museums, art galleries, fashion outlets, restaurants, cafes and luxury residential apartments.
Oranienburger Strasse 35
In case anyone wasn’t quite sure of Mitte’s potential, Comme des Garçons has come in with guns blazing and trademark confidence. The label opened both its Black shop and a Comme des Garçons Pocket store, a cosy space dedicated entirely to the label’s expanding range of wallets, perfumes and PLAY line. The concept shop was designed to integrate into the local community as easily as would a corner grocer – quite the modern convenience.
49.30 280 95880
The name is an amalgamation of the childhood nicknames of the label’s founders, Doreen Schulz and Clara Leskovar. Their striking graphic prints and voluminous, architectural silhouettes draw inspiration from Berlin and are produced locally in Germany. Fabrics are all natural and made in the Thüringen, a district with a Teutonic textiles tradition.
49.30 484 96003
For some (indeed many of us at Wallpaper* HQ),
heaven can be found in a neatly ordered row of freshly sharpened pencils. R.S.V.P. is their version of paradise.
The stationer has the art of writing-utensil arrangement
down to an art and complements its pen lines with stacks of erasers and notepads – sourced from all around the globe. Graphic designers visit to inhale the airmail envelopes and purchase pens by Caran d´Ache (Switzerland), OHTO (Japan), Koh-i-Noor (Czech Republic) and German brand Kaweco.
49.30 28 094644
This open-concept gallery-shop provides a stunning platform for house line Substitute for Love as well as brands like Stine Goya and Won Hundred. It’s a convenient one-stop shop for minimalist, Eastern-inspired clothing.
49.30 240 48994
Parisian style comes to the Mitte in the form of Schwarzhogerzeil, which represents classic chic and effortless elegance in a neighbourhood where every other edge is avant garde or utterly cutting. The boutique does its part to push the ever more up-and-coming Mulackstrasse up the luxury ladder, stocking high-end and eminently wearable labels including Isabel Marant, Cacharel, Eley Kishimoto, Tsumori Chisato, Wolfen, Zucca and Zimmerli.
49.30 28 873868
This avant garde fashion label by designers Maria Thomas and Thoas Lindner is a favourite among Berliners for its unusual look and subversive quirkiness. The boutique also stocks ranges from international brands including Lemuria from Italy, Fnubbu from Denmark and Complex Geometries from Canada.
49.30 948 89181
Europe’s first standalone Adidas SLVR store opened last month during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. The 120sqm space launched with SLVR’s spring/summer 2012 collection - a fencing-inspired, environmentally friendly range fusing tailoring and sportswear. The label incorporates materials such as soybean fibre and bamboo and boasts zero-waste construction techniques.
Aside from the eponymous collection, this boutique
offers limited-edition pieces and a bespoke customisation service. The knitwear nous of Leyla Piedayesh, who
founded the boutique in 2006, has seen the label amass
an international following.
49.30 25 762924
A poulet or oeuf situation: does French denim dealer A.P.C., like Comme de Garcons and Christian Louboutin, have the ability to sniff out a neighbourhood on the cusp of gentrification? Or are they responsible for making it explode? Regardless, on this secluded side street A.P.C. peddles its jeans, tees and jumpers with the insouciance and preppy innocence we love it for.
49.30 28 449192
Food fads come and go, but if the rave reviews of Daniel Bixel’s baked potatoes are anything to go by, this spud specialist is going to stay hot for some time. Fluffy on the inside with a perfectly crisped shell, Bixels are baked in an authentic vintage potato oven before being topped with all manner of classic or exotic but always filling fillings such as tuna with summer veg, feta, capers with dill sauce or chicken with honey carrots, red lentils, tomatoes, red onions and pomegranate walnut sauce.
Blush founder Claudia Kleinert set up her by-women-for-women lingerie label in 2001 after studying her craft at various prestigious fashion and tailoring institutions around the world. Her eight-year-old boudoir on Rosa Luxemburg Strasse, which sells sensuality rather than sex, is highly praised by worldly-wise women internationally for its stock of slips, morning gowns, mules and all manner of accessories.
49.30 28 093580
Apartment’s well-hidden entrance belies the fact that it’s one of the more talked-about stores on the block. It’s accessed via a black spiral staircase leading down from an all-white ground-floor gallery. Once downstairs you’ll find jeans, jackets, shoes and accessories from new and established local designers. Next door, Cash, under the same ownership, stocks last season’s collections and second-hand items.
49.30 280 42251
Handcrafting its spectacular spectacles on site
since 2003, Mykita has grown to international heights extraordinarily fast in an industry dominated by heritage brands. The gorgeous frames with their trademark hinges are only part of the story; business nous has much to do with it. Certainly the prescience of the four founders - Moritz Krueger, Philipp Haffmans, Daniel Haffmans and Harald Gottschling - could be credited for the pioneering decision
to set up in Mitte from the get-go.
49.30. 673 08715