Tucked away on the café-lined streets of north-east Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood is kaleidoscopic Wunderkammer of beauty goods. MDC Next Door is a new concept store that is, as its name suggests, next door to its sister store, MDC Cosmetic. 

The original, MDC Cosmetic store opened in 2012 as a space that showcased cosmetics, fragrances, and beauty tools, primarily from under-the-radar independent brands or forgotten historic labels. 

Colourful interiors of Berlin concept store MDC Next Door designed by Gonzalez Haase

Over time, the store has cemented its role as an incubator of new talent and a bastion of the best that beauty has to offer. It stocks the entire range of Frédéric Malle fragrances, Buly 1803, and Susanne Kaufmann skincare, alongside hair tonics from the historic Bavarian apothecary Apomanum, and the strange but beguiling soaps and creams by German designer Frank Leder (fragrances include ‘jam preserves’ and ‘porcini mushroom’). 

MDC is also responsible for opening luxury apothecary Santa Maria Novella’s first German outpost, and is one of the few places that offers spa treatments – from a further Berlin space, MDC Cure – in accordance with Santa Maria Novella’s historic medicinal traditions.

Colourful interiors of Berlin concept store MDC Next Door designed by Gonzalez Haase and inspired by Gordon Matta-Clark

Skincare fanatics will be happy to know that MDC Cure also offers Biologique Recherche treatments that adhere to the French brand’s ‘Skin Instant’ philosophy – the belief that every skincare regime should specifically address the environmental and physical stresses of the moment.  

The new MDC Next Door is a continuation of it forebear’s philosophy, but in more bombastic surroundings. The interiors of both locations were designed by Gonzalez Haase AAS, a Berlin-based studio established in 1999 that works in architecture, scenography and lighting, but Next Door is distinctly more vibrant and playful. 

Colourful interiors of Berlin concept store MDC Next Door designed by Gonzalez Haase and inspired by Gordon Matta-Clark

Gonzalez Haase AAS drew its inspiration for the new MDC project from Gordon Matta-Clark’s ‘building cuts’, for which the New York artist carved giant holes into downtown warehouses and sliced residential homes in half. Matta-Clark’s influence is clear from the black cut-out register and the round, overlapping mirrors in shades of yellow and pink that are dotted about the store. 

Colourful interiors of Berlin concept store MDC Next Door designed by Gonzalez Haase and inspired by Gordon Matta-Clark

Speaking about their work for MDC over the years, the architects say that, ‘each project teaches us things that we use in the next project or the one after that. You take something from the past and create something new for the future. The new is created by putting certain elements together in a different way.’ 

It’s true that MDC has created something new by putting together different beauty elements in unexpected ways. Products and treatments from big-name brands, little known innovators, and historic labels combine for a unique take on beauty retail. §