photo: Camilla Bundgaard.
Perhaps one of the main thoughts when thinking about Berlin, at least for young people that is, are its popular nightclubs, music venues, events, clubs and techno parties. In fact, Berlin has been gaining a reputation of this wild and sleepless city where the party never ends. However, Berlin is much more than just an endless rave – not to mention that it was the capital of Nazi Germany and it was also infamously divided during the Cold War – and its historical landmarks are a crucial part of what makes Berlin such an interesting city. So, although we usually try not to write about mainstream tourist sights, through the big urban icons listed in this piece you will get to understand a little bit of the history behind them.
illustrations: Nicola Napoli
As far as I can tell, there is no greater threat to a child’s physical health than Berlin’s playgrounds. Don’t be fooled by their cute themes, like Underwater World (Kreuzberg), Dragonland (Friedrichshain), and Indiana Jones (Kurfürstendamm). Strewn about these playgrounds are sharp nuts and bolts, rough rope bridges, and slides of heat-inducting aluminum. But do Berliners seem to mind? Not one bit.
I’m convinced that Berlin’s playgrounds teach impressionable young Berliners to associate good times with the rusted nails, exposed wiring, and holes in the dirt. That’s why the most popular nightclubs among adult Berliners resemble decrepit playgrounds. Berliners have become masters of recreating the Lord of the Flies landscapes of their youths.
What’s interesting, however, is that this reenactment of childhood playtime doesn’t stop at shoddy construction. Here are a few other similarities I’ve noticed between playground and club fun.
Are you one of those people who have a contract for a gym and hardly ever go there? Especially at the beginning of the year, people have the intention to work on their body, preparing for summer. But let’s be honest: when the summer is finally there, who wants to still go to the stuffy, stinky gym? We think there are better options to do a body workout than going into a studio.
There are many options to train your body, fitness trends like Yoga, Pilates, Crossfit… But did you ever try Natural Movement? Sounds like something you can only do in the wilderness, but hold on, Berlin also has its spots for this! Natural Movement offers you to explore your body’s full range of motion and agility. By practicing, you will start to gain the skills, strength and condition essential to adapt and perform in any environment. And please, don’t worry to look like a little monkey, we love monkeys!
photos: Tania Strauss
My story is not different from anyone who has moved to Berlin and got stung by its venom. The venom is strong enough to infect you and leave you alive with its side effects, happily suffering. My friend describes it as “Berlin biting you in the ass”. This is quite accurate. You see a bite in the ass leaves a mark, a literal mark and a feeling. So does Berlin.
I moved to Berlin exactly 300 days ago. Just writing this is making it even harder to believe. 300 days. That is the longest I have ever been away from home. Well, I am kind of confused now as to where home is, but Berlin seems the most appropriate next to this word. I have found a home in the coldest, greyest, probably cruelest city in Germany. It is also the coolest, most liberal, accepting and very different from the rest of Germany.
photos: Min Kyung Choi
Dearest Berlin, let us dance!
Already wearing your prettiest summer-dress and smiling your brightest smile!
Finally your days are long, your nights short. Melt into each other. Have no beginning and no end.
The melancholic spirit of winter seems long past and is forgiven.
Dark November blues melt simultaneously with my frozen lemon popsicles.
The sky painted in radiant blue. This is why I fell in love with you, Berlin.
Everything is blooming and the city is raging with life. Listening to street musicians while bathing in the sun.
Watching shimmering shadows dancing in the moonlight.
Dreams seem to come true during summer.
Right around Hackescher Markt, the touristy yet hip area in Berlin Mitte, lies Haus Schwarzenberg, an unpretentious space where Art and creativity are allowed to flourish. Festooned with graffiti, paintings and strange iron objects, in Haus Schwarzenberg you are likely to get lost in a bizarre maze of doors that lead way to varied and fascinating attractions: from a museum dedicated Anne Frank’s feelings to an old workshop for the blind, here you can easily spend a whole day without getting bored.
I remember the first time I went to Haus Schwarzenberg – it was in late October, not long after I first moved to Berlin. At the time, I confess I did not know what to expect from the place itself; of course, I had seen pictures and read some information about it, but nothing had prepared my little heart for the impact of surprise – as I set foot at Haus Schwarzenberg I was immediately blown away. As a matter of fact, despite being always packed with curious tourists, it is impossible not to fall in love with this sample of Berlin’s underground universe that promises a complete sensory experience.
Vietnamese people is Berlin’s largest East Asian community, comprising 1.16% of the total population. German or international friends usually immediately associate Vietnamese people with restaurants, nail salons, flower shops or convenience stores since the majority of those people operate in these businesses. However, the younger generations of Vietnamese in Berlin are actually a lively generation blended well into the German culture and the Berlin hippie lifestyle. They are also a very creative and artful cohort and the faces behind lots of successful businesses and entertaining activities in this cosmopolitan city. A look into the most outstanding and interesting projects by the Vietnamese youth in Berlin!
photos: Laura Fiorio
The local architect Itay Friedman presents his top five lesser known but most appreciated buildings in Berlin.
Berlins’ urban and cultural experience is composed of numerous structures and architectural marvels, from museums to concert halls, clubs to historical structures, parks, and monuments to statues and government building. All together elegantly compose what we call and define as the rich Berlin urban cultural experience.
As an architect that has been working in Berlin for almost a decade, I find that so many unique and important buildings that contribute profoundly to our cities cultural and social growth in an unprecedented way go unknown and unrecognized.
In Berlin we can find great examples of the purest form of architecture, which unfortunately are not always in the limelight as mostly nowadays architecture is not measured and examined by its own merit but by the name of the architect him/herself.
As Tag der Architektur 2017 is upon us (a yearly event celebrating architecture), created with the support of local architects, foundations and led by the chamber of architects Berlin, I wanted to share my top five buildings that are mostly unknown and that I essentially love the most in Berlin. In my eyes, they represent uncompromised professionalism by colleagues with unwavering resolute to our field, that I am proud to work alongside in the same city.
photos: Jan Rückert
My dearest Berlin,
you are loud, moody and exhausting. A city driven by hectic energy.
But you are also calm. This is why we come from all around the world.
We – the outsiders of norms. We – who love to go against the flow.
And here with you we can be free. No cages, no bars.
You are a city of freedom. I can’t think of a city that is more free. No rules, no limitations.
photos: Galya Feierman
Wear It Festival, unfolding the world of fashion tech in Palais Kulturbrauerei, offered a profoundly engaging and mind-expanding platform for wear it, discover it, produce it, believe it and network it, and provided a tremendously insightful two-day journey into the nature of IT. Gathering an incredible populace of participants ranging from inventors to fashion designers, from software geeks to academics, from cutting edge international companies to multimedia students, from start-ups, investors, government representatives to colorful wondering fashionistas in bling and synthetic fabrics, among others. The continuous flow of lectures in the auditorium added a few credits to your future masters degree while the foyer provided a trade fair-like exhibition of the latest merchandise and prototypes attracting future producers, collaborators and consumers.
Throughout the building the conversation continued and the visitors were drawn like moths to the numerous LED lights of high tech, brought together by workshops and free coffee and cake breaks and entertained by music and visuals. Kulturbrauerei’s scraped old walls joined in a familiar Berlin recipe with neon lights and synth sounds, but also counterpoised the sleek and refined appearance of future technology that is already happening now.