Text By : Himali Kothari
For decades the primary association that Berlin evoked was the ‘wall’ that ran through it, dividing the West and the East. In 1990 the wall came down and the reconstruction of Berlin as the capital of a unified Germany began. Over the last twenty years the city has become one of the largest cities in Europe.
Berlin’s continental climate means that the temperatures drop to subzero levels during winters and the city is cloaked under a permanent snow cover. Summers are a good time to visit as temperatures hover in the pleasant 20’s.
Berlin’s emphatic past has awarded it an eclectic mix of neighbourhoods and buildings representing the different eras they were built in. Cheerful cafes and lively bars have softened the image created by the city’s tumultuous past. Modern Berlin has an array of options for the visitor.
When Silke Lorenzen and Sarah Vollmer chanced upon an old vacuum-cleaner factory, they knew instantly that it was going to be the site for their new hotel. They were keen to maintain most of the original architecture of the structure. They were also keen to have some kind of a common room where guests would meet and interact with each other. It was these ideas that eventually evolved into the concept that exists today in the form of the Hutten Palast.
As you enter the hotel, the first sights that greet you in the large hall are three caravans and three wooden huts, arranged haphazardly. The caravans allow the founders to have the flexibility of wheeling the ‘room’ in other parts of the hall whenever they want a change in the layout.
Additionally, they also lend a feel of camping without the thought of creepy-crawlies and other discomforts of the outdoors. And when one does feel like venturing into the actual outdoors, a large patio garden scattered with comfortable loungers and chairs provides a welcome retreat. The hotel also houses six rooms in the upper level for those who are looking for privacy.
It was clear from the moment the VOO Concept Store opened its doors that it was looking to make a bold statement. Instead of the shopping district the VOO store found its address in the Kreuzberg district where it stands out in a line-up of restaurants and nightclubs.
The 300 meter interiors steer clear of the usual chrome and glass look and instead opt for a warehouse-like appearance. Raw concrete walls and shelves and white lights hanging from the exposed ceiling showcase brands like Pendleton, Stine Goya, Wood Wood, Henrik Vibskov, Soulland, Cheap Monday amongst others. And if you feel like a breather all you need to do is plonk down at the long table in the middle of the store for a hot cuppa from the CK Café.
ART MEETS FOOD
In a world where monotony sets in faster than it takes the soup to get cold, chef-artist-gallery owner Ulrich Krauss has found the solution to ensure variety in the flavours dished out in his restaurant, Zagreus. Created in the owner’s basement studio, the restaurant was visualized as a cross-section between art and food; a role that it has seriously stuck to for the last five years.
Every two months a renowned artist is invited to design and create an installation of his choice in the space. The menu is then designed to complement the artistic creation. The restaurant has only one communal table where guests can rent a chair and let the flavourful décor and the flavours on the plate pamper their palate.
If you have just about an hour to spend in Berlin, make your way straight to Berlin 360°, the TV Tour. Take the elevator to the bar or restaurant hovering 200 metres above the ground; settle down with a glass of wine or some sauerkraut and get ready for the Berlin panorama.
The rotating restaurant takes about an hour to spin 360° and awards a bird’s eye view of the Berlin sights. This elegant structure towers tall over the city and thousands queue up every day for a view from the gallery in the clouds.