SHOPPING in Berlin:
The name may be somewhat misleading. Eisdieler (ice-cream dealer) hints towards the presence of ice-cream, and lots of it. But the search for creamy respite will have to be taken elsewhere... Whether it's urban sassy or sassy casual doesn't matter. Its gotta be cool and be suited to late trip down to the local nightclub. As the four in-house designers can't be expected to create everything, every now and again other artists are invited to add their two cents. For example Jim Avignon designed a pair of shoes for Eisdieler not so long ago. Of course it's not cheap to fit yourself out with the sassiest labels in the city. Cult comes at a price. A branded t-shirt costs upwards from ? 25.
The scene shoemakers are on the job right here: There's 60 sq metres of just about everything that would like to wrap themselves around the feet of coolest trendsetters of the world. And the latest designer handbags to boot! Need a few names? Latitude Femme, Dico und Abro. WASTE from Barcelona and Veja from France. The last two aforementioned labels don't just design for the eye's pleasure, but also for a good cause: both colelctions are made from Fair Trade raw products and recycled materials. There's also a wide range of labels from Scandinavia, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The motto demands that the shoes and brands should remain unknown, well, at least to the masses.The decor of the concept store is quite minimalistic. Each shoe has it's own lit mini-display window. Shoe fetichists agree that man's best friend should be treated so. And the customers are also treated well: the store assistants lend great advice and test fittings are done on an oversized leather couch. Even if there's stacks of shoe boxes around you the staff still remain friendly, as they know exacly how it is to be in love with not just one, but all of them.
In former times the Tagesspiegel was based at this very place, by now Andreas Murkudis' new concept store has found its way into the big hall on Potsdamer Straße 81E. Andreas Murkudis who owned a concept store in a historic backyard on Münzstraße in Berlin Mitte eight years ago is a passionate collector ever since. Today he presents selected products and collections on 1,000 square metres, including brands like Balenciaga, Maison Martin Margiela, Dries van Noten and fashion designed by his brother Kostas Murkudis. Also available in the new store: his favourite chocolate by Erich Hamann which he has sold for more than 20 years. But the range of offer exceeds fashion and design: you can find perfume, cosmetics and even liquors. The store which is seven metres high was developed by the architects' office AAS Gonzalez/Haase.
STAY in Berlin:
T his hotel is no mere lodging - it is a true synthesis of the arts. And it's no wonder, as the major-domo of the house, Lars Stroschen, is a musician who wanted to collect the money he needed to build a new recording studio. The rooms were seen as being so trendy and became so treasured that Stroschen bought a guest house and concepted a few new rooms. Propeller Island is probably the most creative hotel in the city. It's super-hip and ultra-cool.So pick your favourite room. Perhaps the 'Symbol-Room', which is full of white squares which host miniatures of just about every symbol known to man. The 'Mirror Room' is, you guessed it, completely mirrored and is absolutely nothing for paranoid types as it is basically a walk-through kaleidoscope. The stylish 'Grave' is for those with morbid tastes: you can sleep in a coffin or find a cosy spot in the lurking labyrinth below. A bit twisted is the upside-Down Room, where the furniture is hanging from the ceiling, below your feet, of course! Luckily, it's a four-bed room, as three of them are on the wrong plane... One night in a double can be had from ? 94
The Arte Luise is a design hotel, and a comfortable one at that. The classical building, built in 1825, inspired its two (at the time) young ownrs to model a hotel of the Chelsea, which was always a favourite dig for artists and literati. And there's high expectations here, as the rooms are designed by creative minds of varying origins; such as Cologne, New York and the Berlin College of Arts. Rooms hold their decor for a maximum of three years before being stripped-out and totally redesigned. But be warned, for the purposes of pondering it could be a tad too loud in some of the rooms. So for those who don't work like Bukowski, then ask for one of the calmer rooms - there's a few of them. One night in a double room can be had from ? 79
You don't want to book a hotel room? Then 'No Hotel' is the right one for you. The only thing this place has in common with a conventional hotel is the fact that guests from all around the world pay for a night in a room. Otherwise, it is as if your Berliner friend has left you the keys to her flat because she is out of town.Hopefully not literally! This hotel is found on the 21st floor of an original industrialised apartment block built in 1967. The times where people were trying to flee such apartments is long gone. Amongst student circles, it is now the in-thing to move into such buildings. Here you've got the chance to find out whatever the effects of the DDR and its architectural produce are. The rich remnants of the DDR to young trendsetters have discovered the appeal of the 'plattenbau' and maybe you will too! What will help you find it? Your Berliner friend has great taste and has outfitted rooms with design classics of the period. A must see for all DDR nostalgics.
SIGHTS in Berlin:
It's a space for artists and creative heads to experiment - that's how art and communication network Platoon understands its art gallery at the Prenzlauer Berg. Because the discussion on the location of the European headquarters in Berlin have taken a while (Platoon has already been founded there in 2000) they simply took 34 cargo containers that since 2012 provide a space for art projects, workshops and events. There are artists spraying graffiti while a DJ puts on some tunes or artists are working in a container during their residency. You can shop vintage pieces at The Wardrobe every first Saturday in a month. Or you can hang at the Worklounge to exchange ideas and develop new concepts. The modular art construct in the containers is planned for two years and provides 4,500 square metres. Platoon Cultural Development - that's how the organisation calls itself - has found its origin in 2009 in Seoul. Ever since the global network has been expanding.
Off we go to the Grunewald and to its highest point at 115 metres: the Teufelsberg (devil's mountain), an elevation that was made from WWII debris and attracts walkers, mountain bikers and kite-flyers to the fresh open air in summer and cross-country skiers in the winter. The view is great, covering the area surrounding Berlin and it's city skyline. And this is very reason why this place was once a spy post. During the cold war, the Americans and the British used to position their listening devices here. Every now and again curious ones stumble into the dilapidated facility, even though it is prohibited and officiall cordoned-off.It looks like the building permission expired here, as a considerable apartment and hotel complex was once in the works, along with David Lynch's aspirations for a university and meditation centre. Thankfully nothing became of these plans and the Teufelsberg remains wild mountain territory, apart from the local vineyard. Those who are searching for a green space to recharge their batteries should definitely do it here. A small tip: don't forget to bring your swimming gear, as you will pass by the Teufel lake on the way up the mountain. But if you do forget them, don't worry, as the naturist community also has a good presence.
If you already find the optical impressions of the big smoke overexerting, then you will only groan when confronted with yet another gallery. But this gallery is quite different - your eyes can take a break here, as your ears are the only ones that have to be attentive. Since 2007, the Berlin audible art scene has been allowed to vent its fury at Kollwitzplatz, in Prenzlauerberg.The Singuhr is not particularly of architectural interest, but it'ss the sound installations that really transform this building into a place of sensual experience. The curvy, earthy walls just add to the below-ground experience. So take a wander through the entwined rooms and let yourself become engulfed by the magical mix of space and sound.
EAT in Berlin:
If the Royal Grill is a bit too suave for you, then this is the best alternative barbeque location Berlin has to offer. It's not so dazzling, but rather relaxed, a legend in it's own right and it boasts an idyllic garden. In the middle of Kreuzberg, in the middle of Viktoriapark and right in the middle of the field there is space for over 100 guests spread over two floors.One quick view of the massive grill and there's no doubt that there is enough meat to go around for everyone. On a clear summer evening, it's advisable to grab a spot at around 4pm. That way you will have some space to yourself, at least for an hour or so.The clientele here show two different faces; laid-back and dynamic. From the Kreuzberg original, business men to students, anyone could be your neighbour at a table. So order a 'Berliner Weisse' beer, along with some sausage, meat and potatoes. As you will see, there's everything here for a great evening in Berlin.
It wasn't all that long ago when the word 'cupcake' was a totally foreign word in this city. That however changed promptly when Carrie bit into her first cupcake at SATC. Whatever Carrie does is stylish, and many others want to follow suit, especially in Europe!That's how the small and tender cake made its worldwide debut. And it was very well accepted, thanks to the healthy demand. This is easily seen at the Cupcake bakery in Berlin, where the cupcake craze is in full swing. The marvellously colourful bonnets that the little cakes carry come in a glorious array of colours are made either with flavoured butter or cream cheese - according to your desired calorie intake.
When was that again? Nobody knows for sure. But at one point in Berlin, there came the day when Austrian cuisine became the in-thing. Austrians with friends in Germany would post off cheese-sausages and Manner waffle biscuits to their poor friends, relieiving the pain until the next Wiener Schnitzel.So save your trip to the post office and send those wistful ones to the Alpenstück. Everything here is freshly prepared using only the freshest ingredients. Bonus. Another bonus is the menu, which is full of delicacies from southern Germany and Austria, such as; Spätzle, Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel. The true heart of the mountains. What more could you want?A shot of Obstler liquor perhaps? Then take a pick from 40 of the best around!As another bonus, the restaurant is beautifully furnished. Personal touches such as the shindle covered walls really add to the traditional touch. However, you can leave your lederhosen at home.