SHOPPING in Cologne:
Only what's underneath is even more organic: Claudia Ladius caresses the body with purely organic materials. Organic hemp, linen and cotton are first certified by the IMO (Institute for Marketecology) before fairly treated workers get underway with production. This is carried out in harmony with nature, and results in the Organic De Luxe Kollektion. Needless to say fair trade practices are respected all the way. Clothes for the compost heap? No way. This brand deserves a Nobel Prize! Moreover the collection is chic and suitable for everyday wear. Shopping with a good conscience - something that you can experience every time you get dressed!
If you're looking for that special dress for stepping out onto the red carpet, you can do a lot worse than head to Salon Ludvík. Here tailored art is conceived and created for elegant television stars. Fenja Ludwig's motto is ?Panta rhei' (everything is in flux). Flowing materials, low-cut backs and dove motifs stand at the forefront of the chic label. The couture icon is in touch with her craft, emphasising the female body without restraining it, while bridging the gap with her unmistakeable style between Parisian tradition and modern Cologne.
Blutsgeschwister's trademarks are colourful and flowery. With a range of cardigans, neon belts, zebra costumes and girly accessories Blutsgeschwister defines a trend somewhere between street wear and retro style, without taking its eye off the fun factor. They like to call it individual soul wear and even go as far as to design fun fashion for the smallest of customers - the next generation of trendsetters. The Blutsbaby collection was designed especially for the Bluts matching look. And of course you'll need a worthy home, suitable for life together: the home wear line includes colourful cushions to liven up life behind closed doors.
STAY in Cologne:
The Sunday Times Travel Magazine has chosen the art'otel group as one of the 100 best hotels in the world - the branch in Cologne presents itself as an art temple. Its location at the newly developed Rheinauhafen demonstrates that the hotel addresses the many creative visitors from this region. Part of the permanent collection of the hotel are the astonishing works of the Korean artist SEO, master student of Georg Baselitz. They played a crucial role in the design of the 218 rooms. The interior is kept in bright nuances, simple forms and with only few colour accents in order to put SEO's colourful motives into the foreground. Depending on the hotel category (Art'Room, Art'Room XL, Art'Corner Room and Art'Panorama Room) you'll find more or less works hanging on the wall. During a museum-like tour through the hotel you can also be shown the rest of the artists' works.
Hotel Cristall shows its colours: the lobby is lavishly dominated by colour-of-the-month lavender, while the conference rooms are more reserved in white and the rooms in brown tones. Even the stairway banister was unable to escape the brush, having received a coat of bright red. The colourful mix is accompanied by unique furniture and black marble. Particularly fanciful are the easels in the rooms: if you're not a fan of mirrors, simply turn it around to discover a classic painting on the other side. With this toy alone you could entertain yourself for hours, yet that would indeed be a shame with Cologne on your doorstep! Double room from EUR 100 per night.
Deutz once built the four-stroke engine here. Today only the design is tuned up. Architect Johannes J. Adams is the man to thank for the stylish masterpiece, as it was Adams who retained the brick walls and designed the purist rooms to complement them. The events at the hotel, in contrast, are far from minimalistic: concerts, exhibitions and readings fill the event calendar. An idyllic garden and regular live cooking shows complete the motto of the charming boutique hotel: ?eccentric, emotional, enjoyable, especial'. We can add one more to that list: exceptionally cheap! Double room from EUR 90.
SIGHTS in Cologne:
The cathedral: it is easy to locate as it acts as a navigation point for locating everything else. Standing at 157 metres tall it was for many years the city's tallest building. Today only the telecommunications tower reaches higher into the sky. Nevertheless life in Cologne mostly revolves around the monumental construction - that is of course until the jesters take over. Those who pass through the great entrance as non-believers may well find themselves reconsidering once inside. The giant halls leave visitors feeling so small and insignificant that humbleness will take care of itself. But the cathedral also moves with the times. When Gerhard Richter created the south transept window in 2007, he chose instead of the proposed Bible scene to design a colourful mosaic, which resembles the pixels of a computer screen. Although the original reaction was one of anger, the uproar has since settled down leaving Richter's work to enlighten church goers and art critics alike.
To clear up any misconceptions: no, the athletes neither run in tutus nor do they dress all in pink. The Gay Games are held under the rainbow flag, but absolutely anyone may take part in the marathon, hurdles and freestyle swimming, irrespective of their sexual preference. Since 1991 Christopher Street Day has developed into Cologne's mega event, with hundreds of thousands expected year for year. Aside from the sporting events there are proud podium discussions and speeches on equality. DJs are on hand to get the crowd swinging at the CSD street festival, and there's a special honour for the best float in the CSD parade. Colour your life!
He'd love nothing better than to wander around in his silk bath rope all day long and sell art - this is what gallery owner Coskun Gueven has once said. He probably doesn't wear his silk bath rope all day long, but he does sell art in his gallery Arty Farty. The focus: street art. The monthly altering exhibitions feature young artists' positions which are deeply anchored in urban subcultures. During the last two years Arty Farty has developed into a metropolitan and non-academic art scene. The visitors of the gallery are especially interested in contemporary trends outside the usual art business. You find graffiti and illustrations, sculptures and photography and artists like Swanski, Morcky, Raymond Lemstra, Will Barras, Joska, Sozy One, Beekei, Herr Schulze and Wayne Horse have already presented their works here.
EAT in Cologne:
Blind date with lamb. In the restaurant Unsicht-Bar both the food and the guests remain in the dark. Literally! Diners may decide in daylight what they want to order, but by the time it arrives they will be in complete darkness. Here you can't even make out the fork in front of your mouth, meaning guests have to use their remaining senses to a heightened degree which leads to a unique and more intense dining experience. You can choose from lamb, fish, vegetarian and chicken á la carte dishes, all served by a blind waiter, who will shed light on the menu and advise you accordingly. Your surroundings are pitch-black, but the food is a shining light!
What does it for you? Fresh and firm, mature and round, or deep and complex? No, we're not talking about men, but the wine at Le Moissonnier. Yet not only the wine card reads like a who-is-who of the winemakers guild. The food menu tells a similar culinary tale. For example: filet of Breton sole with a brown butter sauce and truffle jus, grilled fennel bulbs with tomato essence, Calamaretti and mange tout with mint. Sound good? To accompany a splendid meal the restaurant even serves up a Jugendstil ambience. Et voilà, c'est formidable!
Dine in a glass palace. Skulpturenpark is not only a must because of its artwork, but also its trendy lounge. The view is amazing. The food is a delight. Hase Catering is behind the delicacies in the stylish setting. With a panorama view of the park events come accompanied by finger food, Asian treats or healthy dishes low in carbohydrates. Even if you're not on the guest list you should still take in the Parklounge. Claus Föttinger decked out the event location in a cool retro look with his photo collages. And while you're there don't forget to check out the Skulpturenpark, which has some art of its own.