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!
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.
Chang 13 regards itself as addicted to fine arts. That's not only noticeable in terms of their fashion but also becomes quite clear when looking at their imaginative store concept: in the centre of the fashionable goings-on in the Cologne store stands a tree. From season to season, Chang hangs new and interesting objects on the tree. Sometimes paper lace doilies adorn the tree, sometimes it's garments and accessories in full bloom. The man behind this concept is native Korean and a graduate from the fashion school in Trier. In Paris he learned the art of layered felting and he worked as a stylist all over Europe. Now he's selling his own fashion in the Belgian district. The characteristics of his style are wide and round slits in the sleeves and modified kimono cuts. Chang's aesthetic is mix of classic elements and avant-garde ideas. He loves extraordinary fabrics and values the exploration of materials and their innovative implementation. For all those among you with a green fashion thumb: off to Chang's fashion botany!
EAT in Cologne:
There's still plenty of loading going on where the trucks once drew up. But now the loading is from the plate into the mouth. What still remains are the high ceilings, the glass and the iron - principally the industrial design. The cuisine, in contrast, is somewhat random, combining French with Italian, Asian with German fare. But does it really matter? It all ends up in the same place after all. What to expect, however, is not so easy to predict, as the menu changes monthly. So if you insist on trying everything you'll have to plan more than one visit. Others will have to make do with what's there, including a view of Cologne going about its daily life.
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.
A packed lunch has never tasted so good. Never before have school friends been so green with envy. The sandwiches by restaurant specialist Christian Bauer offer lightly salted butter spread on sourdough bread, covered with gouda, Milano salami, fig mustard or something equally as good. The crust is crispy, the middle succulent. What more could you want from a sandwich? Perhaps a soup or a cake or some rustic flair? They have it all! As everything is freshly made, short waiting times are to be expected. It may well be quicker to pick up a meal at McDonald's, but if you want to find crispy lettuce in your sandwich, then skip the golden arches and head to Bauers.
STAY in Cologne:
At Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg the husband and wife General Directors stroll around with their noses pointing toward the ceiling. But it has nothing to do with arrogance, but instead the breathtaking view of Cologne. To enjoy it you have to go slightly out of your way with the hotel located twelve kilometres from the city. But it's worth every metre: the three-hundred-year-old baroque palace not only offers historic masonry, but also a spa in a class of its own and a jeweller for a touch of extra class. If that's not to your liking then sit back in the Jacuzzi in your own room, turn down the lights and enjoy the home cinema facility. Schloss Bensberg serves French cuisine in Vendome (of course decorated with Michelin stars) and Mediterranean fare in Enoteca. Wines from an exceptionally long wine card are available in the hotel's two bars. Bensberg is classic, conservative and simply kingly. Double room from EUR 190 per night.
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.
The New Yorker
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:
Come in and chill out! For 15 years now Pollerwiesen has been a stop for international DJ lines in dub, club, house, techno and pretty much everything else that goes with electronic party music. There's no shortage of space: the 20,000m² is ample space for up to 10,000 revellers. If you can't tear yourself away then opt for a season ticket. For an investment of 48 euros you can be involved every Sunday. And as the party gets going in the afternoon, you'll still have plenty of time to enjoy the Cologne nightlife and party around the clock.
Magenta is the new lavender. The designers made their decision and that's what they got for this concept store. The colour is resplendent at the entrance, it fills the shelves of the shoe salon, adds a special touch to the men's fashion and is splashed across the walls behind the eveningwear. On the topic of colour, the famous red shoes by Christian Louboutin can of course be found here alongside Miu Miu, Prada, Gucci and all of the other usual suspects in the luxury selection. If your head begins to spin take a break in the classy Fischermanns' restaurant. There's even something for art lovers: the store regularly holds vernissages in its venerable hall.
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.