One of the most impacting cities I’ve had the privilege of spending time in is, without doubt, Berlin. On a recent holiday in Europe, we spent almost a week there.
There is a tenacity and boldness within it’s population that was arresting and despite it’s sometimes horrific past, it has a confidence that makes you sit up and take notice.
It’s a city that has endured two world wars and the decadence of the interwar period was marked by a hedonistic lifestyle and a fear of death.
In 1961 the Berlin Wall was built between east and west Berlin and its subsequent tearing down came twenty eight years later. It is a city that has known great sadness and loss yet despite this, it has become known as a world leader in the area of the arts.
Berlin style is a quirky aesthetic of the unglamourous, a new form of German understatement with a confidence projected by the city. Artists from all over the world began to flock to Berlin in the 1990’s, finding there affordable studios – dealers and collectors followed soon after.
The architecture of Berlin reflects the city’s turbulent history. Baroque and Neoclassical, houses from the Grunderzeit period, and modern architecture – all these styles influence the face of the city.
Berlin 2
It is true that local history also influences the work of designers in Berlin more than almost any other major world metropolis. Over the years, a very independent design scene has taken shape despite having almost no connection to local industry, which only returned sporadically after the war.
Did I enjoy our time there? Most definitely! But more than that, it’s been a reminder of the strength of the human spirit to rise up and build again!
Credits: AAD Berlin City Guide teNeues