Art & DesignCity Guides

5 reasons Berlin remains the capital of cool

By February 13, 2018 No Comments

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Today, think of Berlin, and you think of the Brandenburg Gate, a majestic and confident symbol of unification and a gateway to a new innovative and creative frame of mind.
Think of Berlin again, and the Berlin Wall make come up, along with the rising arts scene, the music festivals, the craft and traditional beers, or the Bauhaus architecture movement. As one of Europe’s youngest, and yet oldest, capitals, Berlin seems to constantly fête its status at the edge of the more established London or Paris.

1. The fastest shoe

Adidas and BVG: EQT Support 93/Berlin trainer via Its Nice That

Adidas and BVG: EQT Support 93/Berlin trainer

One thing Berliners do well is change: from rebuilding the split city throughout the 90s through to the fleeting airport plans, locals have embraced change enthusiastically. It’s become a favourite test ground for many, from avant-garde artists to the most cutting-edge start-ups, and even big names start some of their products here.
Adidas is the newest in the series, with a pair of 500-limited edition pair of trainers in partnership with the BVG, or Berliner Verkehrsbetriee – Berlin’s Transport Company. The much awaited sneakers came in a vivid camouflage pattern, in a clear homage to the seats of the city’s metro system, and Berliners queued for days to snatch one of the very few on offer.
Adidas and BVG: EQT Support 93/Berlin trainer

Entering the Berlin underground is a simple step away

And for good reason: the trainers feature a fabric version of the BVG’s annual pass, sewn on the tongue. All you have to do to get on the trains is show your new shoes to the ticket inspector with a glimpse of well-deserved pride.

2. The friendliest graffitis

 On the other side of the city, the Paint Back Initiative has changed one of Berlin‘s hallmarks: its graffiti scene. The movement aims at turning racist, ugly messages on the walls of the city into messages of love and happiness. The project, founded by street artist Ibo Omari, has already transformed more than 200 such wall pieces into playful cartoons, colourful flowers and a number of other figures. To do this, he can count on a nonprofit group he helped established, Die Kulturellen Erben, or The Cultural Heirscommunity group of teenagers from various backgrounds.

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“It was important to spur young people into action and to encourage them to take responsibility so they don’t just ignorantly walk past such symbols of hatred,” Omari told Reuters. “It offends the whole neighbourhood if someone in our midst paints swastikas in a children’s playground and I take it personally,” the 37-year-old said, adding that he also wanted to show that graffiti had nothing to do with racism.

3. The artiest bunker

The art bunker of Christian and Karen Boros in Berlin

The art bunker of Christian and Karen Boros in Berlin

There are many Berliners making positive steps forward – Power couple collectors Christian and Karen Boros, with the help of Jens Casper, have converted an old dreary  Nazi bunker into an amazing contemporary art gallery and a penthouse for the Boros family.
If you can find this elusive gallery, you will be treated to a 90 minute guided tour of the  Boros private collection as well as works by Katja Novitskova, He Xiangyu and Pamela Rosenkranz to name but a few of the artists and their  500 pieces of artworks displayed here.  To embrace change, recognise creative innovation and enable progress these fantastic works of art are refreshed every five years.
Christian and Karen Boros bunker collection in Berlin

Christian and Karen Boros bunker collection in Berlin

4. The funkiest department store

KaDeWe - A Good Life! - Fenster Tauentzien

KaDeWe ‘s grand facade is one of Berlin’s shopping stalwarts

KaDeWe is an unlikely name for one of Berlin’s institutions: its most famous department store is an abbreviation of Kaufhaus des Westens (the Department Store of the West). And unlike most department stores, KaDeWe has had a tough history, following Berlin’s ups and downs. It started in 1907, offering ‘the desires of all the world’, with brands and products unheard of in Germany at the time, bringing fashion from the catwalks of Paris fashion week and exotic fruits from the South seas to its clientèle.
As a true pioneer, it weathered numerous setbacks, not least its expropriation by the Nazi regime in 1933, the destruction of its original building during the war, and the tragedy of the Berlin wall which cut it from part of his employees and clients.
With such a tough history, it was no mean feat to bring it back to its former glory. Today, KaDeWe boasts 60,000 square meters of retail space for world-class brands and international designers, with receiving 50,000 customers a day – all that space is needed!
If you are only in Berlin for a short stop, a guaranteed must is to emerse yourself in the store, unlike any other department store in major cities, KaDeWe not only offers internationally known brands but also brands and products still yet to be discovered by the rest of the world, or enjoy some of the best food. Step inside, have a wander and maybe you will find something unique to make yourself the trend setter back home.

5. The dream manifesto

Augustin Teboul look book

Augustin Teboul is a Berlin fashion brand founded by visionaries German born – Annelie Augustin and French born -Odély Teboul.  It gained a cult following for their arty lookbooks and revolutionary fashion shows. Augustin Teboul fashion shows transforms a catwalk into a design installation itself.  At an Augustin Teboul show, prepare for unknown creatures that look like they have climbed out of a child dreams, with different textures and shapes walking the fine line between dreams and nightmares.

Founders: Annelie Augustin and Odély Teboul

Unlike other fashion designers, Augustin Teboul wears surrealism and are commended for their versatile use of one colour – inky black. Their fashion has been described to be as vulnerable and strong as the best sonnets such as Baudelaire’s metre, hailed as being a visionary and compared to the engravings of Gustave Doré.

Augustin Teboul – Berlin spring collection 2017

Each collection tells a unique story that develops further with every season, like chapters in a book. witness a new take, a new scene from the storm of dreams they bring to life.

The one thing that is constant is change, and Berlin is constantly changing – revolving and evolving and enriching the lives of those who live in and visit Berlin.  Rest assured that Hotel Indigo – Berlin Ku’damm is perfectly located to enable you to effortlessly explore Berlin artistically, culturally, fashionably and gastronomically – peel away history and discover the new Berlin.

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