I’ve been to Berlin a number of time over the past year and found a number of wonderful stores.They’re not quite so easy to find and slightly off the beaten track; but then that is the way with the most interesting stores in any city, and the hunting is part of the fun. Its often the case that the best independents are the pioneers in an area not normally known for shopping. Never miss the opportunity to go off the well trodden tourist track!
First is Kühn Keramik; hidden behind a grey nondescript 1950’s facade, is a restored 19th Century pharmacy. I can only assume that in the Post war era the easiest way to get this old building back into working order was to concrete over the external cracks; put up boards and a false ceiling to bring into the modern era. Its a happy accident that all the details have been preserved for 50 years and have become the eccentric backdrop for an unconventional ceramic company.
Kühn Keramik are a little bit anarchic and punky, but with a genuine love and respect for the beautiful fragments of Berlin’s past. And thats what I love about them. They’re a product of their environment, they’re very Berlin and they make in Berlin. The old pharmacy also doubles as a work space. Behind a door almost hidden in the wooden panelling,is the studio where Bernhard Kühn and his small team make create the ceramics that get shipped around the world.
When you go to another country and another city; the dullest thing in the world is to walk down a street with H&M, Zara and Gap. I love a good independent retailer. So instead of spending €35 on a top from Zara/H&M/Gap made in the Far East, that I’ll wear for a year or two if it survives the washing; I bought a coffee cup that was made in the city I bought it from and I’ll hopefully use for the next 20 years! This is my choice of poison!