Brunnen190 spotlights diverse contemporary design in Berlin


In Good Company

Nestled in a charming side street in the heart of Berlin, within the bustling Mitte district, Brunnen190 is one of the city’s standout contemporary design jewels. Launched in winter 2016, the designer-run showroom is dedicated to presenting the latest, self-produced objects—unexpected, one-of-a-kind or limited edition pieces, as opposed to mass-produced items—from some of Berlin’s most interesting, emerging talents.

In contrast to a traditional gallery setting, the space is organized and managed by a rotating cast of around 10 independent designers, all of whom dedicate a day a week to working in the showroom. The format is democratic in nature: all the designers must agree before making any major decisions relating to the space, such as launching special events or inviting “guest” designers to temporarily present their work alongside the core collection. Brunnen190’s installations change throughout the year; at the moment, the showroom walls are covered in saturated hues, creating a cozy atmosphere tinged with a touch of moodiness—a perfect Berlin backdrop for the eclectic, spirited designs on display.

In the space’s current incarnation, Elisa Strozyk’s poetic wooden textiles take center stage in a small bedroom vignette, dramatically lit from above by a tall, red-feather-topped floor lamp by Heike Buchfelder, aka Pluma Cubic—a piece that would be almost Dr. Seussian if it weren’t so downright fabulous. Robert Hoffman’s geometric wall lamps—again, moody in all the right ways—are in perfect dialogue with Martin Holzapfel’s graphical, lacquered wood cabinetry, itself whimsical and refined. Other notable works include Milena Kling’s alchemic Colored by Copper vases, combining mouth-blown glass with copper for romantic, truly curious results; Tom Kühne’s lamps made of silk kimono fabric; Daniel Becker’s organic hanging Emily Lamps, inspired by an image of Thai mountaintops by German photographer Andreas Gursky; and Philipp Käfer’s sleek, ultra-light, ultra-strong No Cardboard stools, created with aluminum technology more commonly used in aircraft and maritime construction than furniture fabrication. Everywhere you look, design objects brim with powerful personalities and stories all their own, yet somehow, in concert, achieve harmony.

The Brunnen190 team sees this diversity as a key component of their project. As Berlin native Elisa Strozyk tells us: “For us, the Brunnen190 showroom is a place to experiment and to experience how our creations interact with each other. The different visual languages, materials, and techniques are combined and increase their impact.”

Martin Holzapfel agrees. “Having this place [provides us the opportunity] to get direct feedback regarding our work. Our visitors love to see the different, unusual designs we present in showroom.”

Heike Buchfelder points to Brunnen190’s unique organization as its greatest virtue. “To create our own showroom of chosen designers is very special compared to other ways of exposing work, as we can act independently and make our own decisions. We have much more visibility and a closer contact to our customers. The space is a meeting point, where we inspire and critique each other.”

And that’s no small feat. In a city where contemporary designers frequently find themselves somewhat dispersed, often living and working in pockets in the city’s more affordable outskirts, Brunnen190 offers a convenient, central rendezvous both for its founders and the broader design community.  It seems, in many ways, like a small microcosm of the city’s larger design scene—upstart and independently driven, but also chock-full of striking and remarkably diverse talent.

 

Brunnen190 is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday from 12:00 til 20:00 and located at Brunnenstr.190, 10119 Berlin.

And if you’re in the Berlin area, be sure to stop by on Wednesday, December 6th, starting at 18:00, for the showroom’s next special event. They'll be debuting new works by the collective alongside designs by its two latest additions, Andree Weissert and Maria Volokhova, as well as a fresh collection of smaller, affordable holiday gifts.

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