7 Christmas gift ideas from Berlin

Christmas is upon us, posing the perennial question with regard to suitable presents. You can never go wrong with some Berlin design pieces for the apartment, so why not put together a few products by Berlin designers to create that unique feel? There's something for all tastes.

For Purists

Orange crate shelves on lint-covered Flokatis graced many a student pad in the 60s and 70s. It was this type of makeshift furnishing that inspired the Berlin designer duo, Läufer+Keichel, when they designed the "Satsuma" chair for Schneiderschram (see picture, another Berlin-based company). It had to be really light as well as looking good and being comfortable. Those trusty old orange crates showed the duo how they could make economical use of materials and so they went on to make "Satsuma's" frame and legs out of solid wood profiles with a triangular cross-section. At just 3.5 kilograms, the chair was a real lightweight, and the designer world took it to its heart. It was nominated for the Design Award of the Federal Republic Germany and won the Interior Innovation Award in 2014.


Julia Läufer and Marcus Keichel aren't the only Berliners to produce award-winning design. Working in their studio in Kreuzberg, the Murken Hansen design office won the jury's hearts at the 2014 Interior Innovation Awards with their "Olivo" side table for the company Pieperconcept (see picture). As well as being height-adjustable, this ultra-flexible table can also be rotated and tilted, making it equally at home in the office, parlor or bedroom. It is available in unobtrusive black, white and gray as well as in more daring colors, such as green and red.


You might think, in these days of cell phones and computers, that wrist watches are rather passé. However, even modern city-dwellers find it hard to resist the "Metro" watch made by Nomos Glashütte. With its minimalist color accents in red and mint green, Mark Braun has succeeded in giving the simple watch-face a young, urban look - a look that earned him the 2014 German Design Award. If there is a "Metro" hiding beneath the Christmas tree, someone is going to be very happy indeed.


Linea1 furniture makes use of three-dimensional curved sheet steel. Architects Irina Jurasic and Francesco Apuzzo have been working with this material for ten years. Their furniture started out as a secret recommendation within their circle of friends, and then expanded to become a label known throughout the city, now having its own showrooms at Ackerstrasse 165 in the "Mitte" district. If you want your magazines neatly arranged on your wall rather than lying tattered on your coffee table, you need look no further than their "MR" magazine holder. Magazines appear to hover on the wall as the white metal brackets deliberately take a back seat. The perfect gift for tidiness freaks or people you would like to train to become tidy.


The "New Tendency" label from Neukoelln is another that manufactures its own furniture in collaboration with a range of designers. It was collaboration such as this that resulted in Sigurd Larsen (a Dane living in Berlin) designing the "Click" shelf system. It hangs effortlessly on the wall, in splendid isolation, and provides a stage for small items to catch the limelight. The shelf system is held together by just four screws. If you're into the latest copper trend, you'll love "Click".


Werner Aisslinger, one of Berlin's longest serving product designers, has won so many design awards that he can hardly count them all. He was already designing furniture in Germany's capital in the early 90s - long before it became hip and trendy. However, Berliners have more than just beautiful items of furniture to thank him for - his interiors can also be found in the 25hours Hotel near the zoo, for example, including in the Neni restaurant and Monkey Bar. Bringing light into dark spaces, Aisslinger's most recent project was a design for the Spanish company, B.lux, - a luminaire collection called "Aspen". Named after the ski resort in Colorado, the collection's form and colors are suggestive of 1960s interior design in the United States. Fans of the "Mad Men" series won't be disappointed.


Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? If you're not the sort of person to torture yourself constantly with the answer to this question, you're bound to love Uli Budde's "Eclipse" mirror. With this mirror you'll find that you only look in it when you really want to, and that you won't be confronted by your own reflection as you walk past it. Just as the sun hides behind the moon during an eclipse, the mirror hides behind a round aluminum disk, thanks to a hidden swivel mechanism. However, it's never quite a full eclipse, as a little bit of the mirror can always be seen. If you like combining utility and beauty, you'll love having this on your wall.