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Well equipped

An apartment doesn't really reveal its coziness and unique character until it has been fully furnished. However, searching for the right sofa, the ideal kitchen or the perfect dining table costs time and causes stress.

Over the last few years Torstrasse has developed itself into a "design strip". Not only does it have small interior boutiques such as the gorgeous accessory shop, Jean & Lily, located at the intersection of Torstrasse and Rosenthaler Strasse - it also boasts some of the biggest names in Italian design. It is to this area that Poliform and Varenna have come, basing their first German store in a striking aluminum-faceted building belonging to Graft Architects. Whereas Poliform manufactures designer furniture, Varenna is the store to go to if you want to assemble a kitchen using materials such as wood, marble, steel and aluminum. The store is managed by interior architects Claudia Ruhsek and Arno Schneider from Ruby Design Living, who also have another store near the "Nord Bahnhof" which they use to showcase their contemporary living designs.

Look diagonally opposite and you will see a former book printer's which now houses the showrooms of B&B Italia, Fritz Hansen, Bulthaup and Agape. They are part of Wilfried Lembert's furniture empire. This busy furniture dealer from Berlin began his career with a store called "minimum" located in the Stilwerk indoor mall, where he now also runs the Bulthaup store and a USM Vitra store. He opened a further store for a younger target market in 2011 at Aufbau Haus on Kreuzberger Moritzplatz. He has been on Torstrasse since 2013.

Aficionados of Scandinavian furniture design need look no further than Torstrasse. The Danish furniture chain Bolia has opened a branch at the corner of Oranienstrasse. The simple furniture of the in-house design team reveals their Scandinavian heritage. Furniture can be made to order, if required. Vintage Scandinavian furniture can be purchased at Stue Berlin (Torstrasse 70). Heike Marie Rädeker's store specializes in lights, vases, art and furniture from Denmark. Kari and Susanna Kenetti loved Finnish design so much that they established their "Kippis" store at Torstrasse 147 ("Kippis" is the Finnish for "cheers"). Classics such as Alvar Aalto and Ilmari Tapiovaara feel every bit at home in the Kenettis' collection as do modern Finnish design, furniture and ceramics.

Rafael Horzon's "Möbel Horzon" store is part of the bedrock of Torstrasse. Since he opened in 1999 he has kept his collection as visible as possible by using a simple customizable shelf system. So if you want to get yourself a piece of genuine Berlin furniture design, his store at Number 106 is just the place for you.

In the west of the city, Stilwerk at Kantstrasse 17 is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in modern design. It is celebrating its 15th birthday this year. Its four floors include designer kitchens by Poggenpohl and Bulthaup as well as brands such as Vitra and Ligne Roset, with their own flagship stores. But Stilwerk is more than just a shopping mall; it is also a meeting point for everyone interested in design. Every year the lifestyle magazine A&W honors its "Designer of the Year" with an exhibition in the foyer. There are parties and panel discussions. If you get the chance, make sure you take in the view from the roof terrace. The terrace is nearly 300 square meters in size and is often open when events are taking place.

Over the years a whole bunch of furnishing specialists have opened in the neighborhood close to Stilwerk. Directly opposite you will find the Dopo Domani showroom. Its three floors carry brands such as B&B Italia, Minotti and Cappellini. The Bisazza showroom at Kantstrasse 150 was designed by Fabio Novembre. Why not check out its top-of-the-range glass mosaics or its own-brand furniture and bathroom collection. Kantstrasse 149 is the address you will need for the very finest Italian bathrooms, sold by Marmo e Terracotta. The store carries natural stone and tiles for bathrooms as well as wonderful tubs and bathroom furniture by Agape.

If you are into exclusive individual pieces, head along to Mommsenstrasse 3 where you will find Hans-Peter Jochum's new gallery rooms. Since the 1980s he has specialized in historical pieces from 20th century Europe and America and in contemporary furniture design. "You can spend as much here on a table as on a mid-range automobile." This quote comes from an article in Zeit-Magazin on "probably one of the city's most renowned design dealers".

It may not be just around the corner but it's certainly worth your while taking a trip out to the villa district of Grunewald in the south-west of the city, as that is where you will find Villa Harteneck. For many years the villa was run by interior design professional Frank Stüve who handed the business over to interior designers Ulrich Stein and Herwig Kramer in the summer of 2014. The exclusive furnishing house is now simply called "The Villa". It has a floristry department as well as tasteful furniture collections by Promemoria, Baxter, Walter Knoll, Paola Lenti and Poltrona Frau. A team of architects, interior architects and spatial planners get to grips with furnishing concepts for their well-to-do clientele. The Villa, with its large garden, is also a magnificent location for exclusive events.