Laura Whitehouse Graphic Design


A Design Hunt of Berlin


'Hunt' might not be the right word, because there's pretty much no hunting of design to be done in Berlin. Design isn't shy in this city, it's like a stray dog that follows you around and is very keen to be your pal. Which is a good job because I think if I'd have tried to seek out lovely design myself I may have got hypothermia. 

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From posters advertising coffee festivals and staircases plastered with stickers through to winding alleyways sprayed with metallic paints, design is pretty much unavoidable in Berlin. I spent approximately 90% of my time in the city loudly proclaiming 'this is so cool', and the other 10%  stuffing my face with food and wondering if it was possible to die from over-instagramming. 

I'm definitely not an authority on Berlin (one five day trip probably disqualifies me pretty early on in this competition), but I picked up so many gorgeous pieces of paper that it seemed a waste not to document them in some way. The following is a list of the places that I enjoyed the most, and the colours and leaflets it seemed a shame to waste in a box under my bed.


The Markets

Fleurpark Market is open every Sunday, and is home to vintage jackets, tote bags, antique furniture, currywurst, and mulled wine. There are several little independent design stalls as well which I enjoyed perusing, and if you're looking for a unique patch for your denim jacket (which is apparently very in right now) it's the place to go. We were also promised karaoke at 3pm, but this didn't seem to materialise - it's very likely I was too distracted by the mulled wine. The indoor market Maranthalle IX is ideal for a pint and any food with melted cheese. All of their events were advertised with gorgeous leaflets, which I stashed in my pockets in handfuls, and giant posters affixed high on walls. If you wanted to see a polaroid of me drinking a pint, it's your lucky day. 


The U-Bahn

Seriously though, have you seen the colour of this thing? The blocky red and blue of the Underground in London is pretty nostalgic, and the Metro in Paris has an excellent shade of green going for it. But this yellow? This yellow is what dreams are made of. It felt like stepping into a Wes Anderson film, if a Wes Anderson film was inclined to stick an old lady singing My Heart Will Go On from her surprisingly efficient portable microphone into the opening credits, a spectacle that followed us around the network on our entire first day. This article is a pretty succinct description of all the loveliness involved in this 173-station-strong German underground network, and contains some extra excellent photos too. 

The Posters

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any haphazard Comic-Sans-Cut-And-Paste jobs anywhere in Berlin. Everyone who had anything to say said it in the most stylish way. I especially loved this advert for a breakfast market, above, because in case it isn't apparent already, I really love the colour yellow. And where in England do you reckon you'd see a bus stop advert as nicely designed as the one on the right? Nowhere, that's where. Not even in Brixton, and that's saying something.  

Bikini Berlin made brand shops seem like pop-ups, and the food court was a haven of primary colours and succulents. Shops ranged from unique print and homewear shops to independent clothes stores, with the upper level focussing on lifestyle. If I could have taken a chair back home with me as cabin storage trust me I would have done. Photobooths are seemingly on every corner in the city, and Bikini Berlin was no exception.

The Interiors

Our Airbnb was full of wooden surfaces, long beams, tall ceilings, and lavish plants.  A particular interior highlight was the House of Small Wonder, which we visited for brunch on our final day. The entrance, middle above, was spectacular, and the eggs we ordered came with enough hollandaise to  have a small bath in - the millenial dream.  These super suave interiors could be found in pretty much every coffee shop, of which I enjoyed The Barn and Distrikt the most.

The Exhibits

Seeking sanctuary away from the cold, we ventured towards a couple of galleries. We were guilty of visiting the most popular, as it turns out it's hard to cram every planned activity in when you spend so much time eating food. We caught some photography at the eternally-cool C/o gallery, where the tickets were just as photogenic as the rest of the exhibition. We also made sure to wander past the East Side Gallery, and caught the grafitti-strewn staircase at Hachesche Hofe, which lead to a smaller design shop and a graphic novel exhibition. If reduced design books are your thing, this shop was full of them - I'd have gladly crammed them into cabin storage along with the aforementioned chairs. 

Laura Whitehouse