überlin

What is überlin?

by James Glazebrook

I recently read a great article by Travels of Adam, in which he talked about getting back to the basics of blogging. It made me think about a fundamental and (for me) important question: what is überlin?

In short, überlin is a blog, coworking space and photo studio. The online part started when we arrived in Berlin four years ago, and the bricks and mortar followed last summer. For the most part, it’s just two of us – James and Zoë, a married couple who moved from London in search of a better life.

But that’s deceptively simple. For years now we have wrestled with an identity crisis, because, going into this, we never thought about what we were doing or what we stood for. We just wrote about our experiences, first privately, then for our friends and family, then for a growing audience who seemed to like what we were up to.

As the blog grew, we were called to think more and more about what überlin means. As people interviewed us, as brands pitched us and we approached brands, as we weighed up the pros and cons of putting all our money into a real-life business, as we struggled to justify keeping this thing alive on top of very demanding day jobs… As we did all this, we were forced to do the one thing that we’d avoided from the start: to define ourselves.

So we had editorial meetings. A lot of them. We had circular arguments that ended with a single piece of paper and these words: “IT’S A BLOG”. We struggled to decide: can we compete with other Berlin blogs run by bigger teams or people with more time? Do we even want to? Are we bloggers with a side-business, or a coworking space with a blog? So many questions!

And what have we concluded?

Mostly, that we’re going to stop worrying about all of this. We run the blog, and the space, because we want to – and that’s how it should be. The people who like us, just like us – our personality, our sense of humour, the fact that we say what we’re thinking. That’s why they read the blog, chat with us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up to come work with us. When we overthink what we’re doing we risk losing everything that makes us, us.

We’ve also realised that überlin is bigger than the both of us. The best part of running a coworking space is being surrounded by interesting people, and we think there’s room for other personalities on the blog too. While the core of überlin will still be Zoë and myself, we’re happy to share the “spotlight” with writers, photographers and interview subjects who offer a different point of view on Berlin.

This year, we’ve purposefully avoided thinking up resolutions for ourselves. But if we were to set some loose goals for überlin, they’d be: do more, worry less, be ourselves and ask for help. If you like the idea of helping to shape the direction of one of Berlin’s biggest English language blogs, or one of the city’s smallest coworking spaces, just drop us an email at contact at uberlin dot co. Let’s make it up as we go along, together!

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In Case You Missed It: Snow in Berlin

by Zoë Noble

Olive and Adrian playing in the snow

The Iceman Cometh! Oh wait, that’s just James… So we may not have had a white Christmas in Berlin, but we had the next best thing – a pleasant drift of the white stuff a few days later, and then streets clear of sludge by New Year’s Eve. Just in case there isn’t more snow to come, we made sure to get out in it, with Olive and our awesome visiting friend Adrian in tow. Both of them seemed to have fun!

Olive in the sun

Tree branches covered in snow

Adrian and James walking

James in black and white

Maybachufer frozen canal

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Swan flying over Maybachufer canal

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Olive in the snow

Ask überlin #2: Snap Chat

by James Glazebrook

Ask überlin #2 Snap Chat

Find out the secrets of Zoë’s success! For this week’s Ask überlin we help out a reader who’s looking for photography work here in Berlin. Listen in to learn about the humble beginnings of Zoë Noble Photography, how to set yourself apart from all the iPhone snappers out there, and which Berlin photo blogs and instagram profiles we go to for inspiration.

Oh, and if you’re a figurative artist and/or a fan of Käthe Kollwitz, then we need your help! A reader who’s moving to Berlin in the new year is planning a study of the local art icon, so if you are able to help, or know someone who can, then we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a comment on this blog post, or our SoundCloud, or send an email to the address listed below. Thanks a lot, art nerds!

Got a question for us? Stick it in an email to ask@uberlin.co and we’ll answer you on an upcoming episode of Ask überlin!

Fantastic photos from Berlin’s biggest Christmas market

by Zoë Noble

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Tis the season! While all the other bloggers are seeking out the quaintest, most traditionally festive Weihnachtsmarkts in Berlin, we thought we’d go to arguably the worst and take the best photos of it! Wintertraum, which stretches from Alexanderplatz to Jannowitzbrücke, bills itself as Berlin’s biggest Christmas market, but really it’s a funfair – complete with candy floss vendors, vomit-inducing rides to test the stomachs of adventurous candy floss eaters, and what seems like a billion flashing lights. So what better place to test out the steampunk-y Petzval lens I had on load from Lomography?

The Petzval comes in stunning gold, and apparently “is a stunning reinvention of the legendary Petzval Lens, which was first conceived of in Vienna, Austria, in 1840.” It works with both analogue and digital cameras, and allows you to take photos with a narrow depth of field, producing a trippy bokeh effect in the background. I really enjoyed using it to capture the insanity of the Wintertraum Christmas market, including the creepy clowns, retro rides like “BREAK DANCE”, the possibly-BER-inspired “Chaos Airport” … and James’ beard! A photo opportunity if ever there was one. ;)

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Der Adlershofer Fundus: Prop House

by Zoë Noble

There are some places in Berlin that you can’t quite believe really exist. The Museum of Things is certainly one of them, Spreepark another, and now… Der Adlershofer Fundus. This prop house is completely unassuming from the outside, the exterior giving away nothing of the size and scale of what lies within. Walk down a few flights of stairs and the first thing you’re greeted with is the cutest little dog called Fundus… awwww. Once Fundus gives you the OK, you head into a warren of corridors. Filled to the brim with objects, clothes, set pieces and weird oddities from almost every decade, the sheer scale of the collection is jaw-dropping.

We wandered for hours, soaking it all up – around every corner a new era or object or mannequin to be terrified of. It just kept going, so I kept snapping. If you’re in the film industry or you need to build sets, then this place needs to be on your radar. I will most certainly be coming here when I need props for my next photo shoot, that’s for sure!

Der Adlershofer Fundus Telephones Der Adlershofer Fundus Terrier Dog Der Adlershofer Fundus Soldier Der Adlershofer Fundus Bottles Der Adlershofer Fundus Stuffed Grizzly Bear Der Adlershofer Fundus Clocks on Wall Der Adlershofer Fundus Retro Cameras Der Adlershofer Fundus Typewriters Der Adlershofer Fundus Milk Pales Der Adlershofer Fundus Wall Hangings Der Adlershofer Fundus Knomes Der Adlershofer Fundus Doll Der Adlershofer Fundus Lights Der Adlershofer Fundus Retro Televisions Zoë in Mirror Der Adlershofer Fundus Bags Der Adlershofer Fundus Stuffed Crocodile Der Adlershofer Fundus Medical Area Der Adlershofer Fundus Doctor Mannequin Der Adlershofer Fundus Prams Der Adlershofer Fundus Books Der Adlershofer Fundus Antlers Der Adlershofer Fundus Chairs Der Adlershofer Fundus Pottery Der Adlershofer Fundus Vintage Clothes Der Adlershofer Fundus Wigs Der Adlershofer Fundus Vintage Clothing Der Adlershofer Fundus Disco Ball Der Adlershofer Fundus Vintage Clothing Der Adlershofer Fundus Batman

 

Five months of coworking: An überlin update

by James Glazebrook

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It’s hard to believe that our coworking space has already been open for five months! It seems like just yesterday that we announced our new venture and started collecting furniture, equipment and, most importantly, awesome people with which to fill our space. We’ve kept things pretty quiet since our super-successful opening party, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. Zoë, myself, and the wonderful community we’ve gathered around ourselves, have been plugging away, producing, promoting and photographing awesome stuff from within our converted biscuit factory.

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Here are just a few of the great things to come out of the überlin coworking space and studio in its first five months:

  • Berlin Besetzt, an interactive map showing the development of Berlin’s squatting scene, a work in progress by developer Eike
  • Cumulus Diaries, a beautiful blog by Aussie expat Rachael, all about design, style, people and adventure
  • Our resident startup, Descape, which offers brief getaways into exciting professions. You can even sign up to spend a day with Zoë and find out what it’s really like to be a photographer!
  • Speaking of which, Zoë’s been using our studio to shoot for clients like EtsysisterMAG, Alpha Cruxis and Ableton, as well as her own fashion editorial shoots (check them out here)
  • Freelance recipe developer Sophie has relaunched Das Brunch, a pop-up breakfast experience (nom)
  • And Arielle, Desi and the INgrooves team have distributed a bunch of awesome records from Berlin labels Hotflush and Seppuku, and our personal favourite – Octave Minds, a collaboration between Boys Noize and Chilly Gonzales. Here’s a selection for your listening pleasure:

Want to join us? We’re adding a few more desks into our intimate little coworking space. If you’d like to be in the best place to do your best work – or to rent out our photographic studio – just drop us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!

überlin Official Opening Party

by James and Zoe

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Wow, that was a blast! Last weekend, hundreds of friends, fans and randoms joined us and raised a glass/bottle of craft beer to the opening of our brand new coworking space and photographic studio. We were overwhelmed with the sheer number of people who came, the all-round positive wibes, the fact that people stuck around long after the booze ran out, and the many opportunities to catch up with – or meet IRL for the first time – the people who’ve supported us all these years.

At the risk of getting all Oscar winner on you (it was an honour just to be nominated), we’d like to say thank you to all the people who helped make the party such a huge success. In no particular order…

Everyone who came, drank, tweeted, ‘stagrammed, tagged our postbox, chatted, laughed and played Cards Against Humanity (you wrong ‘uns).

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Our cotwerkers, for putting shots in us, generally being lovely and reminding us why we decided to do this in the first place <3

Our bartender Julia, for keeping her cool and keeping the drinks flowing, and to Maj, Christian, Mike, Ana and Hannah for helping out when demand got, well, ridiculous.

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The people who provided the drinks: Schoppe Bräu for the Kreuzberg XPA, Brau Sturm for the Prototyp, Our/Berlin vodka, Berliner Sommer and Thomas Henry. Special thanks go to Kiera from the Global Craft Beer Festival, Lucy vs. the Globe and Sina from DESCAPE for the hookups, and Marcus from Alchemist Gin for distilling a delicious and exclusive “übergin” (with freshly foraged mirabelle, juniper, coriander and a touch of black pepper nomnomnom).

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überlin resident INgrooves for their generous sponsorship (and the emergency Jack Daniels!).

Sarah from A Color Bright and Hannah (again!) for the event tips and advice.

Olli for coming through with the last minute branding touches and installing our “ü”s and that “überlin” lightbox that blew everyone’s minds on arrival.

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Kathy Kunz, who introduced some much-needed interior design details to the space. Oh and for putting the final finishing touches on it – flowers for our vase, and a bow for Olive’s collar :)

Chris, for taking these wonderful photos, and letting Zoë take the night off!

Our neighbours from inside and outside the Haus, for turning up and prosting our new venture. It’s nice to know that not everyone thinks we’re ruining the Kiez ;)

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Everyone who shared the event beforehand, including a certain someone who let the “free drinks” cat out of the bag early (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE ;) ). And NotMsParker from Kreuzberg’d, for writing up this sweet review.

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Extra special thanks to my wonderful wife and partner Zoë, for hustling to put together such an awesome event, looking amazing in a jumpsuit and for keeping her head when I was losing mine!

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Photographed by Cristopher Santos.