überlin

The magical mini-gardens of Tempelhofer Feld

by James Glazebrook

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Should you not have a garden, but yearn for one, you can rent a small square of land called a Kleingarten (small garden). Here you can cultivate a garden and sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours by resting in a little hut.

– Liv Hambrett, What I Know About Germans

The Kleingarten is a very German phenomenon, something like the “Pimp My Ride” versions of the allotments we have back in the UK, with sheds that more closely resemble small houses, featuring permanent grilling facilities, paddling pools and all manner of mod cons. And where better to find the most quintessentially Berlin Kleingärten than at Tempelhofer Feld?

Found sandwiched between the grilling area and dog run at the easterly end of the city’s biggest open space are a cluster of mini-gardens, overgrown with wild flowers and decorated in true random “only in Berlin” style. To find out more about the Gemeinschaftsgarten Allmende-Kontor, visit their Facebook community page (natürlich, auf Deutsch). For now, enjoy these pretty pictures!

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Berlin Portrait: Dolly Demoratti of Mother Drucker

by James Glazebrook

We think that the best way to discover Berlin is through the eyes of the people who live here. For our Berlin Portrait series, we’re asking artists, musicians and other interesting Berliners to introduce us their corner of the city. Discover creative Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain with Dolly Demoratti, owner of the Mother Drucker print studio.

Dolly Demoratti Portrait in her Urbanspree Studio

So tell us: how did you end up in Berlin?

I followed a girl out here. I met somebody in London, and they said they were coming here in a few months’ time, so I ended up quitting my job and coming out here. It felt like the right time to do it… as it happens, she’s back in England and I’m out here! But it worked out really well for me, and I’m glad I made that leap.

And how long have you been here?

About three or four years… I purposefully don’t keep count. I feel slightly embarrassed because I still know so little German, so people always ask me, “how long have you been here for?” and I’ve been saying “a year” for about three years now!

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Do you feel settled here?

I definitely feel like it’s my home. I’m very happy here and I think I have more friends than I did in London, and I have a much nicer way of life. I’m working on what I always wanted to work on, which wouldn’t have been possible in London. My best friends are German, so I guess I am quite integrated here.

I don’t speak good German, which does make me feel like a bit of an outsider – but there are so many people passing through Berlin, staying for one or two years, that it’s easy to not speak the language and still feel involved in what’s happening here.

What’s the best thing about living in Berlin?

That I get to do the thing that I always want to, and get to have a studio of my own. When I was about 16, I built a darkroom in my bedroom – I’ve had an obsession with printing in all its forms since a young age. So now to be here, and have a studio – with my own printing press – is just great.

Dolly Demoratti Portrait in her Urbanspree Studio

And what are your favourite places in Berlin?

Urban Spree, where my studio is, is developing all the time. It’s an art space, with an “atelier”, sharing vibe, and now a venue for gigs and parties. They asked me to move in here before Urban Spree had opened, and even knocked down a wall for me! I had the first exhibition in the main hall, which was completely trashed – of all these shiny, perfect bicycles hanging in this fucked-up space…

Dolly Demoratti Portrait in her Urbanspree Studio

Markthalle Neun on Eisenbahnstraße is fantastic. I had my first studio on that street, right when they re-opened the market. I really liked the community vibe of what Markthalle Neun did, going around the block asking everyone what they should do with the space – it was a community decision. People were proposing different ideas like – someone wanted to open a kind of Victorian swimming pool – and in the end, the consensus was to take it back to its original use: a food market. Any kind of restoration of anything, rather than scrapping it or changing or modernising it… I just love it when things are taken back to their original state.

Dolly Demoratti Portrait at Urbanspree

The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is another building that survived the war. They have the most fantastic print studio there, which so many people don’t know about. Downstairs, it’s almost a museum of old machinery to do with printing, lots of letterpresses and cutting machines, and it just smells so old! You can only get there via one lift in the print studio, which no one knows is there.

…and I go to Tempelhof most Sundays, to either exercise or just cruise around on my bike. I love it out there…

Dolly Demoratti Portrait at Urbanspree

Dolly Demoratti Portrait against Fingaz Grafitti

Dolly Demoratti Portrait sitting in front Fingaz Grafitti

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Dolly is organising Druck Berlin 2013, an art festival focused on screen printing, at Stadtbad Wedding. Check out the Druck Berlin website for full details.

Berlin Festival 2013

by James Glazebrook

Berlin Festival Tempelhof Sunset

What better way to close out another summer than with Berlin Festival 2013? Perfectly timed to coincide with (probably) the last warm days of the year, the city’s eponymous open-air marked the end of what turned out to be a busy, brilliant festival season in and around Berlin. With the ever-epic former Tempelhof airport transformed into a concrete playground – complete with four stages and an art village – ravers could enjoy all the fun of the festival without the nasty grass stains and toilet complications that come with titting about in the actual outdoors.

Berlin Festival Savages singer Jehnny Beth

We busy bloggers could only manage a couple of fleeting visits to the site, but still managed to see some über-hyped new acts back-to-back with a clutch of absolute legends. The former included Savages, whose track “Flying to Berlin” has already landed them on überlin, and who I still can’t make up my mind about. I’ve yet to decide whether they are the Second Coming, or simply the second coming of Siouxsie and the Banshees – but their undeniably ferocious live show (and well-turned-out all-female line-up) drew a crush of curious would-be-fans to the Pitchfork hangar on Saturday evening.

Berlin Festival crown watching savages

On the same stage a day earlier, Faith No More frontman Mike Patton and his alt-metal supergroup Tomahawk entertained a far smaller crowd, which made up for its lack of numbers with sheer beardiness. The sound was a little shonky in parts, but it’s hard to complain that all you can hear are vocals and drums when they belong to Patton and Helmet/Battles beat machine John Stanier. Flying the freak flag again on Saturday, My Bloody Valentine displayed the sonic force and stock-still stage presence that we love them for. Churning out an impressive wall of sound, they nevertheless left photographers wondering what they were supposed to be capturing, had photography not been banned by Kevin Shields and co.

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Over on the main stage, björk at least posted a polite notice requesting that the audience refrain from taking pics. It’s difficult to imagine how flash photography could distract anyone wearing a full head mask covered in hundreds of plastic spines, but we had to agree that this was a show to be experienced, rather than recorded. The last concert of the Biophilia world tour featured a surprising number of hits, sequenced in such a way as to make the more enthusiastic certain sections of the crowd lose more and more of their collective shit (Spotify playlist here). Not to take away from björk and her choir of Icelandic cuties, but it was the splicing of “Hyperballad” to “Freak” by long-time collaborator Mark Bell’s LFO that signalled Game Over for the headbangers we seemed to gather around us. The greatest live experience of my life, at least outside of the magical world of metal.

Berlin Festival Bjork Live singing

And so ended another Berlin Festival, the biggest little festival in the city. Stay tuned to überlin on Facebook and Twitter for updates on next year’s event.

Berlin Festival Tempelhof

Berlin Festival Tempelhof

Berlin Festival Tempelhof Sunset

 

Change of View: Berlin

by Guest Blogger

Change of View is a photo documentary article series that captures a personal view on the status quo of our cities. This article compares the view of Berlin by a local photographer and a foreign photographer, who then collaborated on two pictures. Enjoy this visual dialogue between Berlin photographer Marcus Werner and Copenhagen photographer Caroline Kurze. This article originally appeared on Smart Urban Stage.

1. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY IN THIS CITY?

Markus Werner secrets of Berlin

LOCAL
Discovering the secrets of the city

Berlin is a vast city with a ton of obvious things to like about it. What makes us happy though are not the elements that are on the surface but those which lie beneath it. Berlin is host to many secrets, from a cultural to a visual perspective. There are endless possibilities of exploring the many sides of a city. It’s all about seeing the details and interpreting them for ourselves. We appreciate how many different facets Berlin has to offer in that way.

Caroline Kurze faces of Berlin black and white

VISITOR
The faces of Berlin

Any city shows its true face by the way its citizens look and behave. Berlin is a melting pot of styles and characters. There is no way to sum them up, just like there is no way to sum up Berlin properly. What makes me happy is that I can just sit anywhere in Berlin and watch who passes me by, realizing that never will there be two characters even remotely alike.

2. WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN THIS CITY?

Markus Werner Prinzessinnengarten

LOCAL
Making something out of nothing

Berlin has many leftover spaces that have once been abandoned and forgotten. But there is a movement within the people of the city to use these places creatively and form them into something useful. It’s very inspiring to see what a small idea of a few people can achieve here and what motivates the individual to participate in the work. The Prinzessinnengarten at Moritzplatz in Kreuzberg, an urban gardening project, is a perfect example for that.

Caroline Kurze Berlin architecture

VISITOR
Composition of the city

Architecture is the most visually compelling element of a city, but Berlin basically draws you into it by its many contrasts and dichotomies. Behind every corner could lie the perfect shot and a most mesmerizing composition. For a photographer, that in itself is very inspiring; but I do believe that every person can actually profit, inspiration-wise, from a place that is as erratic as Berlin.

3. WHAT WORKS FOR YOU VERY WELL IN THIS CITY?

Markus Werner Admiralsbrücke

LOCAL
Youth Culture

If there’s one thing in Berlin that works, then youth culture it is. Every kid in the streets from Charlottenburg to Kreuzberg has the luck to grow up in a liberal and overall peaceful environment, thus enabling everyone from a young age on to participate in the shaping of the city. The Admiralsbrücke in Kreuzberg is, next to the vivid club scene, just one of those organically grown spots to hang out in the summer. Always packed with young adults, from the sporadic tourist to the local singer/songwriter presenting their talent, this is only possible thanks to the lax laws about drinking in public and the people’s general openess towards youths.

Caroline Kurze Hauptbahnhof uBahn

VISITOR
Public Transport

No doubt: Berlin is a huge place to get around. Besides a very comfortable traffic situation for all the passionate bikers, for a tourist the public transport possibilities are probably the most important. And thus, compared to many other big cities in the world, Berlin exceeds all expectations: buses go all night, hardly any train is late and the condition of the platforms are usually high quality. Logistically, this is probably what makes Berlin an easy place to visit as well.

4. WHAT WOULD YOU DO BETTER?

Markus Werner Blu graffiti Cuvrystrasse Berlin

LOCAL
Challenging Changes

After the relocation of the old YAAM club the place at Cuvrystr. is abandoned since. But in Berlin this doesn´t mean that it’s empty. To the contrary it gets used now as a nice chillout spot alongside the Spree river with a perfect view on the historic Oberbaumbrücke. You can find open air raves there as well as Barbecues or a graffiti wall of fame. It’s a free spot just how Berlinians like it.

Caroline Kurze Berlin Tempelhof landing strip

VISITOR
Weather & Water

The old Tempelhof airport is a raw diamond in the heart of the city. With the size of New York’s Central Park everybody is curious about how the area will develop in the next years. Until then it´s a perfect hangout spot for the summer with a lot of possibilities for outdoor activities and a nice open view.

5. HOW WOULD YOU DO IT BETTER?

Markus Werner Tempelhof beach

LOCAL
More water, and more nice weather

It would be cheeky to ask for a lot more than Berlin has already to offer. And yet there are exactly two things that seperate Berlin from a near state of perfection: more water, and more nice weather. The summers are short and the water is rare. It‘s unlikely that we can improve the situation by praying for a tropical climate or artifically attaching the sea to the borders of the city. But how about more water in parks and more free access to the rivers and lakes?

Caroline Kurze Blu graffiti Cuvrystrasse Berlin

VISITOR
Free state of mind

Berlin is a very rapidly changing city. With the new influx of tourists and the international hype drawing more and more investors to the German capital, citizens are often suprised by economic and political decisions, for instance such about free spaces. We would love for the people to accept and embrace these changes by getting involved, possibly even defending their city from too many economically driven influences to keep it in its lovable and free state of mind but all of that without becoming intolerant. This general interest is what has kept the waste land on Cuvrystraße in Kreuzberg a free place for everyone.

About the photographers:

Marcus WernerMarcus Werner
Local 
– Marcus Werner aka DT64 is a Video- and Photographer with an MA in Media Science and Intercultural Business Communications. Together with Clemens Poloczeck he runs the media agency SUPERIEST focusing on Production, Consulting and Conception of Video-Content. He also contributes to Finding Berlin.

Caroline KurzeCaroline Kurze
Visitor – Caroline Kurze is currently working as writer and photographer in Berlin. She just relocated from Copenhagen where she completed her studies and worked for one year. In Berlin she started as freelance editor and photographer at iGNANT. iGNANT offers the possibility to follow her passion for art, architecture, photography and design as well as developing her photographic approach.

Check out the Change of View looks at Istanbul, Madrid, London, Paris and Rome on Smart Urban Stage.

Bread & Butter Summer 2012

by Guest Blogger

We love Bread & Butter Berlin but we’ve been to every BBB event since we moved here (and one before that!)… we figured it was time to get someone else’s impressions of the world’s awesomest fashion tradeshow. So we sent along David Yates, from the excellent expat blog andBerlin, to check out all the action.  

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 polo

When James and Zoë gave me the opportunity to go to The Rock – Bread & Butter Berlin’s Summer 2012 event at Tempelhof Airport – I was delighted. Not only would I get the chance to experience a major fashion event, I would be inside a Berlin landmark that I’ve been meaning to take a tour of for a while now. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 check-in

Walking into the main building I was immediately in awe of the monumental check in area. And walking into the exhibition space I got my first glimpse of the huge array of goods on display.

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 stands

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 tie dye

I’m no fashionista but I’ve always loved clothes and I’ve got a thing for watches and sunglasses so I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store.

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 watches

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 sunglasses

My lasting impression of the show was the stallholders’ clever use of merchandising to represent their brands. Tote bags were popular with everyone but there were also key rings, fingerboards, water bottles and one of my personal favourites, Pepe’s mobile phone handsets (as well as their “I’m with Pepe” t-shirts). But the real stand out had to be Tom Tailor’s Polo matches, played on the airport’s apron in a sand arena with an inflatable ball.

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 totes

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 Pepe's phone

And I wonder, will rainbow coloured hair be the next big thing?

Bread & Butter Summer 2012 rainbow

Playlist: Best of the Berlin Festival 2012

by James Glazebrook

Is it too early to get excited about the Berlin Festival? Butbutbut… the line-up this year is actually pretty good! Gone are the Britpop hasbeens of 2011, and in their place are the hottest young indie-dance crossover bands, cutting-edge electronica, and a clutch of homegrown talent. The German scene is well-represented this year, by The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble, Digitalism, Raop (Rap + Pop) group Cro, and new blood Frittenbude and Etnik – as well as Berlin’s own Modeselektor, Dumme Jungs, I Heart Sharks and Paul Kalkbrenner.

All of that, plus Little Dragon, Grimes, SBTRKT, Orbital AND MORE will make for some difficult choices, but you will definitely find me front-and-centre when Sigur Rós hit the Tempelhof stage, with tears streaming down my stupid emo face. In order to get you as prematurely excited as I am, I’ve compiled a Spotify Playlist: Best of the Berlin Festival 2012 containing some of the guaranteed highlights. Click to listen or grab the link – and GET YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!

Berlin Festival 2012
7th – 8th September
Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin
berlinfestival.de

Bread & Butter Winter 2012

by Zoë Noble


breadandbutter.com