I am currently doing a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and in November 2014, we went on a study trip to Berlin. It was really great because we got the opportunity to explore Berlin and plan our own agendas so it was nothing like a school trip. We visited lots of galleries and did all the tourist clichés like visiting the Berlin Wall and eating currywurst (surprisingly delicious!) but we also went off the beaten track and found some hidden gems.
In Kreuzberg, we came across an amazing, bookshop called Motto that sold arty type books about graphic design, fashion, illustration, photography etc. There was no inch of space in the whole shop that wasn’t being used and there were books piled high everywhere. We spent way too long in there perusing the shelves and wishing we could afford ALL THE THINGS. And then just in case it wasn’t good enough already, we noticed that a cat was also enjoying herself amongst the books. SO CUTE. It turned out that the cat lived there and I decided that I wanted to take it back home with me because it was so friendly and welcoming and I loved it.
Before I left for Germany, I was given an old fashioned German record that had a photograph of a Berlin street in the 50s as the album artwork. I set myself the challenge of finding the same view and seeing if/how much it has changed.
I did manage to track down the same place; it was the famous road called Kurfürstendamm and it hadn’t changed much apart from the addition of a frustratingly placed signpost and a distinct lack of red flowers!
One thing I spotted all over the place in Berlin and was particularly fascinated by was the way that all of the lampposts and traffic lights were pasted with layers upon layers of posters.
On one of our adventures around the less tourist-y parts of the city, we came upon this heavily graffitied alley that was decorated with colourful bunting and it was strangely pretty. At the end of the alley there was a run down looking building with a door that opened straight onto a staircase that was also covered in graffiti, stickers and posters. It was honestly one of the dodgiest looking places I’ve ever been but for some reason we ascended the steps and at the very top we popped out into a shop called Neurotitan that sold prints, posters, cards, badges, comics, records, CD’s etc. Lots of the artwork was by local artists and there was even a little exhibition in a back room. Pretty damn cool.
Another nice little place was The Barn coffee shop. It sold all sorts of fancy coffees, the most amazing chocolate and nut loaf and served the drinks in little milk bottles so it was by far the most hipster place ever.