In this week’s guide, we enlist design guru Rafiq Mohamad to highlight some of Berlin’s most stylish hidden gems. Rafiq, who’s a graphic and branding designer by day, is responsible for the cover art of songstress Joanna Dong’s singles, as well as the branding behind popular dining spots such as Paddy Hills and Salted & Hung.
Here, he lists the must-visit spots for fashion, design and food lovers in the German capital:
“Located on Berlin’s Museum Island, it houses Egyptian artefacts and the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti. The museum was reconstructed & restored by famed British architect Sir David Alan Chipperfield. It took him and Julian Harrap 12 years for the project to achieve completion. Some of the scars of the war on the buildings walls were preserved, as an essential part of its history. As Chipperfield explained, the architects used these materials so that “the new would reflect that which was lost, without imitating it.” That sense of design honesty has always struck a chord with me.”
Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin
“Visiting this modernist crematorium allows me to gather my thoughts and energy. It’s a beautifully designed space by German architects and urban planners Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank.”
Südostallee 55, 12437 Berlin
“Located within the Soho House Berlin, this multi-label lifestyle space offers food, books, records, beauty and fashion. I enjoy coming here because I can get my food sustenance, design, music and fashion fix all in one space. The curation of the space is amazing, mixing high-end labels such as Comme des Garçons, Celine & Loewe with 032C Magazine’s fashion line and rare interior pieces of the late designer Ettore Sottsass.”
Torstraße 1, 10119 Berlin
“An amazing conceptual label founded by Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag that produces fashion, accessories, furniture and objet d’arts. The retail space operates in an apartment that has a curator living in the space who manages the merchandise for visitors. The stint for each curator lasts from 6 months to 1 year. So each time I’m back at the Bless Berlin Home, I’m greeted by a different curator. The experience is as if you’re coming to someone’s home (which technically is true) and still be able to buy every single item from the Bless line. Being friendly and chatting with the curator helps you get to know more insider tips of Berlin. An utterly unique and refreshing retail experience.”
Oderberger Str. 60, 10435 Berlin
“A multi-label fashion store with a great coffee stand at the corner of the space. Stocked with a good mix of high end labels such as Lemaire and J W Anderson and beautiful objet d’arts.”
Oranienstraße 24, 10999 Berlin
A multi-label store that’s housed in a former printing house of the Tagesspiegel newspaper. It’s a wonderful retail experience, from the generous floor space and high ceiling to the store’s merchandise that has been curated based on colours, instead of labels.
Potsdamer Straße 81, 10785 Berlin
“Located in the the Northern tip of Gerichtstraße in Wedding, it’s still an area devoid (for now) of any gentrification staples such as matcha lattes and vegan brunch cafés. This 12-seater restaurant is helmed by Dylan Watson-Brawn alongside his dynamic team of nine, which includes Ethel Hoon, a Singaporean chef who has recently joined the team.
Guests are seated along the counter directly facing the kitchen, observing the team’s preparation of the menu for the night – it usually highlights produce sourced directly from farmers, which the team has taken time to build and foster good relations with.
A meal here requires you to set aside at least 3 to 4 hours, though it does not feel long drawn out. The atmosphere feels like you’re hanging out with super talented and passionate individuals that just want to share and feed you their bounty of the day/season.
The restaurant space itself is also note-worthy – it’s designed by Berlin-based architecture studio AAS Gonzalez Haase, which is responsible for Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga stores.
Gerichtstraße 54, 13347 Berlin
The Barn Cafe
“A specialty coffee roastery which is known for serving seasonal coffees. A great spot to take a break from exploring the wonderfully vibrant Mitte area – the latter itself is a space worth exploring, crammed with art galleries, bookstores and small boutiques.”
Auguststraße 58, 10119 Berlin
Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap
The great thing about Berlin (aside from the immense arts & culture scene) is the food scene. Never short on affordable eats, the city is filled with delicious kebab shops. My favourite in the city is cult favourite Mustafa’s. A handy meal on the go, their kebabs are filled with juicy grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, feta cheese and a liberal brush of their special sauce.
32 Mehringdamm, 10961 Berlin
“A former World War 2 bunker that was used to store dried goods and fruits during the war. It has been converted into a 32,000 sq ft exhibition space showcasing the private collection of contemporary art belonging to (power couple and noted collectors) Christian & Karen Boros. It’s a sprawling art collection that fills up all 4 levels of the building, while the couple lives in a penthouse on the top floor of the bunker.”
Reinhardtstr. 20, 10117 Berlin
“A restored brutalist monolith that was a former Catholic church, it has since been converted into an art gallery by Johann König of König Galerie. A lofty light-filled interior space that is sublime.”
Alexandrinenstraße 118-121, 10969 Berlin
All images courtesy of Rafiq, unless stated otherwise