My week in Berlin, Germany…
Recently, with my course at University we took a trip to Berlin for just under a week. I had never been to Germany before so it was all very exciting. Please do not copy or share any of my photography without my consent.
Whilst in Berlin we arranged to go to a few art events, such as Transmediale as well as visiting a couple of design agencies. With this in mind, before Berlin I ensured that I had a business card created and printed so that I could network with potential employers.
We stayed at the A&O Hostel which was surprising quite good. Before the trip I researched a little into the hostel and heard negative reviews which lowered my expectations, however I was really pleased with it. The Hostel had good wifi, a decent including breakfast, and good security for the rooms. I was initially worried about personal items such as my wallet and camera, but felt completely secure when I was there. The only improvement would have been friendlier staff.
Once we checked in to the hostel, we explored the neighbourhood and picked up a bite to eat- I had a hamburger. Interestingly- there are a lot of kebab houses in Berlin. For the first couple days I felt like I was in Leeds! After lunch we took a single train to visit our first design studio called Node.
We were very grateful for Node to take the time and talk to us about their work, but I think the majority of people were feeling tired from the journey and lack of sleep. At Node, one of the designers spoke to us about their work. The studio was very small, so not much room for movement with a large group. I was very interested in Node’s work; from the website, it seemed like my kind of design, however whilst there due to the lack of space we never got chance to really look through their work. They had publications laid out on the table and I would have loved to of flicked through them.
After Node, we heading back in the direction of the hostel and discovered a really cool craft shop. It was massive, and had everything you could possibly think of. My friend Joe and I literally spent ages wondering round in the shop, feeling textures and playing with craft. We decided that we would come back another day. I had my eye set on this really cool, textured and recycling notepad. However when we went back on the Sunday, the shop was closed.
As a group, we then took the train to Alexander Platz. Alexander Platz seemed to be the main shopping center. It was usually always very busy and reminded me of Piccadilly. Myself and Joe tried of first Curry Wurst. If you don’t know what one is…you’re welcome.
It was okay. It came from a takeaway kind of place that you would go to drunk after a night out. I noticed that in Berlin, especially Alexander Platz, with food it is either an expensive fancy restaurant, or a basic takeaway- couldn’t really find anything in the middle.
Me, Joe, Sophie, Becca and James then split from the group to find a place that we can have a nice drink. We found this small, old looking men’s pub. It had clocks and lights everywhere- on the walls, ceiling, even the bathroom. Not all of the lights were lit; it was more decorative than anything. We all got a couple of rounds in drinking German beer, and we knew the place was authentic because when paying, staff understood no English- so that was interesting.
We started the day with A&O’s included breakfast. The food was decent. I was hoping for bacon, scrambled eggs etc, but it was far more continental. For those interested, we then we to visit our second design studio called Hort. We spoke with one of the creative directors at Hort; she was very welcoming and enthusiastic about us visiting, she was also British!
I were very interested in Hort’s work, they seemed to have built a great name for themselves, not only in Berlin, but globally- working with clients such as Nike. One thing I especially liked is that, if they can, they would try and work away from the computer; be creative and make things using their hands. Myself and Joe were very impressed and plucked up the courage to ask about interning at Hort, as well as giving our Business cards. Hort are very enthusiastic about interns and told us how we can apply.
After the studio, Joe, James and I wanted to explore the area. We began by walking around until we went into a café for a drink and to use the wifi. I have a Heisse Schokolade (Hot chocolate).
On the way to the train station, we discovered a really like park, which proved to ensure some great photographs. If we had time I would have loved to have gone in and explored it, but we had to get to the train station.
I noticed that there was a lot of Graffiti in Berlin. It didn’t look bad though, it was usually quite good or at least funny. There was also a lot of creative posters spread around the city which were often quite funny.
Taken on the road leading up to the park
Taken on the road outside Hort Studio
Not got a clue what it’s advertising but it sounds great
From Stadmitte train station we headed to Checkpoint Charlie at Kochstrase station (I think).
There we visited a free outdoor exhibition. It was really interesting to read up about what happened there and see what’s left of the Berlin Wall. It was difficult for me to take a good photograph without having the McDonald’s logo in the background. It’s quite sad how the history tainted with commercial tourist attractions like Maccie D’s.
From Checkpoint Charlie, we walked (and got lost) to the Holocaust Memorial. Along the way, we came across the Brandenburg gate. The memorial was very interesting. There were blocks of slate to create a sort of maze in which you could walk through. On some memorials, people had left flowers. It was definitely worth a visit.
After going back to the hostel and freshening up, as a group we headed to a restaurant that the tutors had told us about. Tracy and Annkeke described it as a classy ballroom where can you watch as you eat your meal; where as in actual fact it was more of a disco. However it was a fun night and I had a decent meal, $19 worth.
Before heading home we all went for drinks at a nearby bar. This was a really good time to socialise and talk to new people. I made friends with a couple of lads in the year below. People got drunk; it was snowing- good night.
Today was the day that we attended the Transmediale festival. After paying $20 euro entry, it was soon realised that it was not worth $20. The festival was decent. There were a couple of cool exhibitions that we attended but I had hoped for more in terms of the workshops and conferences.
Transmediale Exhibition- This man photographed himself, every hour of every day for a month (I think). The photos were put into a stop motion video.
Transmediale Exhibition- A woman documented her life for 5 years. This is an infographic for 2006.
I noticed that it wasn’t really designed based- for more abstract art. We tried and attended one conference about a magazine launch but it turned into talking about finance and money and I found it very boring. After leaving early with some friends, I went to take some photographs of the Reightshtag.
Me and Joe then took Toby and Joey to see the memorial because they hadn’t already been. We walked through the park and it was a good opportunity to take some snowy photos. We then headed to Alexander Platz where we picked up some lunch- kebab.
A group of people were at the Hard Rock Café, so after having a round in a nearby bar we headed towards there. Next to the Hard Rock Café was a bar with live music. It was all old soul music which I knew from my dad’s collection and I loved it. By far the best bar that we had gone into.
Being the last full day in Berlin, I wanted to make sure we had a much more productive day. Firstly, we travelled to one of the largest flea markets in Berlin. It was great. That was the only apart of the entire trip that I really felt like I was in Berlin. I had a mulled wine (with extra rum) in one hand and some food in the other listening to German music and looking at the cultural second hand stalls.
Flea Market Stall
After the Market, we headed to the Bauhaus Archive museum. It was by far the best museum we had done in Berlin. The Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design, in Berlin, collects art pieces, items, documents and literature which relate to the Bauhaus school- one of the most influential schools of architecture, design and art of the 20th century and puts them on public display.
The collection wasn’t really what I was expected. I had anticipated more architecture and product design, however it was a range good range. What I liked in particular was some of the experimental work. The exhibition seemed to really focus on Laszlo Moholy Nagy and his experimentation with new media in considering the impact of technology.
Laszlo was fascinated by transparency, reflection and motion. He often used the term, “painting with light” and used materials such as metal and plastic. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the museum, therefore I will use a couple of examples found on the internet.
Overall I really enjoyed the museum. Myself and Joe seemed to spend hours in there. If you are ever in Berlin and are interested in Art and Design, you should definitely check it out. For students, it only cost $5 entry as well!
After the museum, we went back to the hostel, got changed and headed out for tea. As a group we then decided to go for drinks in the Spire. Close to Alexander Platz, the tower was constructed between 1965 ans 1969 by the administration of the German Democratic Republic. It was intended as a symbol of Berlin, which remains today. It is easily visible at a height of 368 meters and lights up at night.
The view was great; however you could not get the full effect due to the slanted windows. I tended to see my reflection more than outside. The drinks were also very expensive, but what do you expect! I wasn’t bothered and went all out getting the most expensive cocktail. The spire reminded me a little of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. That too has a bar and restaurant, but it rotates. It is also a lot higher than the Spire; therefore I wasn’t as impressed as the others because I’ve done the Stratosphere.
Our trip in Berlin was soon over, and I had a great time there. Strangely it was not what I had expected. It didn’t really feel very German? I guess I was sort of expecting the stereotypic, but it didn’t help that there were Kebab houses and Dunkin Donuts EVERYWHERE. The trip was historically and creatively interesting; I met new people, and had a lot of fun.
I’m glad that the tutors allowed us to do our own thing- some of the best days were the ones me and Joe had planned ourselves. I definitely would love to go back to Germany, but if I do I would want to try somewhere else. I felt as though Berlin has been corrupted a little bit with tourism. Berlin is very diverse and there is a lot to do, I could have easily stayed a couple more days there! If you have the opportunity to go, like I did, you should definitely take it.
Please enjoy this funky car.
Thanks for reading!