The beautiful Berlin apartment of Quiet Studios interior designer

Berlin apartment of Quite Studios creative director Daniela Franceschini | sitsitso.com

Quiet Studios

The beautiful Berlin apartment of interior designer Daniela Francheschini

My favourite thing about sitsitso, is that I get to meet so many magnificent and fascinating people. Passionate entrepreneurs who do not fear their own dream-led pathways. People creating beauty where they go. People like Daniela Franceschini – designer and creative director of the interior design studio; Quiet Studios.

Dreamy Berlin apartment of Quite Studios' creative director
Beautiful apartment of Berlin interior designer

Beautiful apartment of Berlin interior designer | sitsitso.com

A couple of weeks ago I visited Daniela at her home in Berlin’s Neukölln neighbourhood. The house, which dates back to 1905, is a stunning structure with original parquet floors and pressed ceilings. Two genuine ceramic stoves still heat up the home – a perfect setting to learn a little more about her story, and how Quiet Studios came about.

Interior designer's beautiful Berlin home | sitsitso.com
Interior designer's beautiful Berlin home | sitsitso.com

Daniela grew up in Spain and studied fashion design in Madrid. A masters degree in sustainability at ESMOD brought her to Berlin where she did her thesis together with an NGO from Kathmandu, focusing on the development of hand-craft skills like basket weaving among communities in Nepal. She later continued this focus on sustainability, working within the trade of sustainable, hand-crafted goods in Morocco.

Home of Quiet Studios' creative director, Daniela Franceschini

Berlin studio of Quite Studios' creative Daniela Home of Quiet Studios' creative director, Daniela Franceschini | sitsitso.com
Berlin studio of Quite Studios' creative Daniela Home of Quiet Studios' creative director, Daniela Franceschini | sitsitso.com

Then one day, a friend asked her to design the interior of their café and concept store in the south of Spain. Working with a tight budget, Daniela sought out creative design solutions. Opting for recycling, up-cycling and hand-craft, discarded wood and sleepers became stools and shelves. Soon WOODS: foods & goods, would be the first of many successful interior design projects to be added to Quiet Studio’s growing body of work.

Berlin apartment of Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.com

Berlin apartment of Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.comDreamy Berlin apartment of Quite Studios creative director | sitsitso

Daniela’s background in sustainability makes her sensitive to human nature and its relation to interiors and design. The human is always at the centre of her design approach; how it affects one’s mood and behaviour, how you move and interact in a space, as much as one’s socio-cultural background.

Beautiful apartment of Berlin interior designer | sitsitso.com
Beautiful apartment of Berlin interior designer | sitsitso.com

The work of Quiet Studio has an understated elegance that find it’s origin in the honesty of the space and the integrity of the pieces. Daniela chooses objects with character. Something that tells a story other than the mass market aesthetic of Ikea-clad compositions. She likes to scour antique and second hand markets – finding pieces with interesting narratives; like a (rather ironic) print of naked dancing ladies she uncovered in Morocco.

Interior designer's beautiful Berlin home | sitsitso.com

Visiting Quiet Studios's creative director at her home in Berlin | sitsitso.com
Interior designer's beautiful Berlin home | sitsitso.com

Visiting Quiet Studios's creative director at her home in Berlin | sitsitso.com

Daniela understands luxury as an honest and intellectual process instead of a mere collection of commodities. She seeks to bring a soul into her spaces; to bring about the voice that already lays petrified within the walls. Over restaurant in London, beautifully illustrates this dialogue of perfection; a result of her true mies-van-der-rohe-minimalist approach.

Home of Daniela Franceschini - Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.com

Home of Daniela Franceschini - Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.com
Home of Daniela Franceschini - Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.com

To me Daniela’s home is testament to more than her penchant for finding beautiful things. It illustrates her ability to design timeless interiors. Spaces to be lived in, experienced and enjoyed. Environments where you feel at once welcome and at home. Places, you’ll look forward to visiting again.

Quiet Studios - Berlin Interior design studio | sitsitso.com
Quiet Studios - Berlin Interior design studio | sitsitso.com
Daniela Franceschini from Quite Studios in Berlin
 Quiet Studios in Berlin
WEBSITE: QUIET STUDIOS  |  STORY + PHOTOS:  BARBARA CILLIERS

As part of my new series on entrepreneurs and creatives, I’ll be asking each of these mavericks some questions about being their own boss. I hope this will inspire those who want to do their own thing, and give them a little nudge towards finding their own paths.

What’s the best thing about being your own boss:

Daniela:

“The free creative direction, being able to stay true to yourself and the freedom to do things you believe in. And also the space and flexibility to learn through the mistakes you may make along the way.”

What’s the hardest thing about being on your own:

Daniela:

“To always have to find new clients, to be innovative, to keeping up with trends and to stay motivated and inspired.”

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District Six – South African design in Berlin

Woven Raphia bags at the District Six store in Berlin

 

DISTRICT SIX

South African design in the heart of Berlin

 

December in Berlin can be rather gloomy. It’s rainy and misty and dark – a darkness that is heavy and black and I, for one, need a very good reason to leave the house. The usual way I coax myself outside is through christmas market shopping but recently I found another carrot onto the streets.

In the heart of all this winter grey, tucked away in Graefekiez, is a tiny store that one might easily miss if it wasn’t for the brilliant colours that beckon you inside. Colours that remind me of home; like the blood-orange-red of Pincushion Proteas, or Khaki green and Fynbos yellows or the cobalt hues of the Agulhas. The store is called District Six, and inside is a wonderful display of products designed and made in South Africa.

 

Prints and other curious design items at the District Six store in Berlin
Cool bags and rugsacks at District Six in Berlin

 

The vibrant store is owned by equally lively Caroline Adam, a Berlin-born graphic designer who fell in love with the expressive designs from South Africa and started selling them online back in 2013. Her concept store on Graefestraße 80, is now in it’s second year and stocks a myriad of products from South African brands like Skinny laMinx, Anne Hodgson, Pichulik and Soil Design (to name but a few).

 

Caroline Adam at her District Six store in Berlin
Beautiful botanical tote from Soil & Co at District 6 in Berlin

 

Inside, the store is a visual plethora of patterns, colour and textures; from bright blue raphia clutches and tan leather bags, to decorative woven vases and geometric metal side tables. The Ndebele inspired jewellery by Pichulik is super colourful and chic while the offbeat bucket stools of Pedersen + Lennard really bring home that humorous character and South African spirit.

 

Ndebele-style jewellery and vibrant cushions at District Six

 

Another favourite of mine is the exquisite wallpapers that you can order in-store or online. I really like the Liquorice and Lesotho stripes by Rene Rossouw, but the botanical prints from Soil Designs and Room 13 are just as enchanting. With the opportunity for custom made orders (minimum amount of only 3sqm) the only effort is in choosing between all the great designs.

 

Pedersen & Lennard bucket-stool from the Distirct-Six store in Berlin
Beautiful metal baskets and mohair throws at District Six

 

At District Six you’ll not only find time-less and high quality products but ones with a conscious and sustainable approach to manufacturing; be it socially fair or environmentally friendly.

So if you haven’t done your christmas shopping yet, maybe do it here! I think the woven Itawuli towels (or pretty much everything else in the store) will make excellent gifts. Or just get yourself one of the beautifully woven alpaka or mohair blankets for January, when–let’s face it–the dreary winter weather is sure to be worse. :)

Find it here:

Graefestraße 80
10967 Berlin
U8 UBhf Schönleinstraße
Bus M41

Opening hours (12-23 December):

Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 19:00
Saturday: 11:00 – 18:00
Sunday before christmas: 13:00 – 18:00

Or check out the details on their website here.

As always, thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post!

 

STORY + PHOTOS BY BARBARA CILLIERS

 

Monkind

Mondkind kids clothing store in Crellestrasse, Schöneberg

 

MONKIND

 

Berlin is a great city for many reasons. But one of the things I treasure the most, is the fact that it hides so many wonderful gems; so many little streets to explore, so many little shops to stumble onto. I recently made another such a discovery in Schöneberg, at the bottom end of Crellestraße. There, under the shady trees, I found a sign that reads Monkind. And behind that sign, a beautifully styled window with children’s clothes so unique and pretty, that I could not help but to linger and venture inside.

Outside street view of Mondkind clothing store in Berlin
Mondkind childrens-wear store in Berlin

Valeria, the designer and owner of the store, welcomed me in and called to Stewart in the back from where a rhythmic mix of lively music could be heard. “Stewart studied ethnomusicology” she explained and handed me a lovely cappuccino, after I enquired about the unique playlist. Stewart – who’s originally from Chesterfield – promptly appeared along with Yogi, their friendly and inquisitive collie mix, and together the couple proceeded to tell me a little about their store. 

 

Beautiful and stylish kids clothes at Mondkind in BerlinGretas Schwester paper-goods at Mondkind

 

Valeria, who was born in the Ukraine, moved to Germany with her parents and studied fashion design before running her own women’s wear label here in Berlin. After the birth of their first child she felt dissatisfied with the inelegance and archetypal blues and pinks of children’s clothes and started making her own. This inspired her to develop the Monkind label and soon the couple opened up their first store down in Grunewaldstraße. Stewart was to take on the business side of things and left his job at the coffee manufacturer where he had picked up much of his business prowess (and subsequent penchant for good coffee as I learned through each sip of my cappuccino). 

 

Water color tigers and prickly cacti at Monkind Berlin

Elegant childrens-wear at Monkind

Not long after opening their store, they met Sarah Neuendorf, the illustrator and graphic designer who now has the adjacent studio, Gretas Schwester. Sarah produces the amazing illustrated paper goods, enamel cups and illustrations that you can find in the shop. Many of the fabrics used in the Monkind label also feature her stunning water-color artworks, like prickly cacti or my favourite, a blood red tiger.

 

The beautiful Monkind line of children's-wearAdorable baby-grow. Monkind Children's wear Berlin.

 

As the label’s popularity grew, the team quickly needed a larger space and in January they moved their shop to Crellestraße 3 & 4. Monkind and Gretas Schwester have a strong emphasis on sustainability, from locally-sourced organic materials to recycled paper and organic cotton. Valeria, who used to make all the clothes by hand, now has a carefully selected network of small, family-run production sites in Poland and Lithuania.

 

Gretas Schwester and Monkind goodies Berlin

Details of Monkind products

 

To me this space is a marvellous culmination of pure talents. I simply love the playful sophistication of the Monkind children’s clothes. The beautiful watercolour artwork of Gretas Schwester adds a whimsical charm to an already magical place. If you’re looking for something cheerful and unique, this is where you will find it. I certainly cannot wait to go back for another visit. 

 

Monkind children's wear store in Crellestraße Berlin

Stewart & Valeria from Monkind
Owners of Monkind, Stewart & Valeria.

 

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Abandoned buildings

abandoned buildings in Berlin

 

THE BEAUTY OF ABANDONED PLACES

 

My fascination with atmospheric spaces is mostly due to the emotional affect they can bring about. How strange that a few walls and a roof, a simple structure, can make you feel a certain way; cold or cozy, sombre or happy, safe or unsettled…

This affecting nature becomes even more pronounced when you venture into abandoned places. Perhaps because the predefined notions of public and private are skewed upon your trespass, as you become a voyeur in someone else’s forgotten world.

 

abandoned ballroom building in Berlin

 

Berlin has so many of these deserted spaces. Hidden away, forsaken though not forgotten. Barred (unsuccessfully) from intruders and vandals, from explorers… Like portals into bygone worlds they become great story tellers of the ones who might have lived there. Offering the outlines, so we can fill in the blanks; a perfect canvas for the imagination.

 

An abandoned ballroom near Berlin

Exploring abandoned buildings in Berlin

 

A once unassuming structure, becomes a place of fantasy, where memories–imagined or real–are captured in the walls, each layer of peeling paint exposing an era that once was; each colour another step back in time.

 

An abandoned ballroom in Berlin

 

These delicate worlds are perhaps so etherial not because they might give way underfoot, but because with each passing day, nature takes back what man has made there. Earth and her elements reclaiming their territory, re-entering where it was once banished from.

 

The beauty of abandoned buildings

 

Suddenly exposed, are our disconnected relationship with the world. These creeping vines and rotting timbers attest to our disparity with nature. Cause with each brick being laid, each floor board secured our manmade shelters slowly take us out of nature, and nature out of us, so that we no longer feel the beating heart of the earth below our feet. 

 

Old abandoned ballroom in Berlin

 

Perhaps therein lies the beauty of abandoned places. Perhaps these dirty, dusty spaces remind us not only of our forgotten pasts, but of the dualisms we’ve defined–man vs nature, dirty vs clean, past vs present, real vs imagined–and allow us to ever so briefly, collapse them into one...

 

Abandoned ballroom building in Berlin

 

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Pure Pause Berlin

Pure Pause shop on Dudenstrasse in Berlin

 

PURE PAUSE

Where food for thought meets creative thinking

 

You may know Dudenstraße from it’s proximity to the renowned Tempelhofer feld. But just around the corner from Mehringdamm lies a beautiful building by architect Max Taut, called Haus der Buchdrucker. The lego-like appearance with it’s primary coloured frames is enough to make you stop and admire, but it’s the beautifully designed branding of the Pure Pause store, that prompted me to take a closer look.

 

Pure Pause, Products made in Berlin

 

The green pastel and vibrant orange of the Pure Pause space reminds me of a retro 70’s interior, but with beautifully designed shelves and well selected used furniture, the look is refreshingly different from the grandma’s-house-turned-café appearance of so many Berlin establishments.

 

Behind sea blue french doors lies the Pure Pause innovation lab or salon, a space for interactive workshops and events. Custom-made modular furniture allows one to transform and adapt the environment to different needs. Here the furniture becomes a conversation piece along with facilitating interactions between people, like a settee, designed for intimate discussions that converts into stepped seating for a bigger audience.

 

Pure Pause innovation lab

 

The space is intended to encourage innovative ways of thinking and, as the perfect juncture between taste and likes, Pure Pause employs food as a neutral territory to kickstart conversations. The adjacent shop stocks a carefully selected assortment of unusual refreshments created and produced in Berlin. They focus on products and producers with unique characters, things like a caffeinated soda made from sun dried coffee cherries or fruit liquor from natural botanics; interesting stories to jumpstart creative discussions.

 

Made-in-Berlin-refreshments-and-Pure-Pause

 

The shop is open only on Fridays, but you can also order food parcels as gifts or refreshment packages for events or seminars. So even if you don’t intend to host a workshop or kickstart a corporate event, you can still enjoy the wonderful selection of made-in-Berlin sweats and treats. More information around bookings and opening times can be found on their website.

 

Workshop area at Pure Pause in Berlin

workshop-area-at-pure-pause

A rainy day escape to the Berlin Botanical Gardens

A rainy day trip to the Berlin Botanical gardens.

 

THE BERLIN BOTANICAL GARDENS

A rainy day escape

 

On her recent trip to Berlin, my lovely sister Almarie suggested we venture down to Steglitz for a visit to the Berlin botanical gardens. Almarie’s quite the phytophile and so we hopped on our bicycles and headed down south.

 
Tropical Greenhouse at Berlin Botanical Gardens
 

From the entrance on Unter den Eichen the gardens didn’t look like much, but we payed the 6 euro entrance anyway and proceeded into the park. Soon after we set down the first pathway I started feeling a little apprehensive about the outing. Thus far the Berlin botanical garden grounds were rather, er, underwhelming and it had just started to drizzle. With dismay I thought we’d chosen probably the worst day to explore a mildly exciting garden and suggested we headed to the glass houses to escape the rain.

 

Weird and wonderful plants at the Berlin Botanical GardenBotanical-Gardens-Berlin-Tropical-Greenhouse

 

As soon as we entered the huge mechanical structure my disdain swiftly disappeared. The conservatories or Gewächshäuser, as they’re called in german, are huge glass and steel structures that cleverly controls the weather and with its 23m high dome the main tropical greenhouse is one of the largest in the world. Thanks to its size, the Berlin botanical conservatory houses a breathtaking tropical paradise with giant palm trees and towering vines and epiphytes.

 

Berlin Botanical Garden Conservatory Detail

Beutiful-and-strange-specimens-at-Berlin-Botanical-Garden

 

Next we found ourselves in the desserts of the south with a marvellous welwitschia enchanting us with its beautiful inelegance. More succulents and cacti awaited in the adjacent chambers with long furry characters and their spiky friends. To our amazement the botanical greenhouses held an incredibly rich collection of specimens; from China, New Zealand and Japan, to Africa, North America and the Canaries. In fact they have 15 different chambers, each designated to a specific biosphere. 

 

Cacti and succulents from the Berlin Botanical Gardens
 
We spent so much time in every hall that we had to break for coffee – and off course on account of the weather – for some cake. I can highly recommend the chocolate one. It was delicious. The cappuccino wasn’t bad either.

With full bellies we went on to explore the carnivorous plants and gawked at the almost florescent flowers in the rainforest. Later we felt proud and a little nostalgic to discover the beautiful South African biosphere with it’s massive species of Aloes, crassulas and euphorbias.

 

Greenhouse at the Botanical Gardens in Berlin

 

Finally, our trip around the world ended in the Mediterranean, but not before we got a short introduction to the different uses of plants; things like cocoa and bulbs and poisons I do not remember the name of.

What I thought was going to be a drab and dreary day turned out to be a spectacular journey around the world – an absolutely sensory rich experience. So if you love plants as much as I do and you feel like taking a trip abroad but can’t afford the plane ticket, just pop into the greenhouses at the Berlin botanical gardens. It’ll be a mind-blowing treat.

 

 

When to go: Open all year but perfect for rainy days

Where is it: Entrances are on Unter den Eichen 5-10, 12203 Berlin (Metrobus M48) or Königin-Luise-Platz, 14195 Berlin (ExpressBus X83, Bus 101)

Price per person: €6.00 (Cash only – they do not take credit, debit cards or EC Karte)

 

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