Tales of a building: Das Stue in Berlin
Upon setting foot into the hotel’s lobby area, guests are greeted by a gigantic crocodiles’ head sculpted by Parisian artist Quentin Garel. Walls around the premises hold fine examples of black-and-white vintage fashion photography collected by one of the hotel’s owners. Artwork and objects placed throughout public spaces vividly pay tribute to a prominent neighbour, the fabled Berlin zoo only a hop away: an enormous giraffe and two gorillas made of painted chicken wire are complemented by fellow animals ready to serve as poufs or practical footrests.
Who might have anticipated in the late 1930s, that the sophisticated edifice erected to house the Danish diplomatic mission in Berlin, would see it being converted into a stylish luxury hotel more than 70 years later? To transform a repeatedly abandoned building into the fashionable spot Das Stue was destined to be, it had to go through extensive refurbishment. It received a novel wing now attached to its former back courtyard and a completely new contemporary identity enhanced by a blend of old and new elements.
When Das Stue opened its gates in December of 2012, it already looked back on a changeful past.
Reading time: about 4 minutes
The soft sides of a business queen
It’s been a long and sometimes painful journey through a jungle of misconception and prejudice. Both seem to die as hard as any of the bad habits the world so happily cultivates. Finally it looks as though Frankfurt – Hesse’s largest city (but not it’s capital, that’s Wiesbaden, you didn’t know that, did you?) manages to shed its unjustified reputation as an inapproachable, calculating, frigid financial hub. With nothing else on its urban mind than to tag along the leading string of insatiable banking institutes who vainly established themselves in the prime areas of town pointing their noses high in the sky. And whose sole purpose (allegedly?) lies in maximising their own riches and, thus, recklessly minimising everybody else’s.
Reading time: about 5 minutes
The young boy holding on to the concrete steel bars that reinforced The Wall, was nine years old when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989. The lady next to him became one of the innumerable so-called „Mauerspechte“, „wall peckers“, who secured themselves a morsel of the unholy structure to bring home a grisly souvenir. The „antifascist protective wall“, as the German Democratic Republic had chosen to name it, not only separated West from East Berlin and barbariously split the German nation, but symbolised the rift that divided the entire world in two political camps. Erected in August of 1961, The Wall finally came down after decade-long diplomatic efforts and a peaceful revolution during which not a single shot was fired. Hacked apart piece by piece by citizens and visitors flocking in from all over the globe, The Wall ceased to exist and with it the Cold War.
Reading time: about 2 minutes
Practice makes perfect? Oh, really! Some of us are just not destined to ever be fluent in English honed to perfection at Oxford or Harvard. The only superior level reached is that of ultimate frustration. Even though talent may be absent, the constant effort does deserve – and at times receive – some appreciation. Native English speakers – be they residents of their respective countries or members of an expat diaspora abroad – display admirable countenance when it comes to unravelling the puzzling matter their poor language is often being minced into. A mother-tongue recognised as official world language no. 1 minimises the necessity for its speakers to conquer foreign language terrain. A linguistic metabolism in constant uproar caused by cruel outlandish gibberish is the price to be paid for being saved humiliation in class, when vocabulary and grammar just won’t surface upon demand, or when a vital exam is failed and thus a promising international future brutally ruined forever.
Reading time: about 2 minutes
It does not take a daredevilish stunt person to find themselves in a precarious health situation all of a sudden. Regular people pursuing their unspectacular routine chores fall victim to unforeseen circumstances all the time: a life-threatening coronary attack may occur during a stressful business meeting or a cervical vertebra get seriously dislocated on a slippery stairwell. Should this happen on familiar terrain with trusted help around the corner, bad enough. But what, if destiny strikes far away from home?
Reading time: about 3 minutes