Tempelhof Airport was closed for public air traffic in October 2008. 85 years earlier, in October 1923, ‘the first commercial airport worldwide’ was inaugurated by the German Reich’s Ministry of Transport; the initial route operated to Koenigsberg (now Kaliningrad) in former East Prussia. The first plane of the newly founded “Deutsche Luft Hansa” had its maiden voyage from Berlin to Zurich in 1926 and even gigantic Zeppelins majestically raised from the vast Tempelhof airfield. By the 1930s, it had developed into Europe’s busiest airport – ranging ahead of Paris, Amsterdam and London. But Tempelhof is unforgotten for the dramatic role it was to play in post-war Germany.
It is presumed to be the most colourful, multinational and omnicultural of Berlin’s districts: Neukölln, whose reputation – up to the not too distant past – could be considered controversial at best. Predominantly low-income (German) residents alongside a high rate of immigrants touching the 40 per cent mark have been benefitting from affordable rents and trying to make ends meet remote from posh Berlin areas. Different beliefs; traditions; habits; tongues; skins or dress codes hailing from alien ethnic backgrounds not seldom ignited the precarious potential for social conflicts. Better-off Berliners and visitors to the city alike preferred to stay at a safe distance for a reason. Yet, by avoiding the confrontation with an often bleak reality, they simultaneously missed out on “glamour” of a quality only thriving in microcosms such as Neukölln.
When planning a stay at a hotel, there is always a choice. Sometimes, preference may be given to a uniform and relatively sterile ambience. Chain addicts best relax when layout and appearance are identical in Paris, Prague or NYC. Yet: A genuine „home away from home“ will come in all different shapes, sizes and outfits – just as people’s residences do. The more variety the interior offers, the more likely it caters to a person’s individual needs. The management of the Hotel Art Nouveau (Garni) in Berlin Charlottenburg is readily being credited for taste and sensitivity and a talent for original style, design and quality food. Enhanced by their ability to create an international atmosphere by weaving cosmopolitan influences into their offering, the result is a smooth concoction of pleasing vintage components.
„Hunger is one of the world’s most urgent development challenges. One third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally“, says FAO, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Half of what is being wasted alone could feed the entire world. While the privileged drown in affluence, about one billion people are going hungry. Food waste simultaneously means squandering of land, energy, water and natural resources in general and renders the increased level of emission it creates even more paradox. Costs associated with the 88 million tonnes of food waste caused yearly within the EU is estimated at more than 143 billion euros. Food waste does represent a serious environmental and economic issue, but more than anything else it is an ethical one!
A group of young people in Berlin have made it their mission to contribute to reduction of food wasted thoughtlessly. In May, 2016 they opened Restlos Glücklich, Germany’s first restaurant predominantly utilising food surplus which might otherwise be destined for the bin. The team cooperates with providers who follow the same creed and who have become reliable partners of a number of charitable initiatives.
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.