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.
For the conscientiously-thinking German of the past centuries, keeping physically fit was equal to a national duty to be fulfilled – like going to church on Holy Sundays. Not a chance of ever playing truant. The constant surveillance by a rigorously watchful society saw to these rules not being neglected. Meanwhile in Germany, like in any place else in the world, people who work out regularly on a voluntary basis have become rarer and those zigzagging between sporadic exertion and hard-core couch-potatoing a sad majority.
German discipline was worthwhile being exported to ensure that far-away expats would not forget to stay in shape. And this is how the German Gymnasium at King’s Cross came to be. The money for „the first purpose-built gymnasium in the United Kingdom“, opened in 1865, was raised entirely by the German Gymnastics Society and the German community in London. 6,000 pounds well invested. Even women were allowed to use the facility: a freedom otherwise alien to ladies of that era.
The shell of a historic structure on the European coast of the Bosporus is lauded as one of Istanbul’s most exceptional venues and the distinguished guest or performers’ list includes Deep Purple, Alan Parsons, Boy George, Chris de Burgh, Elia Kazan, George Benson, actor Kevin Spacey … to name a few. But what is the mystery behind this astonishing building and its eponym?
A guest post by Paul Selis
Situated in the heart of the Mediterranean, the three main islands Malta, Gozo and Comino are small, beautiful and unique. With a fascinating 7,000 years of history and pre-historic temples older than the Pyramids, the Islands are bursting with culture, friendly locals, sunshine and ongoing events. With its thriving economy, continuous business development and considered to be a very safe destination, Malta has become an important hub for various trades, professions, services, vocations, research and education in the Mediterranean, making it an optimal choice to hold international meetings.
How very fortunate a coincidence that, in 1994, the management of Geneva’s Grand Théâtre were looking for an alternative venue to which to outsource their cultural performances set for the 1997/1998 season: Modernisation of their theatre was imminent and a worthy substitute location desperately needed. A magnificent structure, listed since the late 1980s and dramatically squatting above the River Rhône, seemed the ideal candidate: The Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, originally built by the engineer and politician Théodore Turrettini for industrial purposes in the outgoing 19th century, served as Geneva’s first hydro-electric power plant. It had provided the city with water and electricity until its decommission in the 1960s and had been lying dormant since.