In an old bunker in Kreuzberg, which has been a gasometer before, you find Askan Striepe´s gallery 3107, which offers vintage and contemporary design objects. You find furniture by Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen, Dieter Rams as well as designs by Ron Arad, Konstantin Grcic or Philippe Starck. Also ceramic by Bitossi and glass objects by Iittala, Kosta Boda and many more are offered.
I do not know what it is, but glassware, especially coloured glass, has a certain fascination for me. The vases of finnish glass manufacturer Riihimaki (later called Riihimaen Lasi Oy) for example, often come in bright colours and various fantastic shapes. Also some czech or german companies produced beautiful pieces in the sixties and seventies. Sometimes it seems difficult to decide which glass to collect and which not, there are so many choices... A lot of the most interesting glass manufacturers of the twentieth century can be found on www.20thcenturyglass.com
I bought some books by Mark Hill, he is a British antiques expert, TV presenter, author and publisher. Two books by him especially attracted my attention: "Fat Lava, west german ceramics of the 1960s & 70s", and "Alla Moda, italian ceramics of the 1950s - 70s". "Fat Lava" is about the trendy german pottery with lava-glazes, that is very sought-after in the last years. The book gives a lot of information about several companies and shows the variety of the objects of that period. "Alla Moda" helps you to identify italian ceramic brands like Bitossi, Bertoncello or Fratelli Fanciullacci. The books have got price-lists with them, so that you can evaluate the value of your finds on fleamarkets or in vintage shops. Even in the 60s and 70s there have been produced copies of successful designs, so that today vintage buyers are often confused and ask themselves, is this an original or not? These books help you make this sure, they are really helpful and informative for aficionados of mid century ceramics.
The Berlin television tower, that was built close to Alexanderplatz in Mitte
between 1965 and 1969 by the administration of the German Democratic
Republic, is one of Berlin´s iconic buildings. The design of the tower, that somehow looks like a bowl pierced by a huge stick, also occurs in other objects. It seems that the TV-tower had an influence on many designers of that era. There also has been an official souvenir-vase that could have been bought in the base of the tower. The faceted bowl of the tower actually has a light reflection that looks like a cross, but as the GDR was a state that had no interest in christian religion, the real light reflection did not occur in pictures like official drawings of the tower.
Vintage picture from the sixties
The former official GDR-TV-tower-souvenir, the "Fernsehturm"-vase
Recently I found a strange ceramic vase on a flea market. The shape is very organic, something appearing between a plant and an animal, with a very expressive surface in brown and red-orange. I found out, that this vase is from the french ceramic manufacturer Vallauris in south-eastern France. Vallauris produced a lot of very interesting mid-century modern ceramics, often in a very artistic manner. In the fifties, Pablo Picasso lived and worked there and had a big influence on the artistic output of Vallauris ceramic.
The Grassi Museum for applied arts in Leipzig is showing its second large exhibition about german and international postwar ceramic works with the title "Gefäss / Skulpur - Deutsche und internationale Keramik seit 1946". The first exhibition was taking place in 2008/09 and afterwards the museum got top-class beneficences from inland and abroad collectors. The actual exhibition shows 700 works by ca. 300 artists from 30 countries and five continents. So this is an excellent survey of the development of modern ceramic works. The many varieties in intentions, techniques, forms and surfaces is displayed with small showcase items as well as with huge oversized works. Simultaneously the museum is showing the competition for the Richard-Bampi-Preis 2013 for young german ceramicists. The exhibition is taking place until the 23rd of March 2014.
GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst Leipzig Johannisplatz 5-11 04103 Leipzig www.grassimuseum.de
In this year´s comeback-album "The next day" by David Bowie, there´s a single, "Where are we now?", about Bowie´s time in Berlin in the late seventies. Bowie sings: "Had to get the train from Potsdamer Platz, you never knew that I could do that". Yes, Berlin changed a lot since then and it is always changing. The area at Potsdamer Strasse, next to Potsdamer Platz, is becoming one of Berlin´s new fashionable hotspots more and more, it seems. With a lot of galleries in this street, the stores of Fiona Bennett, Andreas Murkudis and doyoureadme, the area has changed its image of a boring ordinary street and is attracting a more fashionable clientele now. The concept store of Andreas Murkudis is offering exclusive fashion, design, cosmetics and much more. doyoureadme has a wide range of books and magazines in the division of design, art, architecture and photography. Murkudis moved from Mitte into huge rooms in the backyard of a big building where the newspaper Tagesspiegel had its office before. Also the european head office of the finnish design furniture company Artek was opened on Potsdamer Strasse in September 2012. So it will be very interesting to observe this street´s development in the next time.