The industrial look doesn’t have to be cold. Textures, houseplants and an abundance of natural light give this Berlin apartment a sunny disposition
Houseplants, texture and natural light warm the hard edges of this industrial Berlin home
THE COUPLE EMBRACED THE STRIPPED-BACK STYLE OF THIS CONCRETE SPACE AND PERSONALISED IT WITH THEIR LOVE OF ARTISANAL OBJECTS
Jochen Pohlmann and Mathias Riedel exchanged their comfortable Hamburg home for this rented industrial shell in Berlin and instantly embraced its stripped-back style. Their new home is encased in concrete, with exposed steel columns standing sentry throughout. But the atmosphere here is ethereal rather than cold: abundant natural light dissolves the apartment’s hard industrial edges and large glazed doors offer glimpses of the terrace and treetops beyond.
Jochen, a fashion stylist, was drawn to this building by the combination of materials that had been used in its construction. ‘It is nothing more than what it claims to be,’ he says, ‘a piece of nature consisting of cement, sand and water’. His partner Mathias was happy to take a back seat during the design process – even when Jochen made the decision to leave the concrete walls, floors and ceiling as he found them. The partitions in the bathroom and guest cloakroom have been painted grey and white, with darker tones of charcoal grey and black used to frame the kitchen, living area and bedroom. Elsewhere, Jochen has added his own materials to the mix: the plywood cabinetry in the kitchen, for instance, is custom-made.
Much of the furniture in the apartment came from the couple’s old flat in Hamburg, and is arranged with treasures that Jochen finds when travelling for work. He has been known to drag entire suitcases full of china from one continent to the next – an insane amount of plates and bowls. Handmade clay teapots (some of them very old) decorate the open shelving units. Both he and Mathias have a passion for artisanal craftsmanship, yet their collections do not overwhelm this home. ‘Less is more,’ says Mathias, whose influence clearly curbs his partner’s enthusiasm for acquiring new objects. ‘ We negotiate about what is displayed each time Jochen brings something home,’ he adds.