Berlin | Quiet Guide

Words & Visuals by MICA

Intro by LILY McFLY

FRAGMENTED CITY AS A LAB FOR CREATIVITY

You may have heard that Berlin is a city condemned forever to becoming and never to being. That was said back in 1910 by renowned art critic Karl Scheffler, but still remains very true today. The city struggles with its gaps and scars of the past even 25 years after the fall of the Wall. But perhaps the fact that Berlin is still fragmented is part of it’s quality. Unlike London or Paris, the new Berlin has not be- come a playground for big architects. The city loves to mix old and new, leaving space for people.

 

Germany’s capital is often referred to as a laboratory of ideas and creativity. That’s what attracts so many bright minds – young and talented. And one of them is the author of our Berlin Quiet Guide, Portuguese materials scientist and photographer Mica, who lives in Berlin. Let’s explore another, quieter side of this youthful city.

“When I first thought of moving to Berlin, I could actually narrow it down to just a couple of reasons. Primarily, because I got a challenging position in a renowned scientific institute while I was still in the process of writing my DPhil thesis, back in Oxford. Secondly, because I felt a very strong connection with the city when I was first here, for a one-month training, in 2008. I knew it right then, that I would come back here in a totally different context.

 

At the moment, there are plenty of reasons to live here. Berlin is a magical, consistently surprising, crazy city. Complex even. I’m continuously digging away layers of interesting things and sub- cultures that are happening pretty much everywhere. What I find most inspiring in Berlin is this sense of newness of the city that I feel on a daily basis.” – Mica

 

KÖNIG GALLERY

As a monument of the brutalist era (if you can imagine such a thing), St. Agnes church, in Kreuzberg district, is one of those places one should not miss. Architect Arno Brandlhuber spent three years to transform the former church — with its heavy concrete interior — into an art space. The gallery currently represents thirty international, emerging and established artists, the majority being from a younger generation.

Annette Kelm, ‘Pizza‘. Installation view at Konig Galerie, 2016

SODA. BERLIN

Soda is all about magazines and books. Make sure to stop by this stylish store when you’re next in Berlin, especially if you are a designer, photographer, illustrator, architect or simply fond of visual arts and printed matter. Plus, it’s located at Rosenthaler Platz (one of my favourites!), the heart of a vibrant area in Mitte district.

BIKINI BERLIN

Bikini Berlin is Germany’s first concept mall. This architectural concept combines shopping, working, leisure, cinema and hotel in an urban environment. The shopping mall is focused on local designers/brands as well as a selection of renowned contemporary international labels. The highlight of Bikini Berlin is the landscaped, publicly accessible, roof terrace with a unique view of the Zoo and its wildlife. A whole new shopping experience located in West Berlin.

C/O BERLIN

The most important gallery for photography in town is five minutes away from Bikini Berlin. The contemporary art foundation C/O Berlin reopened in the Amerika Haus building. The contemporary art foundation usually hosts several exhibitions at a time, showcasing both renowned artists and emerging talents. At the moment, C/O Berlin is hosting “Retrospective” by American photographer Stephen Shore. This exhibit includes over 300 pieces, some of which have never been exhibited before.

PARK AT GLEISDREIECK

Gleisdreieck Park is most likely my favourite green space in town and where I normally go out to shoot. This open space is a result from a conversion of land once occupied by an old railway crossing into a large urban-scale metropolitan park. Some historic relics, smoothly integrated throughout the park, are still visible in this former railway junction. Skaters can enjoy one of the largest skating areas in the city at the East Park of Gleisdreieck. The West Park is full of beautiful lawns and play areas. From there you can enjoy the park and the city at the same time.

 

TREPTOW CREMATORIUM

Designed by renowned architects Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank, it remains one of the most outstanding contemporary buildings in the city. The Treptow Crematorium was at the top of my list of places to visit in Berlin for quite some time. Too long I would say! I’ve managed to finally go there last Summer and ended up, being completely alone, shooting the space roughly for three hours straight. The control of material and light is absolutely breath- taking. A totally unexpected space for healing.

Mica’s pseudonym is Nomadic by Choice. Born in Portugal, educated in England, Mica is based in Berlin. Materials Scientist by trade, photographer the rest of the time.

http://www.nomadicbychoice.com

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