Freunde von Freunden and Vitra’s Berlin Apartment
After years exploring and exposing the homes and workspaces of creatives, the chic Berlin-based web magazine Freunde von Freunden (friends of friends) just turned a lens on its own apartment, partnering with the Swiss design house Vitra to make a statement and showplace summing up their visions of modern living. Their design collaboration in the Mitte district, completed earlier this month, adds a new spin to the classic creative aphorism: good designers borrow, great designers collaborate.
“We wanted to create a showplace for the community, a space to bring people together,” says Frederik Frede, the site’s founder and creative director. “The goal was to make it cozy, without the feeling of a showroom.”
Frede, along with architect Etienne Descloux and interior designer Katrin Greiling, created what he describes as a hybrid of Californian and Scandinavian styles, with smart touches like a cadre of mis-matched black chairs offsetting the photos, ceramics and curios in the living room. The Swiss company’s furniture had appeared in so many of the website’s photoshoots that they were a natural choice as a partner, along with Artek, the Finnish concern they acquired last year. Frede enlisted other friends of the site, such as Bless (light switches and cables), New Tendency (lamps) and the Fundamental Group to finish outfitting the apartment and expose up-and-coming local designers.
Renovations on the 65-square-meter (700 square feet) flat started last summer, with a focus on community space, such as the custom black marble kitchen island, and clean and sober design. Descloux altered the kitchen and open, Asian-style bathroom to provide more space. The focus on black furniture creates unity across the space and allow other design elements to stick out.
“Initially, we tried to make it one room,” says Descloux, “but we couldn’t tear down one wall, so instead we turned that wall into a wooden wall of sorts. It was really more about optimization than a full-scale renovation.”
So far, they’ve used the space for commercial shoots, as a showroom for press days, and just for having dinner with friends and colleagues. For Frede, the only letdown is he has to leave his design playgrounf and go back to his current apartment. “Now, regular life is a letdown,” he says.