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The Berlin Apartment That Brings You Closer to the Past

According to Gisbert Poppler, having people over to his home means inviting them to explore the ghosts of Berlin’s past. Gathered around the dining table in the Mitte district of Berlin, are three velvet chairs that were salvaged from the Honecker lounge. The lounge was located at the State Council Building in Germany and have been heavily used over the years by Soviet individuals. 

The actual dining table in the room was also a conference table at the Evangelical Academy in Berlin. Underneath the tabletop, the shorter legs are also propped up by some old-fashioned metal money boxes, making them feel similar to a piece of concept art. According to Poppler, he often wonders why the table was so low. One theory could be that the members of the Protestant church didn’t want the people holding important meetings to be able to hide behind a table. 

Creating a Historical Space. 

Poppler’s practice usually designs and builds spaces for living for other people. However, he also lives in an apartment that highlights his love for the ideas that go into everyday objects. Originally coming from just outside of the Bremen in Northern Germany, Poppler arrived in Berlin when the city was divided in 1989. Living space was difficult to find at this time, and as a student, he spent a lot of time ringing doorbells and roaming the streets to find houses that he could explore. 

Two months following his arrival into the country, the Berlin wall, which opened up a lot of new territory for the architectural individual’s mind. Poppler found a 150 square feet apartment in a building from the 1890s, which was located close to the border crossing. The building had been earmarked for destruction, but Poppler and his partner purchased it anyway. 

The inside of the apartment is very simple, as the fashion of the era was to leave walls white, some people even called sofas too extravagant. Entering the second-floor apartment is a very different experience, with a warm blue and a dusky pink table. In the living room, there’s a great deal of colour coming from a Chinese export carpet and a collection of Hans Brosch paintings. 

Embracing His Own Style

According to Poppler, he was raised in a family home covered in shades of black and beige, so he makes use of colour in all of his signature designs. He chooses items by instinct and prefers to stick with French manufacturers which pack more of a bold punch. Additionally, in Poppler’s apartment, there are a huge number of playful design ideas, including a vintage cabinet that he’s been carrying around since he was 14. 

In the bedroom, there are four coloured light spread throughout each corner of the room, and a stuffed bird is placed above the doorway. Throughout the house, it’s easy to feel stories from the past of Berlin creeping into the home. There’s a garden table for instance, in the courtyard terrace which was found on the streets of Prenzlauer Berg. The table had been bent out of shape by the weather, but he couldn’t leave it behind. Additionally, there’s a sputnik ceiling light that Poppler took from one of the foyer areas of a sports hall in East Berlin. There are even shelves taken from a bookshop that was subsidized and closed following the fall of the wall. 

In more recent years, Poppler and Lotano have spent less time roaming through junk shops and more time manufacturing pieces of furniture. In the apartment’s brightest spot, there’s also an elegant chaise lounge and a porcelain cupboard that looks beautifully vintage. Lotano believes that there’s still a type of vintage in the world of interior design that helps you to remember and understand the idea and story behind the furniture. There are still ghosts of the past in the furniture around the world, as long as you’re willing to look for them.

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