Potsdamer Strasse in Berlin – a 5-minute walk from Potsdamer Platz – is no stranger to cyclical rein- vention. In the 19th century, the street hosted literary salons. In the wake of the Second World
War, it was home to squats and seedy nightclubs. In the 1980s, it became the centre of the city ́s red light district. In the last ten years, the quarter has been reincarnated once again into a booming galle- ry scene, with art spaces, concept stores, glitzy boutiques, and trendy eateries cropping up alongside Turkish supermarkets, gambling dens, and smoky pubs.
The opening of Kurkowitz Colour Studio in the former production facilities of the German newspaper Berliner Tagesspiegel, adds a further destination to this vibrant “Kiez”. The new space is the work- place of celebrity hair colourist Andreas Kurkowitz. Finding an appropriate studio for Andreas
was no easy task; it took more than a year to decide on this airy space on Potsdamer Strasse. The pro- portions – narrow but more than 4 meters high – were particularly attractive, since Andreas needed a bright space with plenty of natural light. The glass facades allow morning and afternoon sun to reach deep inside. The generous height alongside heavy columns and beams creates an industrial feel.
The result is a clean, uncluttered, and luminous space, with an art gallery atmosphere that feels both open and private. We wanted to reveal the idiosyncrasies of the space with little effort. The walls were partly straightened, the floor is an unpolished terrazzo to achieve a soft finish. On one side of the room, we opened the space to a staircase leading to a newly created gathering area in the basement.
The clean lines and neutral tones create a backdrop for the art of hair coloring. Hair colouring is an in- timate act and can be challenging: you are changing your look. We inserted full height linen curtains, protecting the studio from outsider views and softening the daylight, to give the space a certain intimacy and calm. For the same reason, we closed the main entrance from the street and positioned the curtains in such a way to create an empty store window, thus evoking curiosity for passersby. We moved the entrance to the other side, hidden in the semi-private courtyard.
The studio is an ode to handwork and craftsmanship, and we thought the space should reflect this
at all levels. All loose furniture and accessories, made with natural materials, are site-specific and crafted especially for the space: baskets from Roland Oppelt, the last basket-maker in Brandenburg; ceramic cups and bowls by Caroline Wachter from Glindow; a long oak table from Sankjohanser, a small carpenter near Munich. The light fittings are from Wigglesworth-Weider, a small manufacturer in Switzerland; the plush “work-chairs” are upholstered with natural leather, from Elmo in Sweden. In other words, the salon is a sort of showroom for high-quality artisanal pieces.