Celso Da Costa Hamelink Interview Nora & Emanuel Albert – Berliners Living Room
WOW will introduce another really cool living room. This time we are at Emanuel & Nora’s apartment. I had the opportunity to meet Nora in a photo shoot for WOW Issue 0 “All About Scandinavian” together with her brother Georg Blümer. Since the photo shooting for the magazine we created and developed a nice and close friendship, for I was honored to be invited for their wedding. I can say I have never been to such beautiful wedding ceremony and party and for sure was really special to me to be part of this special day.
Therefore I thought it would be really interesting to bring their Living Room for our #1 Issue “What is Berlin?”. Nora is a Model, graduated in Marketing, born in Berlin (and raised in Potsdam) who just started another study in interior design. Emanuel is a Communication Coach born in Göttingen and grown up in Munich, he advices and assists people to improve their business and personal relationship skills. The first time I step in the residence of the Alberts in Mitte (Close to the Main Synagogue of Berlin old Jewish Neighborhood) I felt this was a cool experience. To see that old building being refurbished and having its original structure maintained really makes me impressed. Seeing the old past lines and decoration details coming back to life is really nice. Emanuel said that the new owner of the building it is putting a lot of effort into bringing the place’s essence back. It stood in the former Berlin East side (GDR) very close to the wall and has had many renovations, but none were as careful as this one. When you get into the apartment you find a genuine living room that represents the whole essence of the building, it is a mix of vintage and avant-garde. But let’s learn more about this really nice living room and neighborhood.
WOW – Why Mitte? Why this neighborhood?
N&E-We‘re living here together since 2010. With all its restaurants, theaters and galleries, Mitte always felt like a cultural center of Berlin to us. It is a neighborhood that is ever evolving, new cafes and bars popping up every other week which keeps it interesting. It also is the center of the internet start-ups, which was a big plus for Emanuel.
WOW – How do you both end up in this lovely apartment in Mitte? How was to find it?
N&E-We started looking for an apartment to move in together and it took us nearly 2 months to find a suitable place in the area which was not crazy expensive. When we walked into this apartment, we just fell in love with it: the lavish floor plan, the stucco, the double doors and even a small guest bathroom! And the beautiful view on Friedrichstr just got us. The living room makes almost half of the 1000 square feet, which gives you an impression of how big the apartments in this building used to be- the three flats on our floor used to be one before they installed a lot of new walls. We took a lot of effort to bring down the old wallpaper, repainted some walls and put in new flooring. The story of the building is actually very interesting, too. It was build in 1889 in neo-baroque style and replaced the first factory of the famous German mechanical engineering company Borsig who produced steam engines.
WOW – To understand better your living room, what is the main aspects you (Nora & Emanuel) thought when you were creating the decoration of the living room? What was important to have a perfect living room and to make it unique with your style?
N&E-The old structured wallpaper bothered us the most, so we took it down with the intention to paint everything white. To our surprise, all these old interesting paint colors came out and we decided to keep it that way. Since the ceilings are almost 4m high, we needed to get custom-made window treatments and decided on a classic red velvet. Our furnishing are 1/3 from Emanuel, 1/3 from Nora and 1/3 we bought together which makes the room really feel like „us“. It was very important to let the interior „grow on us“, that’s why we didn’t get it furnished in a week, but accumulated a couple things we loved over time. And even though a room is never finished, now we can say, that we love every single item and have a connection with it. For example, the classic Persian wool rug pulls with the modern blue color helps pulling all the boho / traditional / modern elements together.
WOW – When you enter in the living room you see many things to interact with: music instruments, an office table, computer, iPad. What is the living room space used for? What is the importance of it in the daily life?
N&E-Our living room is actually a mulri-purpose space: we use it for entertaining, relaxing and even as an office. We regularly have friends over for „Vorglühen“ before we head out to one of the bars on torstr. Our big U-formed couch had as much as 12 people sitting on it on some occasions! We even celebrated Christmas here, we just placed our big wooden kitchen table in the middle and then it was easy to create a festive feel with the fireplace, a Christmas tree and some candles. During the day, we might just work on our laptops or read something. Emanuel is the one who is playing the guitars and the saxophone sometimes.
WOW – In the living room we can find so many different items. Is there any special one and why is it part of the living room?
N&E-The artwork is very important to us, since our parents are both artists. We have a mixture of paintings from Emanuel’s Dad, a collage made by Nora herself and a gallery wall with black and white pictures from our wedding and a couple magazines. Also, the wild mix of pillows on the sofa – from French designer to etsy to bo concept – makes us very happy. One of the greatest decisions we ever made was to invest in the electronic fire place: not only does it make the room extra cozy when its lit, but the mantle also serves as a great opportunity to display some cool objects and decorate inspired by the current season. Fun fact: we could never decide on a chandelier for the room, so we just kept the golden Christmas star on and haven‘t changed it until today.
WOW – Do you have favorite spots in your neighborhood?
N&E-We love the c/o gallery on oranienburger str, which is unfortunately gonna move away in 2013. For the best coffee in Berlin we hop over to espresso-ambulanz and have a chat with tjado. We could die over the cakes at Princess Cheesecake. Circleculture Gallery manages to excite us everytime with their selection. Favorite Places to eat are Mantée across the street for a healthy lunch or Katz Orange for a sensual Dinner. For drinks and dancing, Kitty Cheng Bar guarantees a wild night every time!
WOW – To finish, what would you advice to visitors that are new to Berlin?
N&E-Try to find a local and get some tips about their „Kiez“… Other than that, take a trip up on Fernsehturm to overlook the whole city! At night, dress down and take a bar tour over Torstr. Also: Relax and don‘t be afraid of „Berliner Schnauze“ 🙂
If you felt interested to know more about Emanuel Albert and his profesion like Relationship & Comunication Coach access his webpage for more info www.emanuelalbert.de
Credits – Photos by Jesus Pastor
Make up & HairJoaquim Carvalho by Mac Cosmetics
Realized by Celso Da Costa Hamelink