A New Life
„You are leaving the American sector“: the legendary Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin where Russian and American tanks faced off in October 1961, an icon of political divisions and the stage of tragic events until the wall fell in 1989, is now a major tourist attraction in the heart of one of the coolest cities in the world. A short walk from Potsdamer Platz, Unter den Linden boulevard and the Brandenburg Gate, the area has also recently been reinvented as a residential neighbourhood with a series of highly successful developments such as Charlie Living, a complex of four buildings with a contemporary design connected by large courtyards, gardens and a series of small hills. Designed as an independent and self-sufficient community, it offers the residents of its 250 or so apartments ample space for socialising, including a spectacular large rooftop terrace and above all the Club Charlie, which with its large co-working area, gym and lounge complete with fireplace, seating and library has rapidly established itself as the vibrant hub of the neighbourhood.
The project was created by the architects from Rust, a young design studio based in Tel Aviv. All the rooms convey a feeling of warmth and calm thanks to the deep colours of the ceiling, the wood finishes, and the leather and plush fabric furnishings supplied by Scandinavian firm Bolia. The functional areas of the central space are separated by steel and glass partitions, while the walls are decorated with personalised wallpaper illustrated by Israeli artist Tamar Bar with images from the history of East and West Berlin, from the construction of the Wall to the present day: images such as Kennedy’s face during his historic visit to the city, the Ampelmann (the iconic short, chubby „traffic light men“ used as Berlin’s pedestrian crossing symbol), and Checkpoint Charlie.
The project blends modern elements with more nostalgic design features, such as DCW lamps, exposed electrical conduits and oak parquet floors. The „concierge“ area dominated by the dark green tiles of Vogue’s Interni series, chosen in the unusual 5×20 cm size, makes an important contribution to this sense of harmony: „We frequently choose these tiles from Vogue for our projects in Israel because we appreciate the wide range of colours and sizes, which allows us to experiment with the design and achieve the precise result we want,“ says Raanan Stern from Rust. „Here, for example, we chose a dark green colour and a distinctly narrow, tall size to create a powerful, high-impact entrance. You see the powerful effect created by the single colour divided up over a large number of tiles? It’s classic yet ultra-modern at the same time. I also really like the matt finish, so exclusive and far removed from the traditional image of a bathroom or kitchen tile, and ideal for living rooms or indeed any living space.“
The retro flavour is also in evidence in the gym, a small but beautifully designed fitness area complete with a large neon sign taken from a seventies Berlin sports hall. All the luxury fitness machines, including a water rowing machine and a bicycle, are made from natural materials such as wood and upholstered in imitation camel skin.