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Celebrating Global Design

Celebrating Global Design: Germany

by Garrett Fleming

Celebrating Global Design: Germany, Design*Sponge Today our tour of global design brings us to Germany. For some Germans you’ll hear from below, the practical side of decorating reigns supreme, meaning function comes before form. Instead of being carefree with design choices, these creative individuals tediously think through how a space should be used and what will work best within it. Furthermore, every piece they pick must reliably fulfill its purpose and then some. All in all, homes in this style are very considered.

This laser focus on functionality doesn’t mean all the spaces in Germany are rigid or lifeless. In a way, this attention to detail actually makes homes there even more interesting and humanistic. With every corner thoughtfully planned and each detail given much attention, even the most streamlined houses become extensions of those who live inside. They showcase their owner’s way of thinking, and that’s the most personal accessory of all. Scroll down to learn more, and enjoy! —Garrett

P.S. Check out everywhere else we’ve celebrated in this column here.

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A carefully handpicked mixture of textures helps the Uetze home of Glenn Garriock and Heather – which is inside an old British Army hanger – look anything but too stark and uninviting.

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“There’s an ingenious magic in the sheer perfection of a [hexagonal] socket screw… We delight in these things. They work – and they keep on working perfectly – for ages. In Germany, functionality is evident in the design of appliances, furniture, cars, buildings and brand logos.” – Stuttgart, Germany’s Andreas Uebele. Portrait by Joachim Baldauf.

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Andreas’ home is very streamlined. Instead of using sentimental items to highlight his personal style, he decorates with mirrors and simple furniture. This trick lets the building’s 100 years worth of history do the talking.

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“My design style is very un-German but at the same time very German. I [was] born and raised in Germany but am of Nigerian Yoruba heritage. Growing up in Germany I was very structured and secure [which] gave me the opportunity to develop and nurture my creative potential.” – Eva Sonaike. Portrait by Anna Stathaki. Eva currently lives and works in London.

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Writer Katrin Scharl and her husband Moritz’s home is in Brandenburg, a rural area near Berlin. This unobstructed view from the living room into their dining room is what sold Katrin on the space.

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Author, blogger and interior stylist Julia Ballmaier and her husband Horst’s home was built in 1548. As a nod to its long history, they’ve exposed these eye-catching beams.

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“To me German design felt unique because of the seamless confluence of old and new. It was scrappy and blown out at one turn and incredibly precise and considered at another.” – Bryson Gill. Bryson previously worked and lived in Germany. He currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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Irina Graewe admits the chairs in her home office aren’t comfortable, but she loves how well they pair with her collection of all-white accessories. She says the lack of visual stimulation helps her concentrate.

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“German design is all about quality and usability. I love that it’s not enough for something to be beautiful [but that] it has to last for decades and must be practical and functional.” – Berlin’s Timea Gremsperger.

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Timea’s home in Berlin is filled with overflow from her shop Mighty Vintage. Many of the decorations are from the 1950s and were made right here in Germany.

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“I think interior design in Germany is heavily focused on craftsmanship. Something that is quite noticeable is the amount of cool furniture you often find in people’s homes that was either self-made or came from one of the many cool trödelmarkts and carefully-curated vintage furniture stores.” – Maggie Coker, co-founder of Greenhouse Mentality. Portrait by Barbara Cilliers.

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For good luck, Maggie painted the doors in her home turquoise, as seen in the hallway.

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The gallery wall in Elif and Senthuran’s Berlin apartment displays artwork from a variety of movements. The frames are collected from local thrift stores and flea markets.

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“German design (takes) a very functional and pragmatic approach above all. It leans towards a minimalistic, functional and thoughtful aesthetic thus making German design sometimes less salient but very useful and beneficial.” – Igor Josifovic, founder of Happy Interior Blog.

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The pragmatic approach to design Igor spoke about is evident in his Munich apartment. Small furniture pieces – like these two tables – are highly functional. They offer great flexibility for when Igor wants to switch things up or entertain.

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