It’s off to Berlin, Germany for our monthly Design Store(y) shopping fix. Lars Triesch opened Original in Berlin in September 2010, and with a recent move to a new location, Original in Berlin is now the biggest mid-century modern store in town. Triesch, who is passionate about mid-century pieces, from furniture and accessories to music and cars, offers vintage and new products. Recently he’s been concentrating on acquiring a larger collection of Scandinavian, French, Dutch, Italian, and American design furniture as well. An in-house workshop staffed with upholsterers and carpenters handle restoration or custom requests. Let’s have a look inside.
Tell us what’s in the window. It all looks amazing!
The inside of the shop window is a stage! From left to right [above]: Naked Gordon Martz Lamps, George Nelson Side Tables, Carlo Ratti Side Chairs, Augusto Bozzi Side Chairs, Mategot Bellevue Coffee Table, Alain Gaubert Lounge Chair, Guillerme et Chambron Tripod Chair, and Verner Panton Relaxer.
How did you pick this location?
When I was first looking around for a space, I thought about a factory space, and that people would come in by appointment. But prices were nearly the same for storefronts on Karl-Marx-Allee. The street is totally underrated. Seventy thousand cars pass by every day, it is close to the TV tower and Alexanderplatz, which is the absolute center in Berlin. And, it has such a big shop window front. It was quite an easy decision in the end. It is a great 1950s building, designed by by the German architect Hermann Henselmann. Really, there was no question. If you look on the left in the photo, you can see the Berlin televison tower.
Where did you get the name for the store?
In the world of design furniture you always listen to that question, ” Is that an original?” So, to clear up this topic up front, before you are even in the store, I decided to go with ORIGINAL IN BERLIN.
Has it changed much since you opened? How?
Yes, Karl-Marx-Allee gets more and more attention, from art galleries, interior stores, and design-based businesses. I hope that this street will be the forthcoming art, design and interiors district in Berlin.
What other stores have you worked in before opening this one?
What’s your background?
As a kid, I started to play drums in different bands. My taste in music, as my own playing progressed, went from early ’80s American indie punk rock to ’50s and ’60s garage bands. I liked the look of the ’50s greasers, and so at the age of 18, I got my first collectors car, a 1956 Chevy Bel Air. So now that I looked like a ’50s era guy with a fitting car, what was missing was for sure was the original interior furnishings for that vintage lifestyle. This is how I got really deep in that field.
What’s one of the challenges you have with the business?
Our challenge is to build a store that shows also handcrafted workman skills, since upholstery and woodworking is included in the store. We want to give our customer a different feeling for the pieces and show them the restoration steps and material knowledge. We just use high quality products for our restoration. We really like to use colorful fabrics on our furniture that needed a new cover. Check out our pink George Nelson Sofa. It brings every grey winter day back to a sunny place. Another very important challenge is to grow the collection in a mix of very different design pieces from all over the world in nearly every price range.
Jaques Blin Ceramic Table Lamp on top of a Charlotte Perriand Cansado Sideboard by Steph Simon
What’s your favorite item in the store right now?
For sure our Charlotte Perriand Cansado Sideboard [above]. That said, I like every single piece in my shop. As a vintage dealer, you are always caught between keeping pieces for yourself and selling them.
Georges Jouve Ceramic Pitcher
What is this season’s theme/inspiration/story?
This season is very American modern, with Paul McCobb, George Nelson, Eames, Tony Paul, etc. Also, I am really concentrated on French ’50s, like Mategot, Perriand, Gautier-Delaye, and Jouve.
Carl Auböck Walter Gropius Set
Are you carrying any new products that you’re particularly excited about?
Yes, I am selling new Alexander Girard products, American modern Russel Wright pottery, George Nelson Bubble Lamps, Bullet Planters, and a huge collection of Carl Auböck pieces.
Wooden University Tandem Bench 1950s with Fiberglas Side Shells by Charles Eames for Herman Miller
Are there designers that sell consistently well?
America meets Italy with this Ico Parisi Table and Paul McCobb Dining Chair Set by Calvin
Does the store have its own line?
Not yet, but we are working on it.
Any special events, exhibits, or collaborations coming up?
There are also some collabs planned, but nothing to talk about just yet. I will keep you posted though.
Charlotte Perriand Tripod Chair and a Alain Gaubert Neckrest
Do you have anything from the store in your own home?
Yes, and I change my home collection quite a lot, so maybe next week it will be totally different.
What’s there today?
I have a collection of different vintage chairs at my table, a first edition Zenith Eames Rocker on an original vintage base, a Soriana Tobia Scarpa Sofa by Cassina, an early Eames Surfboard Table, Wirkkala Lamps, and more.
Visit Original in Berlin at Karl-Marx-Allee 83 10243 Berlin, Germany.