PLACES Life on the Inside

Design notes from the forest floor

Architect and designer Katja Buchholz has never found herself too far from the forest nor the city. It’s a balance that has become her personal measure of comfort and governed her interior design.

Growing up on western fringe of the city by the Grunewald forest, her grandmother passed onto her the lores of the woods. Today she transfers this knowledge to her furniture studio BuchholzBerlin, founded after she diverged from an architecture career at Chipperfield. Travelling by word of mouth, Buchholz’s designs became known for its solid and yet fluid wooden pieces, hewn to have perfect character, not form. Ecologically and socially minded, it uses local wood that had reason to be felled and the pieces are assembled at a handicapped workshop. Here in her home, her interior leanings stem directly from her life of contrasts, cement meets wood and plants make their home on the balcony, facing the housing blocks opposite.

Growing up, my grandmother and I were often out in the forest. She knew every tree by its name and through I also learned all of these things: we foraged for nettles, planted spinach, watered flowers.

BuchholzBerlin's bed with The Duvet

I’m sure these experiences are the reason that wood has played such an important in my life. It’s soft, it smells good, has a great colour to it and can worked on with relative ease. Wood has an almost human-like quality to it.

The city offers up so much inspiration. Nature does too, but in another way. People inspire me. Berlin is not a normal big city, it’s more like a small town, which is why I feel so comfortable.

I always find it interesting when contrasts meet, and I think that’s something that’s happening in general at the moment. In recent years we’ve really begun to focus more on nature and I don’t think that this tendency is going to lessen at all.

I’m also not really a decisive person. What’s important for my career is that I’m enjoying myself, that I like what I’m doing, and that it makes sense.

Here in the Scheunenviertel the buildings are really low, you can walk out on the street, because it’s a cycling zone. You often find yourself bumping into people you know. Being out in nature on the weekend and during the week in the city. That’s the perfect mix.

The BuchholzBerlin pieces are almost never completely perfect, there’s always a kind of ‘accident’, as I call it. But that makes the products also sort of living and that for me is meaningful.

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