Artek will establish a foothold on the German market in October 2011 in collaboration with do you read me?!. To be opened at Potsdamer Strasse 98, the new store will include a concept reading room designed by Artek together with Mark Kiessling.
Apart from a profusion of galleries, the area is becoming the place where to hunt for rare books, design and personal fashion. The new bookshop is located opposite the former printing house and offices of the legendary Der Tagesspiegel newspaper. The address is shared by the new concept store of Andreas Murkudis which has gained popularity in art and fashion circles.
The do you read me?! shop was founded a few years ago in the district of Mitte in East Berlin by graphic designer Mark Kiesling and bookseller professional Jessica Reitz. They wanted to set up a shop they themselves would like to visit.
“The idea was to create a place which would serve design professionals and graphic designers as well as everyone who loves visually rich specialty magazines and books,” says Mark Kiesling.
Do you read me?! soon acquired a cult status thanks to its rough and simple decor and handpicked selection of magazines and books. Carefully chosen titles cover a wide range of art, culture, fashion, design, architecture, photography, music, politics and business. Among the more eclectic titles on the black shelves are also familiar names like Domus, Monocle, Vogue and Selfservice.
Kiesling says people specifically visit the shop from as far away as China, United States and even Finland. “Managing director Mirkku Kullberg from Artek came first to our shop as a customer, and we got into talking about books. I especially like the history and heritage of Artek, and the furniture designed 80 years ago by a great and influential man.”
Artek has always had its roots in international communities of professionals in contemporary art, industrial design and publishing. The pioneering founders of Artek – Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils Gustav Hahl – were dedicated to promoting new ideas in urban planning, architecture and applied arts.
Cooperation with a cult bookshop in Berlin is a natural continuation of this trajectory. Alvar Aalto designed many libraries and university buildings which were seminal for the development of Nordic modernism. The current values of Artek promote ethical, aesthetic, ecological and educational culture. Collaboration with the do you read me?! bookshop can only further these values.
Last June, do you read me?! and Artek joined forces at Art Basel Miami by setting up a reading room where people could relax, read books and magazines, exchange ideas and make reading lists of their favourite publications.
“The idea of the reading room and reading list was a response to people’s need to discover new titles, exchange information and learn and tell others about them. We simply ask people to name their favourite titles,” Kiesling says.
According to Kiesling, the shop at Potsdamer Strasse will be a unique combination of a small library, a research centre and a bookshop.
“Our goal is to develop and continue the reading room concept at design festivals in London and Berlin, and possibly also in connection with Artek’s contribution to the Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 programme.”
The decor of the reading room at do you read me?! will consist of Artek 60 stools, Aalto benches, unfinished Enzo Mari chairs and White table lamps. Ambient lighting will be provided by Artek’s bright light and Bilberry lamps.
Kiesling finds it interesting that Artek collaborates with young designers and projects. He thinks it’s great to see how the company has stuck to its guns in a time of volatile fashion and trends.
“Artek’s operations are extremely smart, because there is too much stuff on the market which nobody really needs,” Kiesling sums up.
Text by Tiina Alvesalo