When the opportunity arose for Berlin-based architect Ester Bruzkus to move from the second to the top floor of her apartment building in Prenzlauerberg, a charming neighborhood of bohemian bonhomie and hipster flair, she jumped at the chance to re-imagine her living space with fresh ideas, not to mention the chance to enjoy panoramic views of Berlin. The result is an idiosyncratic apartment that encapsulates all the qualities of Ester’s architecture and interior design practice Ester Bruzkus Architekten: efficient planning, playful material and colour juxtapositions, bespoke furniture, and exquisitely crafted details.
Located in the first apartment building constructed after the fall of the Berlin wall in Prenzlauerberg, the property in its original state was an open-plan loft stretching between the building’s east and west glazed facades, with narrow terraces on both sides. Ester has radically changed this layout by introducing a series of geometric volumes that divide the apartment in separate yet connected areas, and by extending the narrow raised platforms, which run along the length of the wall-to-wall windows, into the interior.
This sense of wonder is further titillated by a slew of clever surprises. An austere wall of gray-painted wooden slats conceals a brightly painted blue wardrobe, the oak-panelled volume contains a cubist bathtub of light gray marble terrazzo, next to which is a Carrara marble washbasin block set below a wallpaper based on Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The biggest surprise though awaits guests outside, where an exterior staircase leads to a private roof garden designed in collaboration with landscape architect Anja Knoth, offering sweeping views over the whole of Berlin. Conceived as a series of volumes and platforms and styled with oriental references, the decked roof garden reflects both the morphology and the colourful élan of the apartment below, as well as Ester’s unique sense of style..