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Since last summer, there is a beautiful hidden wood furniture store in Berlin with a nice café inside, where you can try freshly baked bread and enjoy a glass of wine in a beautiful garden full of warmth and a homely atmosphere. Architect and designer Katja Buchholz was inspired by natural wood because of its temperature, smell and warm feeling in order to create special home items. Now she owns the Buchholzberlin shop, where she sells products made of wood and leather. 
I would like to start from the very beginning; how did you become involved in design?
Everything began with my grandmother. She lived in a very big flat with a collection of a bit of everything, and I was fascinated by all the stuff I saw there. Then I studied Architecture at the UDK, and there I was taught to organize myself. Later on, I worked for David Chipperfield for almost 6 years and this was for sure the design direction that I totally had in mind.
How was the idea of Buchholzberlin born? 
My husband and I started off setting up a little shop, and that made us realize that we wanted something more than just a furniture shop. One day, my husband was walking down the street when he spotted a place that was exactly what we needed and, suddenly, a lady asked him, “Can I help you?” The thing was that the lady, who turned out to be the owner of that shop, was in Berlin just for a day and, besides, she was looking for someone who could make something special and put all their heart and soul into the place. So everything pointed to us creating our dream workplace there.
The place is full of warmth and soul; it’s impossible not to feel it. How did you do it?
That’s because of the history of this place. In the past, the first Bauhaus in Berlin was set here, so this place is full of artistic energy. The owner told me stories about the time when women earned some money and did everything they could to come to this place in the evening to dance.

I notice that you use unusual wood as well as leather; the colours and shapes are so special. Tell me more about your materials.
We have a very special high-quality, local wood manufacturer. My point is that all the materials should not be very predictable or modern. Leather comes from a cow raised in special conditions, that’s why the colour is different. It is also manufactured with flowers; that’s why the smell is so nice.
How does the process of creating one particular product look like?
Most of the materials come to us naturally, and that’s why almost all of the stuff has its own history. For instance, my uncle Norbert once gave me some very old oak planks as a present and I made the first oak table out of them: The Norbert Table. 
What part of the work process do you like the most?
I guess the result, when I feel movement inside of me, when people are happy about what we’ve made for them.

What inspires you?
My grandmother. My uncle. David Chipperfield. Old furniture as well.
Out of everything you’ve ever made, what are you the most proud of and why?
Some time ago, David Chipperfield asked me to help him with a project for Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt, who is the former FC Bayern Munich doctor. I was looking for movable furniture. I found Bavarian bio leather for the sofas and benches and, of course, we made the wooden conference table out of old oak beams. I am very proud of this project. 
Are you thinking about taking one step forward with Buchholzberlin?
It’s a very serious decision. For us it’s important to stay as warm and homely as we are now.

For whom would you like to create something?  
For my husband David – I adore him so much.
Could you describe your work in two words?
Natural and timeless.
Compare your art to one song.
Années de Pèlerinage by Franz Lizst, played by Alfred Brendel.

Words & pictures
Alexandra Serafimovich

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