As the Wannseebahn train trundles along the ring line towards Grunewald forest, Berlin’s city centre recedes into the distance. When designer Christine Mayer picks me up at Zehlendorf station, one of the first things she mentions is her daily walks around Schlachtensee, one of Berlin’s most picturesque lakes, just a stone’s throw away from her home.
Originally from Germany’s Black Forest region, Christine, a celebrated textile designer and pioneer in upcycling garments, moved out of Berlin’s Mitte district in the city centre a number of years ago to be closer to nature. She had a busy shop on the hip Große Hamburger Straße, but decided to close it down to take life at a slower pace, and spend more time outdoors. ‘Nature restores my batteries, it gives me all the power I need. That, and meditation,’ she explains. Stepping inside her beautiful turn-of-the-century villa, it’s easy to see why you would forgo bustling Mitte for such tranquillity.
Christine's home is serene and light. The spacious rooms are all white, accentuated with herringbone patterned wooden floors and furniture. Christine herself is also dressed almost entirely in white. ‘I love white. There is something very pure about it and my home is like my temple, the place where I can relax and feel myself.’ The word ‘temple’ is an apt description of her home. She pours me a fruit and ginger juice as we sit down to chat, and I notice two large gongs and an impressive collection of Indian and Nepalese singing bowls on the floor.
While many of the rooms are sparsely decorated, in Christine’s home you get the impression that everything has been placed there mindfully, and with purpose. Casting your eye around, you can’t help but notice the striking amount of religious iconography around the house; large wooden crucifixes; pictures of Jesus Christ printed onto wide linen wall hangings; old statues of Ganesh and Buddha.
Arguably some of the most extraordinary features are the number of large wooden church angels on wooden plinths in her living room and bedroom. ‘These old wooden angels are perhaps 200 years old. Each piece is like an anima, and it brings life, I think, whether it’s this angel or an old fabric. If it comes from a chapel or a church, it has a certain kind of history. If a lot of people have prayed around this angel you can feel it. It has a good aura and brings with it this feeling of positive energy.’...
You can read this article in full in Selvedge issue 80, the craft issue.
Christine Mayer will be leading a Free-Draping workshop with Selvedge at Chateau Dumas in the South of France this summer. For more information and to book your place, click here.
Photography by Anne Schwalbe.