Seeing Through a Mystery Boutique in Berlin
We were standing in the Mitte in trendy East Berlin, and although I'm a maestro in the art of parting with my money at retail, I was pretty much stumped.
The only object in the window display was a bike, so that was my first guess, but no. Beyond that, I could see a couple of comfortable black leather couches, some wooden cabinets, a mannequin head and a sign that said The Whitest Boy Alive. (Sorry about the glare in the picture there, it was a cloudy day. Check out the gallery below if you want to see what other evidence I had to consider.)
A shopper I am, but a detective I am not. I gave up, and Henrick pointed out the telling clue on the mannequin head: glasses. We were standing at the Berlin home of ic! Berlin the trendy high-end German glasses manufacturer. (I see Berlin, get it?) A further clue that I'd missed was a sheet of stamped metal propped in the window, as the company manufactures its incredibly lightweight glasses without screws. (Screwless-spring-hinge-insert-system, says the company's quirky literature -- as best as I can piece it together from it, the whole enterprise got started in 1996.) ic Berlin! regularly wins design awards for its hand-crafted eyewear, which are all made in the city, and run in the $400-$600 price range.
Just a few blocks down Henrik led me to another store whose product I was able to figure out immediately: Mykita. In 2003, there was apparently a great schism between the five founders of ic! Berlin, and two, Philipp Haffmans and Harald Gottschling went on to found Mykita, which also hand-creates lightweight glasses without screws. Find either company's screwless specs at their East Berlin locations, through fine opticians or, in the case of Mykita at a second retail store just opened in Vienna.
Gallery: Glasses Made in Berlin