Gerl mansion, Berlin

Interior fittings in library, entrance hall and wardrobe room, diverse furnishings

Completion 2000


Professor Hans Kollhoff wanted to create a mansion in the tradition of Hermann Muthesius, Peter Behrens, Bruno Paul or Mies van der Rohe for his client Dr. Andreas Gerl in Berlin-Dahlem. The radiance of the house and its interior derives from craftsmanship of the highest standards. That holds just as true for the traditional three-layer plaster on the rear-ventilated external facing as it does for Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau’s contribution, the custom creation of almost all the furniture inside the Gerl mansion. Hans Kollhoff demanded the highest quality – and that on a tight schedule: the work was awarded in September, the interior construction was to be finished before Christmas. And this was extensive work – from the Garden Room, with its bluish-grey and white marble slab pattern mated with gilded steel blue panelling, to the ground floor grand hall, where chocolate-brown stained oak is rising to the ceiling. The panelling then follows the stairs and eventually becomes parapet panelling upstairs. We also installed the banister. For the library, we created a finely articulated and gracile wall unit incorporating polished glass. Whilst walnut predominates here, the walnut veneer panelling was combined with mahogany furniture in the dining room. Even the breakfast room baseboards sport wood panelling. Ceiling-high European cherry wood frames, stained and fabric-covered, rise upward and conceal five built-in cabinets, also extending to the ceiling. A true jewel is the ladies dressing room, comprising cabinets with clothes rods and shelves, drawers, stacking areas and mirrored surfaces. Like mother-of-pearl, the wavy grain birch of the door panels and panelling as well as all the fronts to the inner hallway is lustre at almost every turn. Makassar veneer was used for the frames, screens, cover strips, drawers and doors within the wardrobe room to provide contrast. Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau used European birch, a tranquil, unassuming veneer to line the built-in furnishings including the shelves. The library houses ceiling-high bookcases, the only free spaces remaining at the windows and doors plus a small niche, also featuring a veneered rear wall. These walnut library installations, made with the greatest of care by Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau, live up to the high demands placed on them. The books are protected against dust by finely articulated and gracile winged doors incorporating polished glass. The display cabinets extend to the upper edge of the window lintel, above which is a peripheral band of upper cabinets, likewise adorned with glazed doors. Their bases accommodate drawers and wood-covered storage areas. In the dining room, three walls were graced with parapet walnut panelling, the other was given a textile covering atop a frame of wood lathing.

Text: Anke Müller
Photo: Bernadette Grimmenstein