Andreas Murkudis inspects archived fabric rolls released by Dries Van Noten
Well known to Berlin residents, retail proprietor Andreas Murkudis spent 20 years working in a museum setting and his monocle eye of curation has spawned into a successful business venture under his own name. With a wide-eyed appreciation for prominent and burgeoning pieces within the arts: in contemporary fashion design, object design and furniture, he ardently believes in his store ethos to sell goods which have unsurmountable quality to with which he most recently opening a new 1000 square metre space in Potsdamer Straße, 10 minutes by car south-west from the centre of Berlin. The previous occupied space in Mitte situated itself behind a courtyard, shielded itself away from the pedestrian front and presented an unique store concept abstaining from conspicuous self-explanatory products and shop signage.
Murkudis’ previous occupied space designed by Haase and Gonzales in Mitte, Berlin
The Murkudis store in central Berlin of Mitte was conceptualised by Berlin based architects Julia Hasse and Pierre Jorge Gonzales. Both architects stressed the spatial importance of artificial lighting within the interior space to mimic the sun’s luminance due to the city’s premature sunset whilst simultaneously producing an uncluttered space: geometric domes flushed to the vitrine white walls, column divisions with a main castored ladder that kept individual displayed products as gleaning purchasables. It is this kind of polished beauty with brutalist shades counteracting a whitewash interior that Murkudis emotionally responds to. “I want to see my favourite things and find the time with my customers, explain to them how things are produced and I also need silence. To change the store, work with the architects and change the displays, I’m 24/7 in the store.” he told global affairs publication Monocle last year.
A number of focal criterias were in place when upon establishing the airport hangar scale of the Potsdamer Straße space. Previously occupied by the German national newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Murkudis’ decree was to seamlessly translate visual silence from his Mitte store location and the close engagement of designed products with his customers. Compared to Mitte, Potsdamer Straße’s scale is momentus demonstrated by its height of vertigo and the colossal scale of its structural pillars. The virtine white walls and smaller rooms appear perpetually infinite with its unpolished oak flooring and yet the luminance of the central white plinths conspires to draw visitors’ attention. Architects Julia Haase and Pierre Jorge Gonzales demonstrate their dual backgrounds in theatre set design and sceneography of which the arrangement of the plinthed leather shoes and accessories is positioned from a one-point perspective.
Murkudis’ valued customers of whom he says will follow him to his new location will soon become de-sensitised by the sheer monolithic scale of its space, replaced by the curiosity and familiarity of his reassuring shopkeeper’s presence and his offered products. “We have more normal people and they are more creative and I like to hear about their plans and projects… it’s more personal and like family” he explains again to Monocle.
Peculiar as to the reasons one might ask about the sudden getaway move to south-west from Germany’s capital, speaking with Eva-Maria Hilker, Murkudis divulges that it was not because of rising rent in the Mitte area, “It’s not about the rent. I had a lease for three to six years, I wasn’t forced to leave. My landlord would have liked to see me stay in Mitte. But the environment has changed. Everyone else I knew was priced out. I was left surrounded by chain stores.” Hilker responds to Murkudis’ choice of ‘chain stores’ and further says, “To me, it’s just industrial production devoid of passion. They go to all the “hip” places and dislodge everyone else, even those that pioneered the development. I’m a victim of my own profession. But that’s the way it goes. The old Espresso-Bar was frozen out of the area. The hairdresser had to go, so did Pro-Quadratmeter, which was a very special book store. All those shops with unique ideas had to go because rents would triple or quadruple when old lease contracts ended. The only types of stores that can persist on those conditions are COS and Adidas.”
In Murkudis’ explanation Mitte had become awashed with global brands and those fashionably high street leaving him a personal choice to identify his store in a new slowly gentrified area – Potsdamer Straße was once a haven for drug distribution and street prostitution. With flair and vivacity, Murkudis wholeheartedly believes that his customers will once again join him on a regular basis at its new location for which rather than window-shopping the latest fashion styles, clients as he endearingly calls them will be indulged by products steeped in heritage and production that on an industrial scale would be called antiquated.
Cashmere sweaters by 18th century Scottish makers Johnston of Eligin (used also by the likes of his brother Kostas a German fashion designer and British designer Christopher Kane), the infamous white stitched labeling of Maison Martin Margiela’s and French house Celine, to the decorated furnishings by jewellery designer Stephanie Schneider, Julian Menthel, skincare by Susanne Kaufmann and not least German furniture company E15 all of whom are showcased proudly within a space-age environ.
30 fabric rolls from Dries Van Noten’s 12 seasons are placed with up to 5 at the customer’s choosing. Photography by Welt.de
To exemplify Murkudis’ uncomprising modus operandi, esteemed Belgian designer Dries Van Noten more recently setup an in-house customisation taking place until the 15th of September. An incoming customer will be allowed to purchase an unique dress of her own whereby stock rolls of archived silk floral and pictorial prints made by Van Noten himself can be printed in five positions on the silk dress (from his Automne 2011 collection). A conduit of laid fabric rolls on expansive wooden tables is at the ready and smaller fabric samples with descriptions seat adjacent at the customer’s disposal. After a couple of weeks, back from Van Noten’s atelier will the customer find a finely hand-constructed bespoke silk dress.
At Potsdamer Straße, lies a store called Andreas Murkudis. Here, you won’t find belle de jour goods. It’s an edited selection of products made for enjoyable living. Within its confines will you find artisanal made garments, jewellery, leather accessories and furniture pieces that are claustrophobically fragrant with good design. Andreas Murkudis is a testament to a rich tapestry of savoir-faire.
Andreas Murkudis – www.andreasmurkudis.com