Portfolio: No Wódka, Berlin

This store's temporary aesthetic allows flexibility
Posted October 29, 2014

If German shoppers are looking for vodka in this all-things-Polish store in the bohemian area of Berlin known as Prenzlauer Berg, the sign says they’d better look elsewhere.

But if they’re looking for Polish design and fashion – furniture, clothes, accessories and art objects – they’ve come to the right place. No Wódka opened as a pop-up store in the spring for Berlin Style Week, and has remained at its Pappelallee address, in a raw, industrial space created by the Warsaw architecture studio, Kontent.

“The idea behind No Wódka is to rebuild the common clichés about Poland,” says Kontent’s Marcin Giemza, “and to create a new way of interpreting and using the space that can be rearranged each time needed.”

The spare look of the mostly white space, filled with pipe racks, steel scaffolding beams, plywood boards, metal mesh and industrial tubing, is to serve as a neutral background for the colorful items.

“The store seeks to echo the feel of coming in off the sidewalk and entering a wardrobe,” Giemza says.

If it looks and feels temporary, it’s meant to. Giemza says the idea is to be something more than a regular store. It has been hosting art exhibitions, fashion shows, workshops and cultural exchanges, as well as parties and dances, and it has served as a temporary merchandising space for the introduction of new Polish brands.

The space is designed to be ultimately flexible. “The space can be rearranged each time as needed,” says Giemza. “As scaffolding is a temporary structure, there are no elements fixed to the walls.”

The construction is easy to assemble, with just a scaffolding key. The coupler components of the system allow plywood boards to be positioned at different platform heights.

“The client loves geometric, straight and symmetric shapes, so we thought a scaffolding system would be a perfect answer,” Giemza says. “It also addresses the need for a low budget.”

No Wódka, Berlin

Design and Architecture
Kontent, Warsaw, Poland
Architects in charge: Marcin Giemza, Monika Ryszka; collaboration: Jakub Kubiński

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Photography: Zajaczkowski Photography, Wroclaw, Poland