KaDeWe’s Customer Service Area by Vanessa Heepen and Claire Wildenhues.

By Dana Tomić Hughes on Oct 19, 2020 05:30 am

Young Berlin-based multidisciplinary designer Vanessa Heepen straddles the worlds of creative direction, spatial design and event production, seeking to deliver spaces that are equally functional and laced with a singular atmosphere. Her latest project, a customer service area for Berlin’s department store KaDeWe, is a real testament to this approach.

I have to admit that when I first saw the images of this interior, I thought they were renders rather than the real thing. And this is precisely where the magic of the atmosphere lies because I feel that Vanessa pushed the overall aesthetic into the realms of the virtual while creating the physical.

She worked with product and interior designer, Claire Wildenhues, to transform KaDeWe’s 5th floor, once known as the traditional Silberterrasse house restaurant, which occupied the same space for more than a century.

As an homage to the architectural zeitgeist of Silberterrasse, the wood-panelled rooms of old Charlottenburg have been transported into modernity. The new face of the customer service area moves away from static, dark and heavy into a space that feels bright, dynamic and open.

The curved oak lamella wall and organically shaped glass lights lead visitors inside from the hallway. A material language inspired by the city of Milan opens up into three visually divided areas. The designers name contemporary creators like the director Luca Guadagnino, sculptor Constantin Brancusi, French architect Charlotte Perriand, Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata and German actress, singer and writer Hildegard Knef as their main sources of inspiration.

The clear order established by the lamella wall in the customer service area is replaced by a playful design language in the lounge, which merges with sculptural qualities seen in the hospitality area. The central information counter consists of two elements differing in shape and materials symbolic of a spatial transition. During the day, semi-transparent net curtain separate the lounge from the busy customer service. In the evening, the opaque azure blue curtain unites the gastronomy and lounge into one exclusive area.

Two bespoke seating elements emerged from the new interior for KaDeWe – ‘Taramon’ chaise longue and ‘Lucablu’ sofa. Taramon features quilted pistachio-green upholstery, brown smoked glass and a concrete base, designed for a short stay in the customer service area. The same quilting on the seat is repeated on a bench located in the hallway. In the lounge, the Lucablu sofa in vibrant blue is the essential component for this area’s design. The same concrete base used for Taramon can be also found on the Lucablu.

A collection of additional sculptural furniture pieces and accessories from brands like Noom, E15, Foscarini, Ege Carpets, Kvadrat, Kartell, Daniel Tucker, HAY and &Tradition complement the highly-directional visual language.