A Berlin Love Affair with Jules Villbrandt
See the creative’s haunts for art, design, and food
For Jules Villbrandt, Berlin is the city of pure freedom. The founder of the design and lifestyle platform Herz & Blut, which she has run for over 12 years, doesn’t know a place as diverse as the German capital: “Berlin is always changing, which I like.” She has lived here for over a decade – she grew up in the north of Berlin – and so has seen galleries, restaurants, and other creative spaces come and go. “I love the vivid vibe it still has. Its DIY-DNA is still there, and I hope it will stay forever.”
With Herz & Blut, Jules portrays people who do things from the heart; she is as joyful as her picture of Berlin as a creative and innovative metropolis suggests. Jules loves that each Kiez has its own spirit. “Don’t ask me how and why I landed in Wedding. Everyone always jokes that it will become overly hyped. But I don’t really care. What I love about it is that, though they can be special, sometimes rough even, at the end of the day, people are quite charming and warm,” she says.
A perfect day in Berlin for Jules is in spring and summer, when “it’s a completely different city.” It starts with a walk to one of the many coffee shops around, goes on with a trip to Humboldthain outdoor pool, and ends with dinner at a cosy restaurant. Continuing her love affair with the city, she takes you to some of her favourite spots.
Wedding is my home since 2006. For me, it’s where the world comes together. At Nettelbergplatz, for instance, where late-night shops meet sleek restaurants like Julius Ernst. I love this rough but lovely neighbourhood so much. For places like Hansis Brot, a bakery that’s less hyped than other Berlin spots.
Wedding is also Maison Palmé’s base, the creative studio I run with my older sister, Maria-Silva. It’s our workspace, but we also host events, parties, and even turn it into an art gallery at times. There’s always people and food around, and I can’t wait to enjoy the summer on the balcony again!
Hansaviertel is perfect for a long walk through Berlin. You’ll see stunning buildings by well-known Modern architects and designers like Alvar Aalto, Werner Düttmann, Egon Eiermann, Walter Gropius, Arne Jacobsen, and Oscar Niemeyer.
Books! What else is there to say? This lovely Wedding bookshop features a wide selection of art and design books – and the interiors to match. The owners intentionally present all books by themes rather than alphabetically, and regularly open the space for readings, workshops, and more.
I love having a roastery nearby; it’s in the same building as Maison Palmé. It’s one of the best coffees in town, and you can buy freshly roasted beans and barista equipment. The street itself was rather quiet before Coffee Circle opened – today, it’s always bustling with locals from all walks of life.
I’m so happy that the Neue Nationalgalerie is back open! I missed this place: it’s not just one of the most beautiful buildings in Berlin, but definitely our favourite museum in the city, with an amazing collection of Modern art.
This contemporary art gallery is always a good idea. The exhibitions within the monumental Brutalist St Agnes Church are always different – I love that I get to see some of the world’s most famous artists and a huge variety of media including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography, and performance.