move over mitte! when the notorious berlin wall fell in 1989 and berlin ceased to be a divided city after almost three decades, the eastern part almost instantly fell prey to expansion urges by individuals and businesses from across the former border who obviously were way more adapted to the mechanisms of capitalism. the infrastructure of the area around alexanderplatz - better known as mitte or center in english, and historically the heart of this sprawling city - proved to be appealing in more ways than one. in a short period of time the area became the most happening part of time, surpassing plush kurfürstendamm as the most popular address for leading hipster brands and retailers to set up shop.
for little over a decade mitte has been berlin's most happening shopping area, but as of late all eyes are transfixed once again on the western part of the city due to the opening of new concept mall bikini berlin. it's situated in tiergarten, a neighbourhood with no reputation as a noteworthy retail hub. but a gradual influx of edgy art galleries in recent years could be seen as an indication that a shift of some sort was going on. it was officially acknowwledged when the stunning andreas murkudis concept store arrived in 2011, followed by the opening of five-star hotel das stue one year later. bikini berlin occupies a mixed-use complex from the 1950s by german architects hans schoszberger and paul schwebes.
it's situated along budapesterstrasse, squeezed in between the landmark kaiser wilhelm memorial church and the berlin zoo, and it was very much part of the post-war reconstruction of the city. the two architects designed complex buildings of different sizes, including a 16-storey high-rise and a cinema building. this was followed by a separate six-storey building which was quickly termed bikinihaus or bikini house by berliners because of its open-sided storey and which was reminiscent of a bare midriff in a bikini, the swimwear item that caused quite a stir at the time. it was initially designed as the head office of the local centre for women's apparel.
due to its modern style and expansive dimensions, bikinihaus became the symbol of berlin's post-war reconstruction. fast forward to the 21st century: since 2010 munich-based project development company bayerische hausbau supervised the redevelopment of the complex with the skillful assistance of belgian architect arne quinze. the maine idea behind his design is the combination of shopping, working and relaxing, complete with a cinema and hotel in an urban setting. given the magnitude of the project, the redevelopment of the bikini berlin concept mall has given a huge impulse to the rather bland surrounding area along the way.
tenants have been tightly curated, creating a cool mix of boutiques, concept and flagship stores, as well as bars, restaurants, various service providers, a cinema and an anchoring design hotel. on the lower three floors of bikini berlin stores are situated hat have not yet been fully established in the german capital's retail scene or the rest of germany. so, which establishments can be found here? well, we've already talked about the opening of 25hours hotel, gestalten pavilion and two new andreas murkudis stores, but other interesting stores on the premises include aspesi, mykita, carhartt w.i.p., supernova and mauro grifoni. so, is tiergarten the new mitte? given the size of the mall project and the incredible buzz it has generated, let's say it's a serious contender. location: budapesterstrasse 38-60 [tiergarten].