In Berlin, Seeking a Different FutureSHE GRADUATED FROM BOCCONI A YEAR AGO. NOW CLARA DEL GENIO WORKS FOR ZALANDO, THE ETAILER HEADQUARTERED IN THE GERMAN METROPOLIS
The real soul of Berlin, full of life and free from conformism, suddenly emerges when you leave the trodden paths along the monuments and the city’s most famous buildings. The rejection of the notion of forbidden is inherent in the soul of this metropolis that managed to bring down one of the most obvious barriers dividing humankind: the Wall, which divided the city and the world in two for almost thirty years. In fact, Berlin’s extreme tolerance has made people from all over Europe and the rest of the world come here to avail themselves of the opportunity of a different future. Each of them brought their own talent, but also a piece of the culture of their country of origin: this is the reason why the city keeps transforming, with its places taking a second and totally unexpected life.
A telling example is Weinbergspark, the park located in the Mitte district that was used as a vineyard until 1920s: it is in this green oasis that Nola's am Weinberg is located, a Swiss chalet that offers traditional, wholesome Swiss dishes. Approaching the Brandenburg Gate, the nineteenth-century Hamburger Bahnhof railway station has been restored and converted into an exhibit hall for contemporary art, the Museum für Gegenwart. Speaking of trains, the Bücherbogen am Savignyplatz bookstore, near the Berlin Zoo station, is located right under the rails, in spaces that were once warehouses where goods were amassed: it is said that this store specializing in art and cinema books is a favorite hangout of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. In Knaackstraße in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, the Schultheiss brewery was transformed into a creative arts village, the Kulturbrauerei, which houses cinemas, theaters, art galleries and restaurants; inside, a permanent museum tells about life under the communist German Democratic Republic.
Another popular destination for Berliners is Holzmarkt, the new eco-tech district born from the gentrification of the industrial area located between the Ostbahnof station and the Spree river. Animated by hipster culture with punk and hippie streaks, this neighborhood gives paramount importance to environmental and social sustainability, as well as techno music that gives rhythm to the night with the famous Kater Blau venue. Also in terms of food, Berlin reflects its multiethnic nature, ranging from the Yafo Restaurant, in Gormannstraße, which re-visits the festive atmosphere of Tel Aviv to the Contadino sotto le stelle, in Auguststraße, where you can taste authentic Italian cuisine; from the Damascus Konditorei in Sonnenallee, a Syrian pastry shop in Kreuzberg, to the Klunkerkranich in Karl-Marx-Strasse, a club set up on the top a multistorey parking lot offering a spectacular view of Berlin.
edited by Allegra Gallizia
CLARA DEL GENIO
After graduating from Bocconi in International Management, she moved to Berlin in 2017, to attend the e-commerce training program offered by Zalando. It is an 18-month program for young managers who want to work in online retailing, and provides a multifunction experience in the various divisions of the group, including marketing, planning & management, retailing, and development strategies on social media channels.
by Clara del Genio
Translated by Alex Foti