Design Insider have had the opportunity to speak to Justin Harrison from Inside Out Contracts in regards to Berlin – one of the themes for this month. Justin Harrison is the Sales Manager and also Manager of the BCFA member’s Berlin Office.
We are excited to find out the latest opportunities and trends that exist currently in Berlin, from someone who has witnessed first hand!
Originally from Australia, I began work for Inside Out at their London office in 2009 before moving to Berlin to be with my family as well as opening the first Inside Out international office there.
Please tell us more about your Berlin office
At the moment it’s just me in our West Berlin based office. It’s smaller in size than our London office and showroom but is fully furnished by Inside Out and is tailored more for client meetings with a furniture finishes and fabrics library. Berlin is also a very mobile city so I more than often will cycle to visit clients at their own design studios and venues too.
Why did you take the decision to open a Berlin office?
It just so happened that we’d also spotted a growing European market with an increase in our international sales for which we knew we needed to build upon. Germany for us was an obvious choice because of my situation but also because of the ease of doing business and the low risk in entering. We’d also evaluated the furniture market in Germany and found a lot of new emerging furniture makers we could tap into that offered something new to our product catalogue.
So our European office really serves two main purposes from a means of sourcing new German and surrounding European furniture makers, as well as providing a flagship office for our European sales. Since opening we have worked on some really exciting projects such as the roll out of Hudson’s Bay in The Netherlands and the award-wining PGA Resorts in Spain and Portugal.
Berlin to London, Are the markets similar?
Berlin is a very social city, people spend a lot of time working from cafés, meeting in restaurants, and chilling out in bars, so there is a great demand for well-designed and well-furnished communal spaces!
It is similar to London in this sense but the biggest difference I have found is Berlin is currently under going an identity change. Berlin will always be Berlin with its gritty undertones but now there are more luxury hotels and high end restaurants popping up all over the place.
Where do the opportunities in Berlin lie?
Ever since I moved here 6 years ago I’ve noticed that Berlin is really growing as a city, it’s constantly changing, regenerating and is currently moving from being very much rough and ready to becoming more design focussed.
In the process of doing this, it’s become clear to me that Berlin is re-creating its own style. There are lots of new buildings and cool concepts cropping up all over the place and because of this, the opportunities for us to supply furniture are growing in number.
Are there any current trends in Berlin?
Berlin is such a multifaceted city that it’s hard to pin down specific trends. I think Berlin has a reputation for being a melting pot of many different ideas and people, which it is, but it’s starting to create within this a fresher and more minimal look, inspired by contemporary art and the design you can find all around you from the streets to the subways. There’s a fantastic trend of catering to every taste and type of person. Inclusivity is the key to a happy life here in Berlin! We’re also very environmentally and health focussed.
What is the most exciting aspect of the furniture market in Berlin?
To me, the most exciting aspect of the Berlin furniture market is their mastery of mixing old with new. Recycling old pieces and making them fresh, placing them within fresh new environments or vice versa.
Inside Out Contracts has been supplying furniture to businesses since 1999; working to a simple ethos of exceptional products delivered with exceptional customer service. Their diverse network of furniture makers from across the world allows us to be a leader in offering the latest in contract furniture designs and innovations for architects, project managers and interior designers working on commercial projects. You can find information about their works on Design Insider, such as the Milan Collection.
Contact Inside Out Contracts