Fresh Mint Tea at Barcomi’s Deli at Sophie Gips Courts. in Berlin-Mitte, Germany. © MATT LEMON PHOTOGRAPHY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
“I think mouthwash is as good as toothpaste. And I think mint chocolate chip ice cream is as good as mouthwash.” – Stephen Colbert
The apartment building at Sophienstraße 21 was built around 1863. In 1898/99, little known architects Gebert & Sons built the three housing and industrial courtyards for the sewing machine manufacturer H. Mehlich. The wide front house features a sculpturally formed, Gothicised art nouveau (Jugendstil) façade. Withdrawn from the building line, the façade has a striking look among the otherwise flatly designed house fronts. Preservationists regard the building’s harmonious integration into the streetscape particularly accomplished since the withdrawal also incorporates a slight curve of the street. Typical for the area is the practice of a front house with apartments covering the industrial use in the courtyards.
During GDR times, medical instruments were produced in the factory building. In 1995, art collectors Erika und Rolf Hoffmann purchased the courts and the vacant lot at Gipsstraße. Renovations were completed in 1997, which saw the addition of lofts and a new building at Gipsstraße. The project was carried out by Design Gewers Kühn und Kühn, partnering with Swantje Kühn, for which the team of architect Heike Haack-Lauerbach received an acknowledgement as part of the Design Prize of the Wuestenrot Foundation and the Modernisation Award, a distinguished national building award for projects of high quality and acceptable costs. Click here to view some photos of the building complex.
A very lively art scene has developed in this area in recent years. One mainstay of that scene is the Hoffmann Collection, a private “lived-in” collection of contemporary art, that’s open to the public every Saturday, upon appointment (Phone 0049-30-28 499 120). The Sophie Gips Höfe are open to the public between 9 am and 10pm and the light installations render the space particularly attractive at night. Barcomi’s Deli is a pleasant space to take a break from the hustling and bustling in Berlin-Mitte.