Berlin: Colourful & Playful

One of the biggest criticism I have of cities today is they are too conservative when it comes to incorporating colour into its architecture, streetscapes, plazas, parks, signage and billboards (if they even allow billboards).

One of the first things I noticed about Berlin was how colour is integrated into the everyday life of its streets in both bold and subtle ways, especially in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Neukolln districts.

Unfortunately, Berlin falls into the same colourless trap as other cities when it comes to many of its new buildings and streetscapes, however I did find some exceptions.

Who knew March 21st is International Colour Day? When “what are you doing for International Colour Day?” came up on my twitter feed I thought this must be a signal to start my blog about the use of colour in Berlin and the cheerful and playful impact it has in a city that can very dreary (cloudy and rainy) in the winter months. I am surprised at how much Berlin's weather is like Vancouver's.

Link: International Colour Day 

So here are some colourful Berlin postcard shots that I hope will illustrate to you what I am talking about.  Make sure you scroll to the end of the essay for a postcard that is sure to make you smile....hope you enjoy!

The floor of the Alexa shopping centre is a wonderful and colourful work of art that you get to walk on and see from above.  How fun is this?

  This is the futuristic entrance to a modern office building, unfortunately once you get inside there is no colour.  

This is the futuristic entrance to a modern office building, unfortunately once you get inside there is no colour.  

  Dussmann bookstore at Friedrichstrabe 90 was where I began to realize Berliners love the use of colour. The entire multi-floor space is a rich red, it creates a passionate sense of place which seemed appropriate for a bookstore.  

Dussmann bookstore at Friedrichstrabe 90 was where I began to realize Berliners love the use of colour. The entire multi-floor space is a rich red, it creates a passionate sense of place which seemed appropriate for a bookstore. 

  Loved this yellow plaza and apartment block next to the Berlinische Galerie, which is a must see in our minds. 

Loved this yellow plaza and apartment block next to the Berlinische Galerie, which is a must see in our minds. 

  These red sculptures/benches are part of the playground for this residential complex.

These red sculptures/benches are part of the playground for this residential complex.

  This retail store signage is on the side of a parkade.

This retail store signage is on the side of a parkade.

Berlin's new concert hall has a gold facade as does the library across the street.

  Not sure how this orange elephant in front of a German state government building fits into the local culture but it certainly was colourful and cheerful.

Not sure how this orange elephant in front of a German state government building fits into the local culture but it certainly was colourful and cheerful.

 The streets in Berlin's Kreuzberg district were filled with brightly coloured tables, chairs and other ornamentation. 

The streets in Berlin's Kreuzberg district were filled with brightly coloured tables, chairs and other ornamentation. 

  Japanese retailer UNIQLO's flagship store in Berlin has wonderful stairs, which have the names of cities in neon red streaming across them like a stock market quotation board.  

Japanese retailer UNIQLO's flagship store in Berlin has wonderful stairs, which have the names of cities in neon red streaming across them like a stock market quotation board.  

  Many of Berlin's subway and transit station employ bold colours like these candy floss stairs at the Prinzenstrabe Station.

Many of Berlin's subway and transit station employ bold colours like these candy floss stairs at the Prinzenstrabe Station.

  Older residential buildings have also added colour to their facades to make them standout. 

Older residential buildings have also added colour to their facades to make them standout. 

  The orange blinds in this hospital change everyday, creating subtle differences.

The orange blinds in this hospital change everyday, creating subtle differences.

  Found this collage when I wandered into a courtyard.

Found this collage when I wandered into a courtyard.

  Subtle use of colour in a school yard.

Subtle use of colour in a school yard.

  Bold use of colour and art in a public playground. Berlin is home to hundreds of colourful murals.

Bold use of colour and art in a public playground. Berlin is home to hundreds of colourful murals.

  A school.

A school.

  Another school.

Another school.

  Even the garbage containers are colourful.

Even the garbage containers are colourful.

 The orange "Oh happy way!" street sweepers say it all.... 

The orange "Oh happy way!" street sweepers say it all....