“Berlin is rather a part of the world than just a city.” What the writer Jean Paul wrote in a letter to a friend may apply to the Berlin of our time much more than to the year 1800, when he declared Berlin as a part of the world.
As seen in the global network of all the sought-after metropolises, Berlin is above all a place for longing for those who want to be challenged by a city. No shallow pleasantness, just fertile polyphony. No empty postures, but strong positions. Berlin's contrasts form a flexible eclecticism in which all parts of the world are indeed reflected - and no standstill seems to arise, except the progress of its own history.
The Sapphire on Chausseestraße, designed by Daniel Libeskind, takes up precisely these characteristics of Berlin aesthetically: avantgarde, bouldness, change. The façade of the residential building dares to sparkle like the precious stone sapphire itself, with lots of glass and a ceramic-titanium tile especially developed in Italy.
Gemstone yes, jewelry no. With its bold asymmetry, the façade resists the straight lines of its surroundings. The Sapphire represents a counter position to the opposite headquarters of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the long Chausseestrasse, one of the gates to Berlin's centre. Libeskind's residence looks at this point as if it wanted to invite its neighbours to dance.
New York-based architect Daniel Libeskind describes the Sapphire - 21 years after his design for the Jewish Museum Berlin - not only as a declaration of love to the German capital, but, like all of his buildings, also as a dialogue with its surroundings, which is in this case Berlin-Mitte, a district that could hardly be closer to history, landmarks, and the spirit of the times. The Berlin Wall Memorial, the Museum Island, parks such as the Humboldthain and Monbijou, political institutions, countless galleries, theatres, art house cinemas, restaurants, the Soho House and co-working spaces define Mitte in its indeterminacy. The quarter vibrates with energy.
For Libeskind, the dialogue with the dense culture of the district is the actual mission of his creative work: "For me, this is the definition of architecture: everyday life.” The design of a house is dedicated not only to the people who will live in it, but also to the people who pass by, to the community of residents for whom there are common spaces as for example a gym or the community rooftop garden at his Sapphire.
The standards of open and modern living culture also apply inside the Sapphire. The three entrance areas welcome residents and guests with different light and colour concepts, which continue Libeskind's asymmetrical design of the Sapphire.
Thanks to the dynamic structure of the entire building, each of the Sapphire apartments has its own unique floor plan and design. With unexpected lines of sight, spatial alignments and different incidences of light, each of the living spaces captivates in its own way, the rooms appear as free as if they were moving.
The Penthouse PH106, as the second largest of the Sapphire, offers enormous possibilities for development over two floors. From the balcony facing Schwartzkopffstraße, PH106 offers a view of Stefan Sous' monumental work of art in front of the BND - and from from the upper roof terrace you have a panoramic view over Berlin towards the TV tower and Charité while inside, light and shadow plays set the rooms in ever-changing moods.
"A sapphire," says Libeskind, "is not just something pretty, not just a surface. What counts is its wholeness: the light of the sapphire and its softness at the same time. But a sapphire is also rough, it is hard, it is durable, it is rugged, it is resilient in its materiality. All of those are also characteristics of Berlin and the people living in it."
And every gemstone is, of course, a part of the world.