I must admit that before I went to Bohazel I had no idea what kind of shop I was going to see. First, because their website is still under construction, second because their FB page shows quite a few things… but I was still inconclusive about what the shop is really about.
I was greeted by Desiree, who explained to me that together with her boyfriend Chris, she opened Bohazel almost one year ago, the result of a life changing experience a couple of years before.
“In 2012 we traveled around Asia for 3 months. We quit our jobs and wanted to take a break and find out what we really wanted to do.
“I was so impressed by the people and the handcrafted goods, and, being a fashion designer, I’ve a lot of experience with different kinds of fabric, but here was something really eye catching.”
Desiree studied fashion design at ESMOD Paris, and worked as a fashion designer for 6 years, but always loved doing her own textiles and patterns.
“We thought it’d be a good idea to combine traveling with work. We loved the idea of traveling to different countries and getting in touch with small manufacturers, different handcraft styles, and so on.”
The first business trip was to Morocco, where Desiree got most of her exquisite tapestry pieces.
“At the moment, most of our products are from Morocco, like these carpets that are made with recycled fabrics, that’s why you can maybe spot a lost button in the middle of the fabric plots, or these slippers that are made with straw and hand sewn… they all come from there.”
But, of course, there are a few things produced in Germany, like the cushions and pieces of clothing, designed exclusively by Desiree and produced with the fabric they find during their trips.
“I am also doing all the macramé and knitting myself. I find it quite relaxing (laughs).”
I asked Desiree if she would put her shop into any category or style, and she happily answered that the thing she likes most about the products is that you can’t really identify where they come from.
“The interesting thing we do here is that we transform the fabric we get into other things (except for the carpets, of course). The work is quite spontaneous and impulsive, like the décor of the shop. I don’t have any special color arrangement or a rules that I follow.”
This work-flow rhythm also reflects on the opening hours of Bohazel, usually open from Monday to Saturday from 13hr – 19hr and closed on Sundays and Thursdays, but this can be also changed quite easily, so better check before showing up there.
Also, this more spontaneous mood seems to poise the public, Desiree said that her audience either know her work and come exclusively to check out her shop, or are people that are just walking around the neighborhood and decide to stop on their way to Tempelhofer Feld, for example.
“I am very happy with my shop located here, even because I think it is quite interesting to see how the area developed in the last 8 years since I first moved here. It’s become very popular.”
Living around the corner, at Sonnenallee, Desiree also knows all the other shop owners in the area and makes it clear that the atmosphere is very friendly and welcoming.
“I am happy to be participating in Neukölln Shopping Nacht. We are going to have the whole package here – music, drinks and discounts!”
For those who wants to pay a visit at Bohazel at NSN, I advise you to be fast. Every piece there is unique and when it’s gone it’s gone.
Oh, almost forgot to mention that at the shop you can also find very stylish jewelry from Japanese designer Naoko Ogawa, which (in my opinion) has a bit of this Berliner thing (you know, this black, minimalistic, clean shape designs).
Bohazel is located at Kienitzer Strasse, 111, Neukölln.
Images: Sarah Luisa Santos and courtesy of Desiree ( 2nd photo)