I first came across Design Apartments Weimar while scrolling on Steller, and knew from the first story I read – called The Dining Room – that this was exactly the kind of interior I’d love to experience while on holiday. Located in the city of Weimar in Germany, Design Apartments Weimar offers visitors two holiday apartments: an open plan attic space, Apartment 1, and a first floor apartment in the same building, Apartment 2.
Both were designed by owner Mark Pohl, and reflect his passion for interiors and for product design as each space is furnished and styled with a mix of iconic design pieces, random – but beautifully selected – finds, and new design by graduates from the Bauhaus University Weimar. It would feel as if you were staying in a friend’s beautifully designed home rather than a holiday let as these interiors, while streamlined and uncluttered, also feel rich in personality.
I caught up with Mark to ask about the inspiration behind the apartments and their design.
Tell us a bit about yourself and about your city.
I’m Mark Pohl, a German actor and interior stylist. Weimar is the birthplace of Bauhaus and home to the famous German writers Goethe and Schiller, and was the European City of Culture in 1999. It’s an important travel destination in German history. The Weimar Republic was founded in the National Theatre. Weimar has been home to many significant figures including Kafka and Nietzsche; the composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Liszt; the artist Lucas Cranach and the artist, architect and designer Henry Van de Velde; and the architect Walter Gropius who founded the Bauhaus School.
What attracted you to this house?
I found the house in 2009. The building dates from 1907 and is located in the heart of the city. There had been no renovation done since the 1970s and the hardware and features including the windows, floors, staircase and doors were nearly in their original state. So we had to renovate it from the ground up. That was awesome as we could preserve the original condition.
What made you decide to create design-led holiday apartments?
I have collected different design icons for years and I always dreamed of showing them in a curated space. The interior of my flat started bursting with this collection and I still wanted to collect, so I decided to show some of the furnishings in a holiday apartment. This is quite crazy as the interior is extremely valuable for holiday rentals!
Where does your own interest in design come from?
I was born in the 1970s on a typical German farm where there was no interest in interior styling and design. My Mum sometimes bought interior magazines when I was a child and I loved browsing through them. I started doing DIY furniture by building little pieces in our workshop .
Who are the designers that most inspire you?
I’m mostly inspired by designers working on a clear and functional design. I like the Bauhaus era, and the great midcentury design from Denmark and new design coming from Germany. Current designers like New Tendency, &tradition, Muller van Severen, Bartmann Berlin, Objekte Unsere Tage, GUBI, and Korridor Design interest me a lot.
Tell me a little bit about each apartment.
Currently we have two apartments. Apartment 1, the rooftop apartment, is a 50sq/m studio where I built in a ‘bath house’ in the centre of the plan. It features a roof top terrace where you can see the sights in the city.
Apartment 2 on the first floor is an 110 sq/m two bedroom apartment with plenty of space and a mix of pieces from design icons to fleamarket finds and new design from the Bauhaus University Weimar.
How did you go about furnishing and styling the apartments?
As I travel a lot and live in apartments while working for different theatres, I was often disappointed in the design and the fittings of the places I lived in.
My idea was to create a space with local design and with relevance to the city that guests will be visiting; a space where you immediately start feeling at home even on your holiday in a foreign place. As I am self-taught in interior styling I just furnish the spaces by my gut instinct.
How did you come to choose pieces designed by graduates from the Bauhaus University Weimar?
When I was in my first engagement to the National Theatre in Weimar I met some students from the Bauhaus University who were studying product design. They had no chance to rent shops in order to show their products to customers because of the highly priced stores in the city. After becoming friends with designers like New Tendency, Laura Strasser and Milia Seyppel, I thought about a place to show their great design. This was the birth of the Design Apartments Weimar.
What led to the concept for your shop, Design We.Love?
Actually the guests made the idea for a shop. Guests frequently asked about where to buy the interior furnishings and accessories from the apartments. I also dreamed about producing my own design items. The first pieces are already on show in the shop and more are coming this year!
What are your favourite features or details in each apartment?
I really like the ‘bath house’ in the attic apartment as it’s a unique and unusual space. We build a second little ‘house’ with a roof into that apartment. A feature of the first floor apartment is its size. Lot of people live in flats under 80 sq/m, whereas our apartment is a bigger space with lots of light.
We are now planning a third apartment with three bedrooms to create a family suite on the third floor opening in September 2016. This apartment will show new designers and we will play with lots of colour!
What’s it like to stay here?
I want our guests to feel at home. I like when guests feel like they are living with friends. They can use our garden with the sun terrace and seating accommodation for evening drinks and dinner. We offer breakfast and if we have the time we cook for our guests. We enjoy the mix of different people from all over the world just sitting with us in the garden and talking about life.
With thanks to Mark Pohl; all photography from Design Apartments Weimar.