A Garden In The Library

Imagine a green garden with fountains surrounded by bookshelves. Now, you sit at a nice table in the middle and you enjoy a great tea. No, you are not in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you are in Berlin. Now, if you remember the Humboldt library in Friedrichstraße, you have to walk from there to Dussmann.

Friedrichstraße’s other secret place

Dussmann is one of the biggest library in Berlin. It also has a special English bookstore where you can find all the classics of both British and American Literature.

A bookstore is a place where there is no time. You can walk through the aisles for hours, touch every single book and music materials as if they were a treasure. As a matter of fact, they are! Until you open them, you don’t know what is inside. A bookstore is the biggest intellectual Ali Baba cavern and at the same time the most precious museum where you can find the most ancient writings. These very words from Plato, the music from Bach or the famous Sheryl Sandberg’s book, are all to be found in the same place.

This experience alone would already be enough, however, your curiosity may take you further – to where the secret garden is.

The Vertical Garden

The vertical garden was created by the French botanist Patrick Blanc. This art-work is the center piece of the Dussmann House in Berlin. “A touch of tropical forest in the middle of the city” says the leaflet.

The incredible construction is built with 157 varieties of plants, 6,672 plants altogether. Through an irrigation system, the plants grow and offer an outstanding living spectacle – both for the sight and for the ears.

The feeling of grandeur is due to the 18m of height on 15m of width. The irrigation system flows like small cascades and creates background music. If you close your eyes for a second, you would really feel like you in a forest.

The vegetal wall is another part of the museum. It is a grandiose painting just like a triptych. Each part is different but together they create a rare treasure. Not only is it a vertical triptych but also diagonal taking its source at the bottom left, like if the wind was blowing the plants.

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Ursprung – the source of art and nature

Ursprung means source in German. It is the name of the café where you can sit down and enjoy this natural art-work ; which reminds me Aristotle’s famous quote that “art imitates nature” (in Physics).

The feeling someone has when closing the back cover of a book is very personal. A lot of human beings underestimate the power a book can have on their life. It rarely happens, but when it does you know something is going to be transformed forever. At that moment, the setting matters – and the Ursprung café is the perfect source for that. 

First, you go to the bookstore and buy another type of art-work that makes you dream. Then you walk to this indoor natural place – which is very convenient in winter. At last, you simply enjoy the experience with a good treat.

The place is absolutely fantastic. All the elements evoke the vertical garden: a little fountain, the tables and chairs made of particular wood and the chairs designed like green leaves. We don’t know if the forest surrounds the café or if the latter came into the forest.

I sat down here for a salad and a tea. My all-time favorite flavor Earl Grey came with a “perfect tea timer.” This small construction has three little hour glasses, and each shows how strong you can have your tea: light, medium or strong. A word from Socrates came along the cup of tea “I know that I know nothing”, and I felt right in the middle of a philosophical moment when it seems like time stands still. The salad was another piece of art for my palate and my sight.

It was my first experience there and I believe you could not treat yourself this way very often. It is a bit overpriced for Berlin standards, but it is a precious treat that you should try at least once.

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