Etsy News Blog

Postcard From Europe #2 handmade and vintage goods

February 26, 2010
Berlin, Germany

Dear Friends,

Etsy Labs Berlin, Etsy’s first international office, is well on its way to becoming a dream in vintage and handmade. Our goal is to create an inspiring and efficient work environment showcasing only vintage and handmade products from around the world. No newly mass-produced goods will ever sully our hallowed halls. So, take that, Ikea!

Inside Sawadee Design, one of the artist’s workshops we visited in Berlin

Over the last couple of weeks we have accumulated lists of products from Etsy, met table-makers and painters, visited vintage stores and flea markets, and shared our concept with creative folks here in Berlin. We are currently working with Berlin-based artist, Luis Negron, to build out our raw, industrial space into a multifunctional exhibition, gallery, workshop and community center.

One of Luis’ earlier projects



While work proceeds, we have been making progress on furnishing the office.

A fine table from Katja of Buchholz Berlin



Some of our favorite pieces so far are from a local maker/vintage curator named Corinne. She has an incredible talent for finding and then restoring or altering vintage furniture and lighting fixtures. She also builds her own, all in a dark and treasure-laden storefront studio in Prenzlauerberg.

This atmospheric light fixture, built by her out of steel and plastic, uses parts from an old supermarket display.

The industrial chairs with the floating seats were restored treasures from the 1950s. On one of them, a pillow from cosedolci greets us each day.



Another favorite from Corrine is the large wooden table pictured below.  She built it originally to serve as her kitchen counter space, but we bought it from her, leaving an empty spot in her home, but filling a giant one in our hearts. Atop it sits a Kaiser-Leuchten desk lamp from the 1930s, and beside it, two vintage Eames chairs.

The giant map of Europe, a planning tool for our crusade, was found at the Flea Market in Mauerpark in Prenzlauerberg, a must-see when in Berlin.


We drink lots of water mit gas here in Germany, and we do so in handmade glasses from YAVAglass. Converted from old soda bottles, they are a recycled treasure.

A local potter made us mugs, containers for tea and coffee, and bowls for eating our nutty and twiggy musli.

We are just at the beginning of our journey, and we invite you to join us over the next couple of months as we document the making of an Etsy office. You are all invited to join us when we have our official opening on April 1, 2010, but until then we just hope that our vintage silverware arrives soon from Etsy. We’re dying to stop eating with our fingers.

All the best from Etsy Labs Berlin,

Benedikta and Matt

About Postcards from Europe:
Berlin-based Etsy Admin, Matt and Benedikta send postcards back to the Etsy offices in Brooklyn updating us all on Etsy’s European operations. We never know from where they will be sent, what they’ll say, or how they’ll say it (video, song, photos, interpretive dance).