A Reinterpretation of Midcentury Design in a Rooftop Pavilion

Berlin based architect Gisbert Pöppler, has transformed a rooftop steel and glass pavilion into a breathtaking example of contemporary living, meshing mid-century inspiration with bold, modern elements. Situated atop a 1930s apartment building, this apartment is a blend of sober thoughtfulness and creativity.

The project, dubbed “The Village,” was an opportunity for Pöppler to overhaul the space completely. He was given free rein by the clients. The original layout, once a maze of rooms, has been reimagined into an expansive, open-plan area that breathes airiness and light. 

“The Village” concept manifests in three distinct boxes within the space, housing a bedroom, guest room, and guest bathroom. This segmentation adds an intriguing dynamic to the open layout.

Entering the apartment, one is greeted by Renaissance red lacquered wood panelling, offering warmth and welcoming ambience. The gloss from the panelling is accentuated by the matte, silk white linoleum of the sideboard, leading to the core of the pavilion. 

This juxtaposition of textures is a theme throughout, with teak encasing the adjacent office and guest room, and a light limestone relief, sourced from Verona, cladding central walls.

Pöppler’s bold use of materials unifies the space, exemplified by the ceiling painted in a dark purple-blue hue. This decision, initially met with client reluctance, has proved instrumental in tying the diverse elements together. The oak parquet flooring and grid-like wall seams further enhance this cohesiveness, aligning cabinets and doors seamlessly.

Custom-designed storage spaces reflect the owner’s lifestyle, featuring shallow drawers for folded shirts and kitchen cupboards tailored for specific utensils. 

The bespoke approach led Pöppler to create unique furniture pieces like “Louis,” a pentagonal table for the breakfast nook, and “Otto,” a pill-shaped dining table with an ornate underside, reflecting the owner’s habit of lying on the floor to listen to music.

The bespoke ethos extends to the bathroom, with every element tailor-made, from the lava stone washbasin to the curved dark moor oak cabinetry. 

The bathtub niche, featuring South African marble, adds dramatic flair and complements Pöppler’s understated yet striking design philosophy. He aptly sums up his approach: “A good design is like a tailor-made suit, it should fit perfectly without being the centre of attention.”

Photos by Robert Rieger