Speakeasy Design

 “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” – Steve Jobs.

Focus and creativity have often been equated to light or rather the type of light we find ourselves in. If it were up to me, I would set my workplace, whatever it was, in amongst the coniferous trees of the taiga forest; a place where the quality of light is so special, so dappled that I could do anything. It has been this constant striving to reflect nature in art, that has led to the creation of some of the most beautiful paintings, sculptures and buildings in our modern world. With interior design we are not just looking for the look, to refer to the late Steve Jobs, but for how the place functions as a space for creativity and focus.

Speakeasy hits you like a breath of fresh air, everything about the places exudes a tingle of excitement. Nothing feels contrived, everything has its place. The atmosphere is welcoming and allows for that special forest light. My thoughts immediately take me to that feeling – unbeknownst to many of you – of “mysigt”. This Swedish word (for which the best translation is “cosy”) captures a feeling that one gets from experiencing a Scandinavian winter whilst being wrapped up in your cabin. It is a warmth that is both comforting and cool. There’s no “going back to school” feeling here and no need to invoke Dave Gilmour and yell, “Teacher leave us kids alone.” Besides, Pink Floyd would have definitely approved.

As you tread the corridor of the school and find yourself being invited by the pull of each classroom to wander in and take a look, you find a piece of the city we call home – a reflection of each part of Frankfurt’s vibrancy. Each room is lovingly named after a piece of this pie. Credit is due here to the design skills of our very own Juliane who would have got the nod from Jobs. Speakeasy was actually born across the river in FFM’s East Berlin equivalent, Sachsenhausen (I say this based on trend value alone…unless, unbeknownst to me, a communist uprising is afoot). The big block logo from the school’s founding home buzzes colourfully across the room, letting you know that you are part of this adventure, a part of Speakeasy history.

Bockenheim welcomes you with arthouse vibes (I had one very long discussion about Fellini in here) and memories of bustling second-hand book markets, where literature and storytelling, comes alive. We move on to Ostend, a place where trend really comes into its own; the stylish Nordic vibe is captured in Amy’s Icelandic text on the far wall – that’s right, our boss lived in Iceland! Wie geil ist das denn?! Altstadt is up next, a warm room where one is invited to reflect on the old school. Westend exudes the poshness of its namesake, adorned with beautiful photographs of the city’s parks and botanical gardens. Bahnofsviertel strongly juxtaposes this with its edgier, hipster vibe…it has a giant cactus in it for goodness sake! You can’t get cooler or random than that. The penultimate classroom takes us into the city’s northern reaches of Nordend (it’s in the name) where the chic and the fashionable come alive. And last but not least, it’s Bornheim with its lingering vintage vibe. I am in love with this room, particularly its old timer radio that evokes the 1940s of Glenn Miller.

It is amongst these well thought out rooms that you are enwrapped in a school that becomes your home away from home. A school that encourages a pursuit of knowledge and interconnectedness. To put it simply, a school that is cool! A place that has dug deep and shown us how it really works!