For someone like me, living in a city where “stationery store” has been been whittled down to mean “shopping at the big box store to buy a gross of envelopes,” it’s increasingly hard to remember what a good stationery store is like. In Berlin, though, there seems to be an excellent stationery store or two in every neighbourhood, and over the 10 days I was there this month I visited more than my fair share of them.
After the inhumanity of “there’s a 1-800 number on your receipt that you can call for a chance to rate your experience today and win $1000!” at checkout, I can’t tell you how nice it is to show in places that care enough about the power of paper, pens and pencils to carefully wrap them in a paper bag and seal the back with cello tape. And to allow me to buy just one or two of something – a sheet of paper, four envelopes – rather than a case.
Should you find yourself in Berlin, here’s a list of the places I found and enjoyed:
- R.S.V.P. on Mulackstraße 14 in Mitte (Weinmeisterstraße U) may be the nicest stationer there is: back into space not much bigger than your bedroom is a well-curated collection of paper, notebooks, rubber stamps, pens, and other paper goods presented on floor-to-ceiling shelves. It’s almost impossible to leave the shop without having purchased something, if only to express support that such places must thrive.
- Grüne Papeterie on Oranienstraße 196 (Kottbusser Tor U) is a nice little shop in Kreuzberg (note that it’s not where Google Maps shows it to be, but rather on closer to the corner of Marrinestraße and Oranienstraße) selling a good select of paper, notebooks, pens, pencils and other items. It’s cramped but well-stocked.
- Papier Concept on Kastanienallee 11 (Eberswalder Straße U) is more of a workaday stationer with less emphasis on the precious and more on the basics. But they have a nice selection of interestingly-constructed cards and envelopes, a very broad selection of notebooks large and small, and a nice selection of pens.
- Modulor on Gneisenaustraße 43-45 (Gneisenaustraße U) is actually an store focused on selling supplies to architectural model makers – all of those generic tiny people, tiny cars and all that tiny grass you see in architects’ tiny models of buildings – that has, in addition, a rather amazing selection of paper goods. I especially liked their huge selection of handmade paper made in India from recycled cotton rags and their broad selection of notebooks. But you’ll also find everything from felt letters to ink brayers. Well worth a visit to anyone remotely creative.
That’s just a small selection of what you’ll find. Needless to say that, as noted here, I came home to Charlottetown with a suitcase packed with paper products.