Shelf Stories

April 13, 2017

Merle: At Home with the HR Maven in Friedrichshain

4 min. read on:

We met the publishing talent for a chat and stroll around the neighborhood she calls home.

Warm, funny and very welcoming, new(ish) Berliner and HR expert Merle met us with steaming cups of coffee and invited us into her charming apartment in Friedrichshain for a quick convo.

You are an HR expert and devote yourself to developing people and organizations. What’s the best thing about your job?

I’ve worked in the media industry for the last couple of years, a branch that undergoes a radical transformation. That makes my job really interesting and challenging. I work with many different people and in extremely different settings. Jobs and job descriptions change almost daily depending on the needs of the business. You always have to keep the company’s strategy in mind and be up to date with new projects and initiatives. Super inspiring!

What’s happening in the publishing and media world these days?

We’re witnessing a great shift in how things are done around here. The industry is going very digital and publishers are looking for ways to find their place in the online world. But the change is also happening at the brainstorm level – it’s all about content that’s very personal – something people can really relate to. High-end magazines are looking for ways to make themselves more approachable. Also, “lifestyle” is THE thing right now.

Let’s chat about your everyday life a little bit as well then. What’s one thing you can’t imagine your morning without?

Definitely coffee – I can’t really start my day without one [laughs]. I have a little ritual of making a cup for myself with my favourite coffee drip. I’m lucky to have flexible working hours so I can often take the time to actually enjoy a few moments before the day starts. I’ll even sit on the balcony if the weather is nice. It’s one of my favourite spots in my apartment.

You moved to Berlin just a few months ago. What would a perfect weekend in the city look like for you?

Well, wake up and then – surprise, surprise – have a coffee, of course [laughs]. And a nice breakfast, preferably with friends! Sometimes we go out for that – there are some great brunch spots here in Friedrichshain. Then I’d probably go to a flea market. There are so many in Berlin! Even the standard farmer’s’ markets are great. You can always find great food there and shift through local produce. I might also take a stroll along the canals. I love that in Berlin you have a lot of great places to hang out – the river, but also all the lakes and parks. The lifestyle here is very different from other German cities. Culture and art are very present and accessible. It’s very much a part of your everyday life. I was a bit sad and worried when I was leaving Cologne – where I lived for so many years – but it turned out just great.

How would you describe the atmosphere of your apartment?

Cosy, comfortable and warm. I love that it’s in an old building – a place with history – with these big windows and high ceilings. And that it’s not all that perfect! The apartment has its rough bits but I believe that’s what really creates its unique atmosphere.   

What do you go for when you create your own space?

I like the combination of basic and timeless furniture with interesting little details. I tend to keep the key interior elements simple and than add a bit of a twist with unusual decorations. That’s why I chose my Tylko Shelf – I really needed a bookshelf but I wanted it to be simple and not boring. This one feels really special – it’s like a blank canvas you can make truly yours. It’s very functional but also like a treasure box – you can show off all your dearest things.

Is there a “dearest thing” that has a special story or is especially close to your heart?

Oh, there are many! But there is this one little drawing which actually has a really nice story behind it. I was in Cologne on a designer market with my friend Lisa and we spotted this artist from Amsterdam with a small stand doing beautiful drawings of birds. My name ‘Merle’ is the french word for “blackbird” so, of course, I really wanted to get one! Unfortunately, she didn’t have any blackbirds in stock [laughs]. But a few months later I got a drawing of a merle from that one artist for my birthday! My friend managed to track her down and asked her to do the drawing for me – and it has been travelling with me from flat to flat since.

Would you say you’re a homebody?

It might not seem like it, but yes, totally! Especially since I moved here – I like to have people around as well. I travel a lot though, so, unfortunately, I’m not at home as much as I would like to be!