Wood that tells stories
With Claire D’Orsay, individual picture frames are made from old shipwrecks or rotten leaves.
Everything must go. Marode is the staircase house, which is being renovated. Dust is in the air. Construction workers carry floorboards from the corridor and throw them carelessly on the sidewalk. Are nothing more worth, useless. And suddenly there is a young woman standing in front of the mountain full of wood, explaining to the men with a strong American accent that she can still use the wood remnants.
Claire D’Orsay packs some of it into her small van and goes to the studio. New booty for their business. The New Yorker always looks for it, keeps her eyes open – in the city and the surrounding area, sometimes also in Bali.
Old boathouses are there, in Berlin then rotten arbours, dwelling-houses, uninhabited stuff on the roadside. Floorboards, window frames, doors. Whilst not every wood is suitable. Veneered oak, for example, is clearly scrap, she says.
The 31-year-old recycled the old wood for picture frames, which she herself builds and sells in her shop “Frameworks” on the Reichenberger street. D’Orsay is a mastermind. This sounds old-fashioned, perhaps also somewhat trivial.
You will find frames everywhere
Frame … pff, one might think. No one needs frame. That’s right. They are not necessarily essential to life, but they have pretty walls, present painting and photography, and are more ubiquitous than they think. You just have to look around. In hotels, museums, restaurants, apartments – you can find everywhere you like.
As a child psychologist, D’Orsay came to Berlin. That was in 2010 when the visa of her Berlin girlfriend ended in America. So they went to their friend’s home together.
A city in which much seems possible. Just as in America, too, but D’Orsay finds something different. Here, you are overwhelmed by free-spirited creatives, because life is so much cheaper than in New York.
“There’s nothing you can do in Berlin,” she says. This does not mean those who come here to loosen, because this works so particularly well. D’Orsay says that you can actually create something with an idea, even if you do not have the perfect prerequisites from the beginning.
It is something that can really be tackled
Even if the job as a psychologist had been much safer, D’Orsay did not want to. And this, even though she would have had a job at one of the international schools in Berlin. This was tempting. But the real human, which is why she likes the profession in theory, is often lost in practice, she says.
“It is too rare for the child or the young people themselves, but more about the Drumherum: school performance, parents, sports.” So, rather, where you can really tackle, see what you can do.
Of course, she also lured the new freedom that she felt in Berlin. She remembered the frame store opposite her university, Boston College. The price was high, so that she could not afford it. So she just built one herself. Her artisan talent was more or less interrupted by the will of the parents to study something sensible.
Far away from such restrictions, she now set off in Berlin and knocked at frame-makers. Only Stephan Landwehr gave her the chance. After three trials, she received a three-month course in the company of the man, the owner of the “Grill Royals” and two other restaurants. She stayed there for more than three years.
“It is mainly white, brown and green”
She framed real Picasso’s and works of all the Starfotographers for the Camera Work gallery. “I did not have to go to exhibitions at the time,” she says. So much art went through her hands.
What distinguishes them is their sustainable work. Actually, from an economic point of view, it began to be recycled. Because wood is expensive. To become independent means always risk. Apart from saving material costs, d’Orsay has the feeling that every framework is telling a story through its workings.
“A unique one from a door and the floor of a garden leave speaks differently from the wood of a grit mill of 1750,” she says. From the point of view of wood technology, D’Orsay is sometimes bored with Berlin. “It is mainly white, brown and green.” The foundations of pink varnished bearded doors of the Ballhaus Grünau from the 19th century felt like that of gold bars.
In the middle of December their first restaurant will be ready
Your idea of sustainability is now also reflected in the restaurant that will open it. The “vertical” is to be finished by the middle of December and will fit into D’Orsay’s efficient ideal. Actually, the building in which it lies is the inspiration for its relatively spontaneous idea. The new building at Reichenberger Straße 86 is the first in Berlin, which is covered by a comprehensive ecological, vertically planted garden. The roofs are also completely green.
The focus is on environmentally friendly visions: reduction of noise pollution through the special insulation, improved air quality, reduction of the carbon footprint by reducing energy costs. “But it is also a matter of stimulating people to think about themselves and the environment in which they live when they pass the building,” says D’Orsay.
All this she would like to transfer to the restaurant card. Sustainability must not only be a trend, because it disappears after a certain time. The concept creeps into more and more areas of life and can only mean good things.