Born in Poland, Monya grew up in Berlin, and spends most of her time travelling. Hopefully, we could catch up for a breakfast in Berlin, while I was there on a week end. 10 a.m at the Distrikt coffee in Mitte. I was running late as usual there, because I always forget how big is this city. Monya was waiting for me, drinking a huge café latte. I ordered one for myself and started to question her about Berlin. Monya knows Berlin very very well. Not only the city itself, but also the people of this city. She used to organise those networkings dinners, and tells me that’s how she and Alexandra met. Together, they’ve organised an exhibition at the 104 about Berlin.
I ask her about her childhood in Kreuzberg, West Berlin, when the wall was still parting the city. She told me she used to go and paint on the wall after school, where as on the other side, people could be shot for approaching the wall to close. After the wall fell down, East Berlin emptied as everyone was running to the West. Weinmeisterstrasse, a very fancy neighbourhood close to where we met, was left abandoned for years, the buildings were squatted, and the area mal famée. Everything started changing in 2000, as creative crowd started settling there.
Berlin is actually a very creative city. A friend once told me it felt weird to have a real job in Berlin. Monya doesn’t work in Berlin. When she works as a stylist it’s for Italian magazines or private clients in other parts of Germany and in Europe. She started her own brand in Paris where she leaved for five years, but stopped doing collections a while ago, looking for a new way to create things that would last more then two months. In Berlin, she has time to think and to commit to projects that require time and space as her new incredibly precious luxury homewear and home accessories brand : Monya/Helmut. She spent a lot of time looking for the right suppliers who could produce her timeless ceramic pieces. All products are handcrafted in Berlin with small craft production firms. The brand is not yet sold anywhere, but Monya feels no rush about it. She says it’s all about doing things with love.
On her last Kilometres :
I just came back from one of my favorite places in the world, a countryside house in Buckow, one and a half hour drive from Berlin. It’s the house where Bertolt Brecht spent all his life. It was bought by friends of mine with everything inside as it was when he was leaving there. All the books are still on the shelves. The house is just by a beautiful lake, and I love to take walks around it.
On her next Kilometres :
I’m leaving to Istanbul next Saturday. I hope to go to Paris in April, and I dream of going to Rome, where I’ve never been. Mid-June I’ll go to a lake near Brescia (I am currently obsessed with lakes) for the opening of an installation by the artist Christo.
Check out her website : www.monyawasilewski.com