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Coda Berlin

David Ginoux
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A dessert bar as a place of culinary synergies and contrasts

Foodpairing – This was the inspiration behind Oliver Bischoff’s and René Frank's idea for the exceptional CODA dessert bar in the Neukölln district of Berlin: sophisticated dessert creations meet a strong bar culture. In pursuit of this vision, they serve CODA’s clientele bold dishes paired with matching drinks, deliberately presented as a kind of culinary adventure, all in a natural and modern atmosphere. This innovative culinary concept – winner of the Rolling Pin Award for the Gastronomy Concept of the Year 2016 – was created by the brilliant team of Bischoff and Frank. The interior design, featuring harmoniously integrated Villeroy & Boch products, is also the work of Oliver Bischoff and his design studio ett la benn.

"Coda" is a musical term meaning the gentle closing section of a composition, just like a dessert rounds off a meal and the CODA dessert bar is the perfect place to while away those last few hours of the evening in style. The location is also an important component of this carefully planned concept. CODA is situated in the heart of Neukölln, a district of Berlin that had for many years been regarded as a deprived area, but is now developing into one of the city's most interesting districts, and not only from a gastronomic viewpoint. For some time, galleries have been opening up beside cafés and fashion studios beside bars in the beautiful "Gründerzeit" period buildings, creating lots of new and interesting evening and weekend entertainment opportunities for the neighbourhood's art lovers, party-goers and gourmets. Experimental eateries are also moving in at an unbelievable rate: with new openings ranging from vegan takeaways to world cuisine and exclusive fine-dining concepts.

An innovative concept between restaurant and bar

The CODA dessert bar has, therefore, found the perfect location in up-and-coming Neukölln, surrounded by cultural experiments and passionate entrepreneurial ventures. For Oliver Bischoff, product and process designer and founder and Managing Director of the Berlin design studio ett la benn – specialising in the conception and design of restaurants with different dining cultures – CODA represents the personal essence of countless culinary success stories that he has helped to pen in recent years as designer and planner. He has, therefore, steered CODA away from established concepts to create space for new ideas in dining and interior design.

His decision to focus on desserts positions CODA somewhere between a restaurant and a bar. The guiding principle behind the concept is the idea of transforming starred cuisine into products that are accessible to everyone. The result is exquisite culinary experiences, which bring together different aesthetic and taste components in new consistencies, temperatures and subtle flavours.

René Frank is responsible for the culinary side of CODA, drawing on a track record including several awards of "Pastry Chef of the Year", notably from Gault Millau in 2013. Frank has worked in international restaurants from San Sebastian to Tokyo, most recently spending six years as Head Pastry Chef in the restaurant La Vie in Osnabrück, Germany, awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide.

Diners can look forward to clear, honest and playful compositions based on traditional and innovative pastry-baking techniques. The desserts range from sweet to bitter, from down-to-earth to extravagant. All the individual components are perfectly coordinated and produced in-house, including the drinks which are designed to complement each dessert. Mixers for long drinks and highballs, for example tonic or ginger beer, are also produced according to CODA's own recipes, as are the extracts and syrups for short drinks.

This innovative concept received the coveted ROLLING PIN Award for the "Gastronomy Concept of the Year 2016", presented to pioneers and visionaries from the gastronomy and hotel sector.

Interior design reflecting a craft production approach

The atmospheric interior design features warm earth tones. The aesthetic approach creates a strikingly natural look and a feeling of gentle harmony, leaving centre stage for the creations on the plates. CODA occupies a total space of just under 100 m², including a 50 m² dining area with 25 seats and another 12 at the built-in bar. Looking up from their plates, diners can glance into the 30 m² open kitchen, part of a holistic design concept symbiotically linking each area.

The guiding principle of "craft production" is apparent throughout the entire interior, and further emphasised by the structural features of the room. The majority of materials and furnishings are sourced from the local region and used in their raw and untreated state wherever possible: concrete, brass, crude steel, smoked oak and plaster coloured with warm pigments interact with natural stone, marble, granite, linen and leather.

The colour scheme continues the effect: the blue ceiling discreetly symbolises the sky, while earthy colours and warm light underline the harmonious atmosphere. "We understand gastronomy as not simply a place where people come to satisfy their appetite, but as a complete experience. The atmosphere plays just as important a role in this as the dishes and drinks. The aim is to create a world of pleasure that is within everyone's reach,” Oliver Bischoff explains.

Villeroy & Boch products in the toilets

Villeroy & Boch products also feature in the interior design, reflecting the high style standards. For example, the rectangular surface-mounted washbasin from the premium Artis series has been installed in CODA's toilets. The delicate Artis washbasins are made from the innovative TitanCeram material, developed by Villeroy & Boch specifically to allow the production of exclusive designs with slim edges and precise radii.

Thanks to the latest colour concept, Artis is opening up a whole new spectrum of individual design options. For optimal hygiene, CODA has opted for rimless DirectFlush toilets from the Subway 2.0 bathroom collection, offering optimum flushing performance with water consumption of just 3 or 4.5 litres per flush, making them easier to keep hygienically clean. The toilets are installed using ViConnect, Villeroy & Boch's pre-wall installation system.

The gents' toilets also feature round Architectura siphon urinals with the patented ProDetect 2 radar control. As well as vilbostone wall tiles and skirting from Villeroy & Boch's ASTORIA fine stoneware series. The warm brown shade of the smooth marble look, inspired by the characteristic appearance of Jura marble, creates a particularly natural effect.

Coda Berlin: Dessert Bar

Associated projects