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Leopold and Alexa von Bismarck

balancing family dreams with fast paced careers

The basics//

Leo & Alexa. Both 42 years old. Currently living in Berlin with their two kids, balancing family life with Alexa’s international role as President EMEA at Adyen and Leopold’s entrepreneurial (former MD and CMO at tado°) and real estate projects such as residential property development in the country side. While Alexa’s work schedule can be quite demanding and dynamic including a lot of traveling, Leopold is currently focused on staying more flexible in order to maintain a good daycare situation for the kids and to ensure more flexibility for Alexa.

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At home in Berlin

ASIS // How would you describe your interior style? What is important to you, when you choose objects and furniture for your home?

 

Leo // We both enjoy a lean and practical design for most of our furniture. While Alexa loves to sprinkle some vintage pieces with emotional value into the mix, I have a slightly more modern and functional approach to furniture design and especially appreciate pieces of high quality. If I should describe our home I would say that it is a good combination of heritage and contemporary furniture. The result is somewhat eclectic at times.

 

ASIS // Do you have a favourite piece of furniture in your home? If yes, why is it your favourite?

 

Leo // Probably the simple bench by the window in our kitchen. It is super cozy to sit there, enjoy a drink and watch the people walking by outside while talking to Alexa, while she is preparing dinner. We had it installed by the carpenter when we moved in. Best decision ever. However, we still have to make a custom cushion for it.

Family life //

ASIS // Has having kids changed your approach when furnishing your home?

 

Leo // Not really. We believe that nowadays many options for beautiful yet kids-friendly furniture exist. We are lucky to have enough space in our home where the kids can play, paint, work and carve as they wish without us having to tell them no all the time. Except for maybe some special pieces we try to see furniture as ”objects of utility” and a little patina doesn’t hurt. So we really try to have as few kids-specific things as possible and just let them use our stuff. 

 

ASIS // What's important when you select pieces that need to work for the whole family?

Any big compromises?

 

Leo // Good quality! And then it doesn’t hurt if it’s easy to clean.

 

About Berlin and Germany//

ASIS // How would you describe the German or Berlin sense of interior design?

 

Leo // Ahhh, this is super hard to answer! Very subjective, very local, very dependent on age and background. I guess it is very personal but then also very uniform in certain areas. I suppose that you can experience a huge difference from visiting a home in Mitte or Prenzlauer berg and one in Charlottenburg. But then again. It really comes down to individual preference and life situation.

 

ASIS // Love or hate? What is your relation to Berlin Brutalist buildings?

 

Leo // Berlin and its architecture is a direct reflection of the historical significance and different eras that the city has gone through. Therefore we are thankful to witness how the city changes but also keeps many of its historical artefacts. For me it is less about personal reference and more about an overall appreciation of the historical and architectural complexity that Berlin has to offer.

 

ASIS // Which German design classics can we find in your home?

- now and on the wishlist

 

Leo // Not specifically German, but here we go...

Several Vitra/Eames chairs and tables

Konstantin Grcic Chair

Flos Toio lamp

Braun Radio/Technics turntables

…and of course…a seat in Siena

At the country side

ASIS // You are currently building a countryside house. How have you approached the architectural and interior design process? 

 

Leo // We actually have two projects in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which is about 2h north of Berlin. Just a few weeks ago our new wooden tiny house arrived. It is custom made in Latvia and was delivered directly to our plot. We designed the house together with the architects from the manufacturer who presented a first draft from which we iterated on in order to make it fit our needs. We agreed that the tiny house could be more of an experimental playground with regards to its design. But we still approached the project with emphasis on functionality due to the apparent space limitations. Thinking about what is really important is actually a very nice exercise. When it came to furnishing the space we made it a priority that the pieces could be delivered quickly as we wanted the house to get ready for the summer season. 

The other project has a more long-term perspective and it will hopefully turn out to be a space where we will spend leisure time with our close and extended family. We might even move there permanently in the distant future once the kids move out. As a consequence, the decision making process takes way longer and a lot more thought goes into each aspect. We have chosen a top notch architectural bureau to approach the special challenge that it is to build from scratch. Both Alexa and I have identified a plethora of rational and also emotional requirements which we are currently forming into a design draft with the architects. This is done in an iterative fashion as the project has a more long term perspective and it is therefore important that it turns out right.

ASIS // What character will the house have?

Leo // A traditional foundation but with a modern and contemporary flair. Open, light, warm, clean design yet cozy in most places. Many fireplaces, a big kitchen area and enough room to host families with many kids ☺. We also envision a smooth transition into the surrounding nature and an integration with several facilities for our small forestry business.

When choosing a colour palette, matt and pastel colors are the predominant hues, however accompanied by a dash of more intense highlights.

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