Ambiente: Nicolette Naumann shows us her local heroes

Vice President of Ambiente Nicolette Naumann shares her favourite stores in Frankfurt, Scandinavian home design and outstanding gift ideas. Here are her finds and tips.

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Hygge has become the latest buzzword.

Looks like the Scandinavian trend is here to stay. Design is so wonderful for the home environment. Everything is pleasing – the straight lines, the tangibly handmade elements, the natural materials, such as wood, copper and cork, as well as raffia and rattan for springtime. Nicolette lives in Nordend and often drop into ‘Noord’, which embodies the new buzzword ‘hygge’ – Danish for ‘cosy’.

Phoenix tea

Enter the completely different world of ‘Phoenix Tea’. Just as in a traditional Chinese teahouse, the wood-panelled shop has a seated area where you can drink tea and try out homemade Asian delicacies. Superior specialty teas from Japan and Taiwan sit in opaque containers. And there is an equally diverse array of high-quality tea bowls and cast-iron pots, which shimmer like exotic works of art on the shelves. Hand-painted with graphic patterns, the small ceramic bowls are comfortable to hold even when filled with hot liquid. Everything that belongs to the classic tea ceremony is served in traditional style in this oasis of tranquillity. “People who travel a lot abroad tend to drink tea and prefer a premium quality product. When it comes to tea, there is a great deal of scope for growth here in Germany, although the trend is certainly gaining momentum.”

Tia Emma: a bit of kitsch

The “Tía Emma” (Aunt Emma) store near the Konstablerwache square in central Frankfurt is great for kiddies birthdays. The shop not only offers a sugar-sweet mix of toys, baby rattles and charming little goodies, but also a mind-boggling selection of ‘adult’ home accessories, candy-coloured individual items and on-trend stationery labels from London, Paris and the USA. “At Tía Emma I’m always tempted to make an impulse buy. Colourful, garish, kitsch … “It’s not difficult to create a reduced, design-oriented store. Making high-quality kitsch is the hardest thing to do.”

Liebesdienste: the Danes are coming

  Liebesdienste Home have specialised in Danish design – young labels and established brands from Denmark demonstrate typically Nordic everyday design. Decorative objects that look good in the office, soft textiles and small items of furniture radiate a sense of relaxed ethno-flair combined with industrial charm and a superior handmade look. The store simply teems with moods and inspirations. Metal is much in evidence: “The future is in the niche. For me, ‘Liebesdienste’ is a typical example of a newly emerging type of shop – a concept store where you find things that belong in your personal environment – from small items of furniture to foodstuffs.”

Frauenbetriebe: Women buy, men give

The “Frauenbetriebe” (women’s enterprises) shop started up 28 years ago in busy Leipziger Strasse. Fashion expert Wegner-Koch explains the concept: “We are a small department store for women, but men come to us too to find presents.” As Nicolette wanders through the store, she finds plenty of lovely things that consciously make a statement – the colourful paper wristwatches particularly attracted us. The owner discovered them at Ambiente – and it was the same with the two-colour reading glasses that only a small number of shops currently stock.

Gate 05: Everything for your next trip

Jan Unnewehr is a flight attendant body and soul. Many of the useful, unusual and curious things that this native of Frankfurt came across in his job were transported twelve years ago to his shop ‘Gate 5′ at Merianplatz. Here you’ll find not only handbags, toiletry bags and suitcases, but also – “the latest thing in Asia” – facial masks made from snail secretions. This is a paradise for frequent travellers and people looking for a gift that no-one else is likely to have. Have these tips from Nicolette Naumann aroused your curiosity? The best shops are often so close at hand – just around the corner or in the next town. After this tour of Frankfurt, her shopping heart is beating strongly and in our minds, our shopping bags are already full to bursting with beautiful things, looking forward to Ambiente.

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