The Old Curiosity Shop

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From his headquarters at the Oxo Tower on the South Bank, London, Sperlein has also been branching out into other areas of design. He has created a range of furniture called Contour, which uses similar flowing shapes and themes as in his ceramics, and has even moved into interior design and architecture. In the 20-odd years since he left Germany, things have changed there, too, and recently he decided it would be nice to have a bolt hole in Munich. “I looked around for a while, but prices were high and it was difficult to find anything suitable in the right location. But one night I was idly browsing the net and saw a shop for sale in the old French Quarter. I called a friend in the city and asked her to look at it for me. The next day, she rang back and said I had to buy it, so I did. “The shop was built in the 1890s, but had been used as offices, so it had lowered ceilings and little natural light – only from the arched shop window at the front and another smaller one at the back. I drew up plans to create a bathroom and kitchen, neither of which existed before, appointed a builder and site manager and spent the next year travelling there every few weeks to oversee the work.” To give some privacy to what has become the living room, Sperlein put opaque glass in the lower section of the shop window and door, returned the ceilings to their lofty 12ft height and installed wide oak floorboards sourced from the Netherlands. “I imported the deep skirting boards from London, because I like that feature in British houses and it isn’t something that’s popular in Germany,” he says... Writer Vinny Lee -

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