At Home With Hanna Goldfisch

Minimalism, Papier Mâché & Restful Spaces for Restless Minds

Hanna Goldfisch is sitting on clouds in her minimalist Berlin apartment. It’s white, calming and filled with natural light. The whimsical mirror frame, lamp shades and bedside table - amongst others - are artistic furniture items which she built herself using papier mâché. Every object serves a purpose, tells a story and reflects her personal journey.

Hanna invites us into her interior and her insatiably productive mind. She illustrates the journey from fashion model to multi-disciplinary creative, talks about her affinity for upcycling old furniture and letting go of clutter, and reflects on the resonance she feels with Jean-Michel BASQUIAT.

Discover the eclectic home of Hanna Goldfish in the new interview with THE SKATEROOM. But be ready - it might inspire you to pick up some old cardboard and turn it into your next art piece.

Does the atmosphere of your home reflect that?

This is the first time that I’m taking 100% of responsibility for my well being and feeling good. In the past, it was more of a survival mode. I lived in a flatshare for twelve years, because I was too scared to live by myself. I couldn’t be with myself. That’s why, when I moved into this apartment, I felt like I really needed to get settled first, because this process of change - of moving from one place to another - felt so threatening to me. I was scared of the unknown. So being here by myself, taking this place in and understanding it, taught me about what makes me comfortable. It was a journey within myself and so now, this apartment reflects a lot of who I am.

A lot of the objects in your apartment were hand-made by you. What inspired this journey of elevated DIY?

I’m very bad at throwing things away. I spent most of my childhood with my grandparents - they are this WWII generation who never throw anything away. It made me think of how to upcycle instead of buying more things. When I first moved into my flatshare, I took most of my dad’s old furniture, and when I was moving into this new space I was like, “okay, I’m going to finally buy everything new and treat myself.” But, when the day came to sell this old furniture I thought, “well, it’s still working… but I don’t like the look of it anymore, so what can I do?”

When my new kitchen arrived, everything was in cardboard boxes, so I decided to turn this cardboard into papier mâché. That’s how this whole process started of transforming my furniture. In the beginning, I didn’t have any direction. It was more about trial and error. I would redo things all the time until I got them right. The main inspiration was the Gaudism style, where you have cave homes with organic shapes, looking very natural and free-flowing. This is the style I have in mind right now when building.

It sounds like, even though you didn’t have a clear direction, there was still a dose of perfectionism and vision in your process.

When I was renovating, I needed to find a direction. With 54 sqm, the space is limited. You have to think differently about color choices, what makes the room look brighter, wider, more open. It was setting the foundation to play around with the interior later.

Right now the space is perfect. The foundation is set, it’s not cluttered. I’m taking my time and not rushing into adding more pieces. A lot of people who come in here are telling me, “ah, this looks like a spa”. Or they make references to the princess’ palace in the Neverending Story. Being here is like sitting on clouds. This is a place to unwind and be cozy.

Do you have a favorite object in the apartment?

Of course I’m most attached to the things I’ve built but, when it comes to design items, it would definitely have to be the white sideboard from USM Haller. I wanted to go a bit feng shui so, when searching for all the elements, I was trying to find great-looking metal pieces which is quite hard. Even though the space age interior is coming back, you have to search for a really long time… Whereas this sideboard is just something that’s always going to work. It’s adjustable and timeless.

You mentioned working with papier mâché a lot. What is it about this practice? Apart from it being a creative way to get rid of excess cardboard.

Papier mâché and clay are mediums which allow me to work without thinking. When I’m drawing, I can hear myself - the self-talk, self-judgment. But with these, I’m still.

Your interior style is quite a contrast to the aesthetic we think of when imagining Berlin. Does the city inform your creativity in any way?

Berlin is so creative. Most of my friends are in the creative industry so you’re always going to have this exchange about personal projects. Of course it’s going to be much more motivating than, for example, the village I came from. The conversations I have with people are so deeply connected and always so nourishing as a creative. But I probably don’t take as much advantage as I could of what Berlin has to offer.

Sometimes you don’t have to actively participate in a city for it to subconsciously influence you. Who knows what your interior would look like if you had stayed in your childhood village?

It’s funny to think about. When I picture my childhood rooms, they were always so different. All my friends were like: “dude, what is this?”

So you always had that very strong sense of your own style and identity?

Not in a good way * laughs. * One time I got into this esoteric, spiritual type of vibe. I had crystals everywhere, decorations hanging from the ceiling… It was wild.

What made you gravitate towards the Jean-Michel BASQUIAT Untitled (The Face) triptych?

Besides BASQUIAT’s style, which I love, he was very driven, ambitious and hard-working. Sometimes I feel kind of bad for wanting to make stuff all the time. For the people around me, especially my boyfriend, having to deal with so much energy can be tough. I’m always thinking, creating or writing. Last year, I got into a state of mind where I felt bad about those characteristics… but, at the end of the day, I just want to create beauty. I feel like BASQUIAT created so much beauty in such a unique way. It’s a reminder for me to not feel bad about who I am.

It’s a really fascinating contrast. It sounds like your mind is filled with this colorful, creative chaos - kind of like a BASQUIAT painting. But on the outside, your home is so peaceful and minimal.

It’s about balance. If the various thoughts and ideas you’re having would reflect on your space, it could be a bit too overwhelming. I realized I want a calm, natural environment where my mind can run a bit more free. It’s a process that comes with its sacrifices - I’m not owning as much as I used to, I sold a lot of stuff or gave it away… When you are able to let go of things, rather than constantly filling your space with the next pieces, you’re going to experience so much more freedom. You won’t need to cling to objects as much and worry. When I got this apartment, I felt so much pressure, because it was my own. I realized the weight of every decision. So, if I had a space loaded with things, I think I would lose my mind. Minimalism gives me a lot of freedom.