“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.” I read these words on my way to Brutto Gusto the other day, and as soon as I entered the flower shop in Mitte, I immediately knew what Hemingway meant. With spring in full bloom and fresh flowers popping up everywhere, I’m feeling the need to surround myself as much as possible with the first signs of spring. Whether you want to capture the city’s awakening spirit or fill your home with fresh flowers—you’ll find what you need at Brutto Gusto.
But don’t mistake this shop, which after all adds ‘fine arts‘ to its name, with your normal corner flower shop. Situated right by all the art galleries around Torstraße, the concept behind Brutto Gusto combines a sleek selection of fresh flowers with their equally fresh counterparts, the wild array of design vases. The Dutch owner, Geer Pouls, first opened his shop in the late 1980s, though he was then based in Rotterdam, but he moved to Berlin in 2009 because of its vibrant cultural scene, bringing some classically Dutch floral expertise to a city where art and design were thriving.
Despite what the galleristic space might suggest, Pouls isn’t a trained art critic. For him, it’s all about the appreciation of all kinds of flowers and the way their beauty is best displayed in a given context. The many different materials that the vases are made from are as diverse as their pricing spectrum: precious exhibits worth several hundreds of euros stand next to quirky finds from the flea market, neither kind privileged over the other, both just waiting for the right arrangement.
Around four times a year, Geer Pouls and his team even organize their own exhibitions to celebrate the combination of fine arts and flowers. Their latest announcements can be found in in-house newsletter, the ‘Gazzetino di Brutto Gusto’, the current show being ‘Kaleidoscope’ by Johannes Nagel.
In Italian, Brutto Gusto might mean ‘bad taste’, but in this flower shop/gallery, the customers decide for themselves whether they find something beautiful to buy or not. Picking out flowers for a bouquet at Brutto Gusto is an experience in itself. After browsing the shop and just before I would be heading out into the busy city again, Pouls told me in metaphorical terms why his particular concept works so well: “Whenever a woman buys a pretty dress, she also needs pretty shoes to go along with it.”