Looking for a refreshing alternative to those “put a bird on it” DIY knick-knacks at Berlin’s trendy design markets? A cosy space in a quiet part of Schöneberg, Lwerk sells a plethora of handcrafts that would put to shame any Etsy entrepreneur: stationery and accessories such as hand-carved pencil sets (€7) and cases (€13.90), fun kitchen things like an egg plate with attached spoon (€13.90), jewellery, plush toys, hand-sewn toiletry bags… the list goes on.
Open since May, Lwerk is totally run and conceptualised by workers from the Lankwitzer Werkstätten, a Berlin organisation started in the 1970s that provides training for people with mental and physical disabilities.
Classes such as woodwork, sewing and jewellery making are adapted to suit trainees’ needs and capacities, and graduates receive a certificate stating they’ve acquired the skills necessary to become independent – which is more than most Pinterest-browsing hipsters can say.
Manager Diana Mertins points out the quality of the shop’s offerings – her favourites are the polished wooden trivets (€28-35). Small notes indicating the price are tidily handwritten in pretty calligraphy and marked by either gold or green dots on the corner, and Mertins explains that these differentiate between objects from the woodwork workshop (no dot), objects made at other Lankwitzer Werkstätten locations (green dot), and objects from partners such as accessory designers This City Rocks (gold dot).
A boutique for practical, simple and well-made presents with a purpose, Lwerk is well worth a visit.