Explore a Floating Artist's Residence in Berlin

Waking up in this houseboat feels like opening your eyes to an urban utopia


A floating artist’s studio and home that’s built to be closer to nature, Floating Island essentially presents a string of experiences that one rarely finds in Berlin. It’s tucked away in a quiet part of the Spree, on the east side of Berlin, offering the ultimate escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. , the peacefulness that comes with being so close to nature brings new energy and the ultimate space for relaxation. The houseboat consists of two parts – the living space with everything you need for a comfortable stay, as well as an attached deck with a herb garden, BBQ, and sound system, as well as outdoor space for kicking back and enjoying the waterside views.

The host, Claudius, is incredibly warm and friendly when we meet him. He’s the kind of person who lights up the whole room and inspires you with his many, many artistic visions. The houseboat has been a part of his travels around the world – and to this day, it also serves as his studio (he’s a photographer).

We’re not going to lie, it is small, but it’s also incredibly well-designed, and every detail has been thought of. There’s a fully equipped kitchen (Claudius also provides fridge refills), and a platform bed with a skylight so you can gaze at the stars as you fall asleep. There’s also a book collection extraordinaire with plenty of books on creative subjects, and a portable router so you don’t have to be completely offline during your stay.

Claudius actually built the boat himself. Much of it is made using salvaged materials – one of the panels is 200 years old and used to be part of a school building. The furniture is also handcrafted, and he’s especially proud of the wooden dining table that sits in the centre of the living area. He’s constantly working on improving it and has an abundance of ideas – a sauna is in the works for this autumn.

According to Claudius, there’s no season that’s better than the others. He speaks of the beauty of the bay when it rains, but he also loves the sunny days that summer brings. It is warm in winter (the boat has good heating), so you can even experience frosty mornings on the Spree. It’s anchored mid-lake in the summertime, meaning that you have to take a boat to get to the boat. In the winter months, the location changes as it’s moored by the shore somewhere in the outskirts of Friedrichshain. It’s worth noting that Floating Island isn’t a luxurious escape. It comes with a dry compost toilet, and the sink is shared between the bathroom and kitchen, but if you’re interested in sustainable living and experiencing the alternative side of Berlin, you have found the right place. Claudius loves sharing his home with environmentally-conscious guests – and it’s very important to him that you only use the organic toiletries and washing up liquid that he provides.

Written by

Cecilie is a Collection Curator at The Plum Guide. Originally from Denmark (and also France), she loves mid-century modern and all things film-related. 

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