Werkhaus: flat-pack housewares and accessories skinned with photos of scuffed, worn-in real-world stuff

I was in Berlin for the day yesterday to speak at a World Consumer Rights Day, and before I headed back to the airport, I dropped in at Werkhaus, a retail outlet that sells innovative, made-in-Germany flat-pack housewares that are skinned with beautiful photos of decayed, wabi-sabi surfaces from street furniture, antiques, and industrial apparatus. I bought one of their "Telefonstation" shelving units, designed to hold and charge your phones and mobile devices while disguising the charge-cables; the one I bought is skinned with the exterior of a scuffed and beaten Soviet pay-phone, with stenciled Cyrillic lettering.

Werkhaus's product-lines are a great blend of decorative/whimsical and practical; on the purely decorative end, there are the ToPaHausen, which are little birdhouses for your toilet-paper.

More practical (and in a bewildering variety of skins) are the Hocker end-tables, which really come in styles to suit every taste.

Werkhaus's designs scale up to full-blown, stand-alone furniture, including a beautiful, practical line of desks with functional drawers.

And there's plenty of options for topping your desk with whimsical/functional lamps, organizers, and other bits of design-led, flat-pack goodness (including lamps that look like old TVs).

The products are made of sturdy, 4mm pressboard, and fit together with a simple slot-and-tongue system that is anchored by means of easy-to-attach rubber bands (it took me a little while to notice the rubber bands, which made things much harder than they needed to be — be warned). In addition to being rather beautiful, they're also very well thought-through, and come with screw fittings, wall anchors, and even screw templates for getting your wall-mounting just right.

I'm very happy with my Soviet phone, and seriously considering ordering a few more pieces from them.