Who: John Hilliard and Christine Bruce Where: Santa Barbara, California…
Who: Haralampi G. Oroschakoff – Artist and Author
Diana Gräfin von Hohenthal und Bergen – Gallery Owner
Where: Berlin – Halensee
Who enters the commodious flat in the old building of Diana Countess of Hohenthal and Bergen and Haralampi Oroschakoff, resorts himself on a time journey and douses into the history of two aristocratic families: there are nearly no objects that do not tell a significant story. The Countess, who was born in Munich, whose family was appointed by Prince Friedrich August I. of Saxony into the earldom back in the sixteenth century, was raised in the Bavarian baroque castle Maxlrain. The Austrian Haralampi is descended from the old Russian noble family of the Bojaren Haralamow, that can be followed back to the eleventh century. Since 15 years the gallery owner and the international successful artist – whose pieces are exhibited by prominent figures like singer Vicky Leandros, designer Jette Joop or Princess Firyal of Jordan – live in Berlin with their children.
MyStylery: Apparently you love the change: this apartment is already your third home in Berlin.
Diana von Hohenthal: The last apartment was too small – we needed more space. Now we are here for two years and feel very well. And we remained faithful to the old structures, a newly constructed building will never be an option.
MS: Where does your passion for old constructions come from?
DvH: I usually perceive newly constructed buildings as too sterile; I could never live in a puristic apartment. As I was raised in a castle with 150 rooms I need a lot of space, high ceilings and air to breath.
MS: Haralampi, you were raised as a son of a fabricant in Vienna and Cannes. And you still spend half of the year at the Cote d’Azur…
Haralampi G. Oroschakoff: The life in Cannes and the view over the ocean are my elixir of life. Down south is a whole other creativity, which is mainly because of the light. Cannes is the core of the whole family.
MS: Here you immediately notice especially the oriental details and colourful walls.
HGO: The walls in my workroom are red, red is so inspiring. The dining hall is turkeys and the salon always peach-colored. Yet it has always been like this in all our apartments…
DvH: We put everything together which we got, including heirlooms like the baroque commode in the salon or the oriental-artist carpet. That is how the mix of old and new, modern and antique came up.
MS: Do you always agree in terms of interior?
HGO: Usually. But we have different perspectives in terms of tidiness. Diana tends to build heaps and thinks it is comfortable…
DVH: … and on the contrary for you; nothing should be weird, not even the ashtray.
HGO: That is how my inner system demands it. (laughs)
MS: All those paintings in a flat of an artist is not a surprise really. Interesting is, that the pieces mainly come from other painters. Do you need the space to your own work?
DvH: Not necessarily. There are still some of Haralampis paintings, like the triptych „Russia – Death of Cleopatra – Byzantium” in the dining room that Haralampi gave me.
HGO: The paintings of our Petersburg hanging in the kitchen are presents from Rosi Trockel, George Condo, Michel Würthle or Pascha Pepperstein. We do also exchange paintings amongst ourselves as a sign of respect and appreciation. And that is a good thing, otherwise there would only be distinction and intrigues left. (laughs)
MS: What would you do without in housing design?
HGO: As a writer an apartment without books would be unacceptable. There would also always be a place for my favorite piece, a Russian icon, which tells the story of the holy Haralampi – Charlampii, after which the Oreschak progeny were named. This name only exists in my family.
DvH: Art is a must. To me, artless rooms are a little bleak. It is strange enough that pictures usually hang too high or they are crooked. Thereby it is so easy to position a painting properly: a hammer, a bubble level and two nails. Done! BvH
Also a collector: Haralampi Oroschakoff