The king of cool: Contemporary art has found a home at Raimund Berthold's Thames-side flat

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Either the Warhols or the radiators had to go – fashion designer and contemporary-art collector Raimund Berthold never had an easier decision to make, says Holly Williams

Up on the 11th floor of a grand apartment building in Vauxhall, south London, men's fashion designer Raimund Berthold stands in a flat with the most perfect views, through floor-to-ceiling windows: the Houses of Parliament, St Paul's, Big Ben, the Shard…

Perhaps the panorama of the capital loses its novelty after a while, though, for Berthold has filled his flat with an impressive collection of contemporary art, with works by everyone from John Hoyland and Cindy Sherman to Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois to Damian Ortega, Jake and Dinos Chapman to Rob and Nick Carter.

The designer has lived with his partner Paul, a GP, in their home for 10 years, although they recently got rid of a bathroom (they had three) and removed the radiators – they're not good for the artworks.

They re-hang their collection about once a year; it's "quite a production", Berthold explains, but it also "changes the feel of the flat instantly". Some pieces, however, are pretty much assured of their place – a white Rachel Kneebone sculpture, for example: it might look organic, lightly tumbled together, with flowers and feet (and ruder body parts) sticking out of it, but it's made of weighty porcelain. "This is so heavy that it takes four people to move it," says Berthold. "I'm so scared of [breaking] it! So that hasn't moved."

Similarly, the Wolfgang Tillmans taking up a wall in their gym room will be staying put. "It's one of my favourites," Berthold begins before confessing that, "It was a nightmare to get up here. It's backed with metal and it's a really heavy frame, and it didn't fit in the lift, of course …" It took him and the delivery men an hour-and-a-half to get it up 11 flights – but it was worth it. Now, when he's working out, Berthold can choose between watching trains go past, or cycling into Tillmans' abstract world.

Some of the works he favours are unsettling; there's a queasy piece called Butchery by Ruth Dupré, made of strangely fleshy, drooping bits of glass, and a David Altmejd hair-sprouting, eerily anatomical sculpture on a stick. Not the sort of things everyone would be comfortable having around the house… does he share the same taste in art as Paul? "Oh, it definitely has to go hand-in-hand. There is no one bullying the other into buying anything."

The kitchen has new versions of Eero Saarinen's furniture and a George Condo (Anna Huix) The kitchen has new versions of Eero Saarinen's furniture and a George Condo (Anna Huix)
Berthold is a particular fan of cement as a material; their coffee table is host to a couple of small concrete sculptures that speak nicely to each other. "There's a bit of a cement theme going on," he says of works by Mexican artist Damian Ortega and Isa Genzken, a particular favourite. "She used to be married to Gerhard Richter, she's a very eccentric German lady. She's very cool."

Berthold's own collections are best described as sportswear luxe, with over-sized proportions and unusual materials (he has an ongoing love affair with neoprene). But Genzken's work, specifically, has also been an inspiration: he has recently been producing concrete jewellery.

As well as just buying works he loves, Berthold approaches his art-collecting strategically, often establishing relationships with artists: "It's interesting to hear what they have to say about the art, how it should be displayed." Even more important is a rapport with certain galleries: "It's nice to get to know them, and they introduce you to new artists."

Then there are the art fairs – Frieze, which returns to London this month, usually provides rich pickings. He even has an art adviser now: "It's just to help us bring it all together and make it a collection – it's so easy to get side-tracked; you go into a gallery and like everything... she helps us be a bit more professional."

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Newly Qualified Teachers

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently looking fo...

Year 3/4 Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Job Share Year 3/4 Teacher...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments