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."

berthold-uk.com

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'