Ludwig Roselius, who made his fortune through decaffeinated coffee, Kaffee Hag – the story goes he stumbled upon the secret using beans that had been soused in sea water – commissioned a team of avant-garde artists, notably sculptor Bernhard Hoetger, to jazz up the then-derelict Gothic houses of Böttcherstrasse with cutting-edge Jugendstil, Art Deco and Expressionist styles. Soon after the opening of his 110m “Kunst Schau” (Art Show) in 1931, the Third Reich condemned it as degenerate. Only Roselius’s wily suggestion that it should stand as a warning against further cultural depravity saved it from demolition.

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