The transparent and friendly demeanor of Glasklar owner Monika Krause is not unlike the fine pieces of glass her company uses for its creations. Her sense of sentiment and detail-oriented intuition has made this Berlin shop beloved for glassware and fantastic events advice. Even a short chat with Monika reveals how a beautiful piece of glass can be an extension of the great people and occasions that they accompany.

It’s amazing that Glasklar has been around for more than 30 years. How did it first come into being?

Thirty years ago, as a young person wanting drinking glasses for your first flat, there was a limited choice between old-fashioned glasses donated by parents or mustard jars from the supermarket. There was little else available at that time. This is why the innovative concept of Glasklar was born, providing simple, functional and affordable drinking glasses.

via Facebook

How has the culture of Berlin inspired what you do? What’s one thing that you would never change about the city?

I would say it the other way round: Glasklar and all the other specialist enterprises are an inspiration to the culture in Berlin. I wouldn’t change the variety of Kiez-shops [neighborhood shops]; they define the special character of all the different boroughs of Berlin. I know you only said one thing, but I definitely wouldn’t change the Tempelhofer Feld either. The feeling of freedom and liberty of this enormous space is just wonderful.

What’s the #1 piece of advice that you would give someone visiting Berlin?

Avoid the mainstream. Berlin has so much to offer if you stay away from the uniform and anonymous shopping malls and usual high streets. Go and watch a movie in the original version, equal if it’s English, French or Hebrew, in one of the many wonderful little cinemas, like Sputnik Südstern or Central.

Do you have a favorite drink? If so, what glass will you be sipping it from?

What I drink most is definitely water, which I love to drink out of a very thin-walled glass. My favorite drink, on special occasions, is a self-created cocktail, based on dark rum combined with berries, black pepper and chili — delicious. I like to drink it out of the Ouessant Longdrink glass from La Rochère.

Courtesy of Glasklar

To you, how is the personality of a drink revealed in the shape of a glass?

Many drinks have to be served in specific glasses. A good red wine, for example, needs space to breathe and shouldn’t be served in a long-drink glass. Champagne is best served in an elegant flute with an effervescence point, to help keep it bubbly. Other drinks can be made to appear more exciting if served in unusual or unexpected glasses.

The objects we use every day inevitably bring a lot character along with them. What kind of character do you try to show with the style and materials that Glasklar uses?

The character of our shop is quite clear, if not to say crystal clear. We adhere to this one theme: functional and timeless transparent glassware. Clear glass is never overloading, never obtrusive; it catches the light and brings a certain lightness into the room. Glass is just a wonderful, natural material.

Glasklar has particularly beautiful wine glasses.  What are your criteria for deciding which kind of glass best fits a particular occasion, or type of wine?

Oh, there is so much criteria. In the case of a garden party with 50 young people, for example, I would suggest a different type of glass than for a small, exclusive dinner party. When working with a client of mine who organizes professional wine-tastings, I know that he wouldn’t think of using anything other than the incomparably fine, hand-blown wine glasses from Zalto. If a young couple were to ask my advice for which glassware to stock their first flat with, I would offer one of our other beautiful but more economic glass series.

In your store, how do locals and travelers shop differently? What do you think they’re looking for?

Locals come to buy wine glasses for the next dinner party, new vases to replace the one they just smashed and glass storage jars because they don’t want to use plastic anymore. Local galleries and offices also come and buy classic drinking glasses for the next exhibition or the next business meeting. Local stylists come to find the right products for their next film scene or commercial shoot. Travelers will often visit because of a travel guide article or a review in a magazine. They are always impressed with the quantity and variety of glass items but are then confronted with the dilemma of how to get it all home. What is funny is how often we sell French glasses to French tourists or Italian glasses to Italians. I have to assume they couldn’t find their purchases closer to home.

Courtesy of Glasklar

Any particular pieces that you're especially proud of?

Oh, yes ... many, of course. But I’m especially proud of a lamp called Happy Pill! The name says it all: Happy Pill is a wonderful, double-walled Italian glass lamp which seems to float like an over-dimensional firefly. Sounds great, eh?

What exciting ideas would you like to see come true in the future?

Although we sell many beautiful products, there are still glasses, bowls or vases in certain sizes or shapes which I would love to sell, but I can’t find anywhere amongst my suppliers or factories I work with. An exciting idea for the future would be to create and produce my own glass collection.

Glasklar, Knesebeckstraße 13, 10623 Berlin. +49 30 3131037;

By Jesse Van Mouwerik

Berlin-based illustrator and columnist Jesse Van Mouwerik is an avid fan of art, whisky sours and being alive. When the aliens land, he will draw them a picture.