Tucked away in a little street off Berlin's Rosenthaler Strasse, RSVP is what one may call a stationery boutique. It is nestled in the less shiny part of the German metropolis - there are no grand architectural gestures here, no gleaming structures. On a warm August afternoon there is a quiet charm on the fading buildings, the bicycles leaning against the walls, the old Vespa, the graffiti, the quirky independent shops and small cafés.
RSVP (the abbreviation of "Répondez S'ils Vous Plait" added at the bottom of invitation cards) was founded in Berlin Mitte in 2001 and has been featured in many publications as one of Berlin's coolest shops. Its interior, no bigger than a good-size bedroom, is taken up almost entirely by two wooden shelving units where paper goods from around the world are carefully displayed complete with simple white paper labels detailing their species and origin: O'Check from Korea, Cuaderno from Spain, Mead from the USA, Carta Pura from Germany, Hartovasilion from Greece, Punktum from Istanbul, Serrote from Portugal, and of course Rhodia and the ubiquitous Moleskines.
of exclusivity. Stationery as art. No suffocating stacking of spiral pads, sellotapes, staplers and glues here, no eye-watering polychromy of commercial stationery, school supplies and tacky gifts. Serenity reigns supreme in this stationery shop. The notebooks are sourced, the cards hand-printed, the labels curated, the writing utensils placed where they should be.
The selection of office supplies is also sparse with the species of sharpeners represented by a single Möbius and Ruppert specimen, while the writing instruments on display are Kaweco, Koh-I-Noor and Palomino pencils complete with replacement erasers. The curved wooden shelving around the till area is wonderfully graced with delightful labels and envelopes.
It is almost unthinkable to leave without having purchased something, not only because of the desire to see such places continuing to thrive but because of the impossibility of resisting such a well-curated collection.
RSVP has an online home too.
Papier in Mitte
Mon-Thu 12 to 7pm
Fri and Sat 12 to 8 pm