The Clients

Modest yet prestigious

Karl and Martha Lemke, a married couple without children, asked Mies to build them a “small and modest home” that, “on nice days, could extend out to the garden.” Karl Lemke owned a graphic arts firm and a printing company in Mühlenstraße in the Berlin Friedrichshain district. Karl Lemke’s companies often worked for museums, art institutions, and artists. The quality of “Lemke printing plates” had a good reputation. As a businessman, Karl Lemke knew how to put his home to good effect – he loved modern architecture and used it to cut a good figure socially. He held receptions for business customers on the house terrace, using the painterly scenery of the Obersee lake as a backdrop. Karl Lemke was also an art enthusiast and his estate included a small collection of fine paintings as well as a collection of watches. The furniture from the Lemke House estate was acquired almost in its entirety by Berlin’s public museums.