Welcome to Pala


* Something that exists in people’s minds but is not (yet) reality. The term comes from ancient Greek ou (not) and tópos (place, place), together non-place. 


This is how the German department store Karstadt advertised its new building on Hermannplatz in the 1920s. The fact that the new owner Signa, a real estate and retail company, wants to renovate the building based on the historical model has sparked a controversy among residents in Neukölln and Kreuzberg, ranging from fear of displacement to the hope of an attractive location in front of their own doorstep. Now the social cooperative KARUNA is getting involved in the discussion and is building the solidary island of Pala in the Karstadt inner courtyard


We want to create a place that brings people together. An island where we can think about how to make the neighbourhood more beautiful, so that it becomes more liveable and inclusive for everyone.

In addition to creating an urban garden, we will reactivate the café and set up a distribution point for the KARUNA KOMPASS. We will organise book readings, workshops on botany, concerts, and a small farmers market

The small courtyard will be called Pala, based on the fictional island in Aldous Huxley’s novel „Island”. This utopia is the counterpart to Huxley’s well-known novel “Brave New World”, a gloomy conception of society that is often compared to George Orwell’s “1984”. Anyone who reads the KARUNA KOMPASS on a regular basis knows the story of the birds on Pala, which were taught to sing the word “KARUNA” to remind the island’s inhabitants of the virtues compassion and mindfulness

Pala café

Opening hours

Mon – Sat 11:00-18:00

No reservations



Getting to meet people from different cultures, ethnicities and ideas is the reason Simon loves working in gastronomy. A nice cup of coffee and a great food brings everyone together!

Steve is passionate about good coffee. Loves the smell of espresso in the morning. Let’s start our day the right way!

Tom is our gardener and, among other things, he lovingly takes care of our tomatoes.

Nina Raftopoulo is the representative of Karuna, a social cooperative that rents the courtyard from Karstadt.

Come as you are,
here you're always welcome