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Private islands are popular with successful Hollywood actors and entrepreneurs as a private retreat. Mel Gibson bought Mago Island in Fiji for US dollars 15 million. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, was worth 98 percent of the Hawaiian island Lanai US Dollar 300 million. Everyone needs an island as a retreat – but one square metre can be quite enough for the soul.

What island do you have?

Where do you retreat to when the waves are surging around you, but also when things are going particularly well for you? Since both can occur at any time, it helps to have an island or a place you can go to, not only after long car journeys, or by plane, train or rack railway.

The retreat should be in your everyday life, ideally in your private space. This can be a place where you like to sit and relax and read. A place from which you enjoy the view of nature, or a place you go to whenever you want to write private letters or open gifts.

Breathe deeply

A place where you feel safe and can breathe deeply. One square metre is absolutely sufficient for relaxation. Sometimes a piece of the best chocolate or an ice cream in this place helps you to switch off. But then it has been a particularly dreary day…

Invest in the furnishings of your little island to make this place a private retreat just the way you like it. An armchair that you love and have perhaps had on your wish list for years, good lighting, possibly with a floor lamp that casts soft light on your book and a small side table to put a glass of sake a cup of tea or a brandy Alexander there. An attractive little rug on which your favourite armchair is placed can enhance the private island feeling.

Or perhaps it is a small sofa or daybed that you particularly enjoy retreating to. Investing in a small retreat island where your soul can recharge is more than sensible, because in case of doubt you will spend much more time in this place overall than in many an idyllic but more distant place.

Especially important when travelling

If you are on the road a lot, you will appreciate discovering these islands while travelling. Business trips in particular often have little to do with glamour: taxis that seem to be waiting at the door in the middle of the night while the neighbourhood is still pleasantly dreaming, trains that are suddenly cancelled from the timetable – waiting areas at the airport where everyone is frantically phoning or typing to let them know that the plane will only arrive after a long delay.

At the arrival point, pouring rain and now, of all times, a roll of the suitcase has to give up the ghost. But then a long day begins and in the evening one is all the more pleased to be able to retreat and feel comfortable for at least a short time.

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Here, too, it is often a special seat that one prefers to the functional desk chair or the bed. An intelligently designed armchair that radiates a sense of security and enables a comfortable sitting posture corresponds in miniature to our age-old desire to sit in a restaurant with our backs to the wall so that we never have to turn our backs on potential enemies. The specimen in our picture had an almost magical attraction on a trip to Berlin.

The armchair in the hotel of the Königliche Porzellanmanufaktur Berlin (KPM), reminiscent of a design by the Brazilian brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana, stood there and looked so enticing that it became an important temporary retreat.

Sometimes one associates an armchair or chair with a particularly memorable experience, a moment that may have lasted minutes or hours and during which one was completely with oneself. A deep wooden armchair in tropical style, on which one has watched the monsoon rain for hours on the open terrace, or an armchair in Pnom Penh, on which one has retreated after a strenuous day to look at the palm trees.

Often these quiet moments are more haunting than some much-vaunted sights.

What does your private island look like that you retreat to? When travelling, have you ever had the feeling, here I can find peace in the midst of the greatest hustle and bustle? Write to us, we look forward to it. And if your inner voice tells you that just such a retreat is still missing, what are you waiting for?

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