«Berlin, dein Gesicht hat Sommersprossen» («Berlin, your face has freckles») is the title of the song by Hildegard Knef from 1966. It depicts – 25 years after the fall of the wall and almost 70 years after the last war – the outcome of an era of disruption for the city. Along the 20th century Berlin revealed an extraordinary dynamism in response to exceptional circumstances, themselves brought about by a remarkable succession of geo-political events and historical shifts. At different times within the century the city on the river Spree became a capital of the avant-garde, bohemia, social reform, despair, destruction, division, reconciliation, unity, hope, opportunity. The freckles of Berlin trace this constant social and spatial transformation, an urban fabric and its social structure being re-placed, erased, re-organised, over and over again.
UNLIMITED workshop A 10-strong international tutor team of practising architects, researchers in architecture and urbanism and artists led a workshop in 2014. Focusing on Berlin’s actual problematics, the workshop was an interdisciplinary exercise in understanding the urban condition and working towards collaborative solutions. Each of the 5 units of the workshop focused on a different methodological approach of urban investigation and was framed by a set of themes, particular to Berlin, to be explored. The workshop’s main objective was to equip participants with a sharpened vision through which to comprehend the city as a complex interactive system. It aimed towards the development of collaborative strategies that challenge conventional methods of urban analysis and cut through disciplinary boundaries, encouraging creativity and originality.
How can an exhibition space be thought and designed to favor the diffusion of content? What is the perfect environment for interaction? Those questions have been at the center of the concept of the design specially tuned for the festival Berlin UNLIMITED. Happening along a week beginning of October 2014, Berlin UNLIMITED was a transdisciplinary festival that had the ambition to gather several ormats around the questions of the city and its boundaries through arts, architecture and urban research. Exhibition, symposium, workshops, debates, film screenings, celebrations… all happened in one space of 300 sqm.
Thought through, designed, produced and experimented, the design showed its value and potential while, only after 2 days, it had already transformed 4 times to host according to the events, different situations of learning and sharing knowledge. Its flexibility, made possible by means of the implementation of simple wooden elements provided the minimum structure for the maximum space. The situations for discussing and exchanging appears in the inbetweens – in the spaces delimited by the open structures – whereas the space configuration adapts with humility and tends to disappear, profiting the action.