“Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Berlin is that it is a major European capital that is still defining itself. Berlin’s modern history has been so often interrupted in such radical ways that the city remains in a continual state of transformation: always becoming, never quite being – not yet, anyway.”
Berlin in Fifty Designs Icons, written by Sophie Lovell and &beyond editors Florian Heilmeyer, George Kafka, Fiona Shipwright and Rob Wilson, with Sebastian Schumacher, is the latest addition to the prestigious Design Museum Fifty series, presenting designs that have shaped Berlin.
Berlin’s turbulent history has led to a wealth of innovative, evocative design: from the provocative graphic identity of the Volksbühne to the Pop-Art-meets-Brutalism of the Bierpinsel; from the ingenuity of the Berlin Durchsteckschlüssel (courtyard key) to the DIY ethos underpinning the car park-rooftop-bar Klunkerkranich. Some of the city’s most monumental architecture left behind by successive regimes also make an appearance, such the 1936 Olympic Stadium and East Germany’s urban planning showpiece, Karl-Marx-Allee, alongside more contemporary examples such as John Hedjuk’s Kreuzberg Tower and the rapidly transforming Potsdamer Straße.
When viewed together, these fifty icons form an intricate visual history of this unique city. One part visual documentation, one part city guide, and illustrated with photography selected by the Design Museum, Berlin in Fifty Design Icons unlocks the design stories of one of the most complex, intriguing cities in the world.