Architects are now @Work in Berlin, too
Daniel von Bernstorff
Berlin is idiosyncratic and hardly comparable with any other city the world over. Berlin is purportedly still a mixture of poverty and sexiness, cosmopolitanism and provincialism, tolerant and narrow-minded, rich in culture and poor in terms of financial resources, a blend of the pleasant and the arrogant. And the list of opposites could be extended ad infinitum. In the final instance, this only goes to show that Berlin can’t be readily pigeonholed. If something functions well somewhere else this certainly cannot be read to mean it will come out tops in the German capital. A perfect example of something coming a cropper in this way: the massively advertised “Qubique” “furniture fair of tomorrow”, which was ostensibly custom-fit to the city’s needs, held on the grounds of the former Tempelhof Airport, and bellied up completely.
Back in 2010, the organizers of “Architect@Work”, which is a curated show of selected manufacturers in the field of construction destined exclusively to attract architects and planners, deliberately did not choose Berlin for their premier event in Germany, and instead opted for the less sprawling Düsseldorf. And last year this was followed by Stuttgart, another success story from Day One.
And now it’s Berlin’s turn. The choice of venue, namely “Station Berlin”, a former mail-sorting shunting yard at Gleisdreieck in the immediate vicinity of Potsdamer Platz, certainly seems a wise decision, as do the dates, namely 23 and 24 October, as this fall there are no noteworthy rival events holding in the city. And it is without doubt simpler to import an existing format that has been tested elsewhere and not found wanting than to create something entirely new.
What is more, unlike “Qubique”, “Architect@Work” has a clear target group in mind. The exhibitors know who the visitors are and thanks to the clear and systematic presentation the visitors gain a good idea of innovations and developments in the field of buildings and interiors almost at a glance. Something which most trade fairs can at best dream about has long since become a standard at “Architect@Work”: For months now, the slots for exhibitor booths at the fair have been sold out, and there’s actually a long waiting list for Berlin.
Visitors can look forward to seeing presentations by long-standing heavyweights such as Duravit, Vola (where two new products in the round series are on show), Lindner Group, Dorma, Gira, Jung, Sto and Tece alongside lesser-known firms such as Tecanno from Paderborn, which specializes in manufacturing high-grade ventilation valves. In fact there are high-end representatives of all the important indoor or outdoor fields of building. Which is fantastic considering that only products and systems with particular innovation value and launched no more than two years ago may be showcased here. Each country boasts its own selection committee composed of architects, interior designers and other specialists to ensure that these criteria are adhered to.
Given such sound foundations, there are good reasons to hope the premier in Berlin will come up roses. Not that anyone can guarantee that, as Berlin’s idiosyncratic nature means you can’t really predict anything.
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Collage © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark