The expectations were high. At the beginning of April, the enduring West Berlin symbol for reconstruction and post-war architecture opened its doors—an icon revitalized.
From both a branding and architectural point of view, the revitalization was a success. Getting off to an auspicious start, Belgian artist Arne Quinze was selected to develop a design proposal for the reconstructed building. Its success continues through the careful curation of partners and brands that find their new home there. With its postmodern edge and unique features, it's hard to imagine how this distinctive contemporary space would have turned out if it had been in the hands of a conservative architect.
Form signage and lighting to furniture, materials, finishes and the cool green tones that harmonize the interior, all elements are carefully coordinated and united by the color concept. Enhanced by views of the Berlin Zoo, walking through this space is a journey through innovative architecture, novel environments, and elegant design.
Various brands take residence in “pop-ups” of uniform exterior design, unified in one holistic concept. This creates a market in which each brand preserves its own identity, while visitors remain immersed in the overarching real estate brand. A fitting backdrop for uncommon luxury brands, even the singularly hip 25Hours Hotel blends harmoniously into the whole. The open, partly deconstructivist design offers generous sightlines and a publicly accessible rooftop where visitors can take a stroll, get a coffee, or simply pause and enjoy the atmosphere. Reminiscent of the Parisian concept store, Merci, and accented by a miniature version of New York City’s High Line Park (with free views of the Berlin Zoo’s Monkey Rock), Bikini Berlin combines art, nature, and culture in rich, aesthetically fresh ways.
Bikini Berlin is not only on its way to becoming a strong brand for Berlin, it is also already enriching the long-neglected district of Charlottenburg. This is the result of the enormous efforts that were undertaken to align the needs of the district and its people with the interests of the real estate investor. Commendably, the designer was careful to take the district's interests into account when creating the brand. Bringing it all to life, a multidisciplinary team of architects, and communication and branding specialists worked to establish the real estate brand as an integral—and authentic—part of the district. The success of Bikini Berlin shows how strong real estate brands, beautifully executed and seamlessly integrated into the existing environment, can enhance and secure the value of real estate investments.
Mario Schwary is an Architect and Associate Creative Director 3D at Interbrand GmbH, Berlin