Some people saw this old industrial water pumping station as an eyesore, a giant architectural relic out of place and scale in its now-residential semi-urban surroundings near the middle of contemporary downtown Berlin. An artistic duo, however, saw it is a huge blank canvas on which to create a masterpiece of modern minimalism. It’s now their art studio, a remarkable space for creatives to work their magic.
For the price of a cheap condo in most other major European cities, Elmgreen & Dragset were able to purchase the property for under a million dollars – a steal considering the fine structural shape it is in and the incredibly vast interior space it contains. Just imagine, for instance, what a comparable space would cost in Paris, London or New York City.
Rather than overwork their new home, the buyers chose simple white paint for much of the interior and industrial materials and other surfaces to match the character of the structure. Much of the existing piping, lighting and other raw industrial fixture work was simply left as-is or coated with a layer or two of paint.
The finished work is simple, spacious and open – allowing room to grow as needed and never-ending options for using the owners’ own artworks as interior decoration. Already they have peeled off some pieces of the original building to reuse as fireplaces and bathtubs, and sectioned off essential support spaces like kitchens, bathrooms and guest bedrooms, but the bulk of their creative construction work is no doubt yet to come.
More info via Galerie
It took the artists a year to decide how to proceed and to pull together money for renovations, which were carried out with architects Nils Wenk and Jan Wiese. “We were willing to keep it more or less as it was,” says Dragset, “leaving the historical details intact.”
The light-filled big hall, with its nearly 45-foot ceiling, serves as the primary work space, adapted for each project based on how much is being made in the studio or, as with most of the artists’ work, by outside fabricators. “Sometimes we do tests that fill the entire space,” says Elmgreen. “For the Moynihan Train Hall installation, we did paper and wooden models here, including sections at full scale.”
Photos by Roman Marz for Galerie